The UK market for volumetric modular buildings and portable accommodation returned to growth in 2017 following a dip in market value in 2016. The market comprises manufacturers and suppliers offering factory-made, fully assembled 3-dimensional modules, although some manufacturers offer panellised options. Products are broadly split between permanent and semi-permanent buildings, on the one hand, which are usually constructed from two or more modules, and temporary or portable accommodation.
Since the start of the recovery in the construction industry in 2013, demand for volumetric construction has improved, in part due to increased demand for site accommodation on major infrastructure projects e.g. the Crossrail and Thameslink railway construction programmes, plus recovery in other sectors such as offices and education.
Over the next few years to 2022, there are several factors that could well underpin steady growth in the sector, probably over and above that forecast for the overall construction industry. These include an increasing number of public sector procurement frameworks several of which are specific to offsite construction, and an increasing use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). More importantly there is now a strong likelihood of an increase in the use of volumetric and other types of offsite construction methods to help meet the chronic housing shortage and cope with the lack of traditional construction skills within the construction industry.