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Housing completions in the UK have fallen to 125,000 annually, while government targets have risen to 300,000. This dramatic shortfall raises concerns as to whether current traditional construction approaches remain appropriate. This study aims to compare the traditional approach with modular construction, with a view to assessing whether a shift in construction systems offers the potential to alleviate the UK's domestic housing crisis.Design/methodology/approachA comprehensive interpretivist review of the available relevant literature is undertaken on construction methods within the UK; advantages and disadvantages. A bibliometric analysis is conducted to extract trends and findings relevant to the comparison at hand. The database is Web of Science; the analysis software is the VOS viewer.FindingsThe research illustrates that the UK housing market is in a state of crisis. A toxic combination of a rising UK population combined falling rates of housing delivery has resulted in an ever-widening housing supply gap. The construction industry’s capacity to meet this observed dearth in supply is further exacerbated by a number of chronic factors such as: falling participation in the construction sector workforce; lowering skill levels; reducing profitability; time to delivery pressures; and cost blow-outs.Originality/valueWhile much information on the various construction methods are available, including comparative material, this study is the first to assemble the various comparative parameters regarding traditional and modular UK residential construction in one place. Thus, this study provides a definitive assessment of the relative advantages and disadvantages of these forms of construction.
Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 3, 2021
Keywords: Construction costs; Modular construction; Modular housing; Residential housing; Traditional construction; UK housing
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