Ab pre-fab: mod­u­lar gets a makeover

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

able apart­ment blocks as it does for one-off be­spoke homes.

There’s a wave of ini­tia­tives that should give those want­ing a brand new home some in­ter­est­ing choices. At its fac­tory and show­room at Shore­hamby-Sea, near Brighton, mod­u­lar man­u­fac­turer Fu­ture­form has teamed up with home mag­a­zine House Beau­ti­ful to of­fer a com­plete ser­vice, from de­sign and con­struc­tion to or­der­ing sofas and TVs.

Cus­tomers choose a house model and walk through the ware­house pick­ing out floor­ing, bath­rooms and kitchen, tiling, cur­tains and soft fur­nish­ings – it’s like go­ing shop­ping at a gi­ant house su­per­mar­ket. It isn’t be­spoke, but there are var­i­ous mod­els in dif­fer­ent sizes, from a con­tem­po­rary town­house to a glazed house with a pitched roof that can be clad in a raft of ma­te­ri­als from tim­ber to re­con­sti­tuted stone. The prod­uct can be de­liv­ered and erected in 18 to 20 weeks from or­der­ing. Prices start from £150,000 for a three-bed­room house or from £200,000 for a four-bed.

The only thing miss­ing from this equa­tion is the land it­self – and that’s the com­pany’s next step. “What we’ve found is peo­ple strug­gle to find plots, so we’ve now moved into find­ing the land first,” says Steven Bar­rett, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fu­ture­form. The com­pany has bought land and is cur­rently go­ing through the plan­ning process so it can even­tu­ally of­fer cus­tomers every­thing from plot to fin­ished house. The Govern­ment has also re- cently opened its first plot shop, to make it eas­ier to buy land to build on.

Find­ing a plot wasn’t a prob­lem for Danny and Sarah MacLaren, who were liv­ing in a sin­gle-storey house with a large gar­den in Harpen­den, Hert­ford­shire – Sarah’s child­hood home that she in­her­ited from her par­ents. In March, the couple and their three chil­dren moved into their new fac­tory-built home, a large, airy, tim­ber-clad house of nearly 5,000 sq ft. It couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent to the low brick build­ing it has re­placed, with high ceil­ings, a dou­ble-height atrium over the main liv­ing space at the back, five bed­rooms, a TV snug and spa­cious study.

“We wanted to build a house to [en­ergy-ef­fi­cient] Pas­sivhaus stan­dards, and mod­u­lar was the eas­i­est way of achiev­ing air­tight­ness,” says Danny, who works in IT. “Be­cause every­thing is pre-cut in a fac­tory to ex­act mea­sure­ments, the stan­dard of fit can be guar­an­teed.” This is the sec­ond mod­u­lar house their ar­chi­tect, Tom Gres­ford,

The MacLaren fam­ily, main and be­low, built a 5,000 sq ft mod­u­lar house

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