In a speech to the National Housing Federation's annual conference yesterday he said that the government was in strong support of prefabrication but the UK industry was lagging behind mainland Europe.
“I want the whole housing industry to consider how they can use innovative construction methods,” the minister said. “Offsite construction not only creates high quality, affordable homes, it also delivers them quickly.”
Mr Lewis cited projects by Accord and Mar City in Walsall.
“Last month in Walsall I saw two family homes being built in a day by the Accord Group. The parts for these homes were made by local people in Accord’s purpose-built factory, right across the road from the 40 home brownfield development site.
“And just down the road the Regents Wharf development, built by Mar City, is using modular construction to build new homes in just three days.
“These techniques are widely used on the continent, but have been neglected in the UK. We need to catch up.”
He said that the government was supporting off-site construction through its Affordable Homes Programme.
“A fifth of all the homes built through the first phase of funding will use these innovative techniques,” he said. “It’s attractive for providers of affordable homes – because you will be able to access the rental stream more quickly.”