Client Patrick Hayes, Director at multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Meinhardt UK, was part of a panel discussion at Estates Gazette’s Development Summit in Birmingham.
Since we secured the opportunity for Patrick to speak at Development Summit, Meinhardt UK have been pursuing some exciting business development opportunities that arose from contacts made during the session. Patrick’s thoughts were also featured in the print and online editions of Estates Gazette.
The discussion, chaired by the Magazine’s Editor Damian Wild, focused on modular construction, which is ready to accelerate, modernise and reshape the UK development industry.
For Patrick it is the scale of the housing crisis that will force modular from the margins to the mainstream. “I wouldn’t say it was prevalent at the moment for a number of reasons,” he told delegates. “But the housing crisis that we’re seeing and the recent increases in labour costs are putting a lot of pressure on alternative models to meet the demand for housing. And in the private rented sector (PRS), which is rental driven, they’re also looking for another model to deliver things quickly.
“So we are seeing a substantial increase in modular construction in the PRS market, student housing and hotels.”
And, he said, it could get very big, very quickly. “If we’ve got a demand for 200,000 houses a year, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for, say, 10% of that, or 20,000, to be a bit more modular in construction. That is probably about a £2bn industry, which is quite substantial.”
And for Patrick, 2017 could be the year modular comes of age. “I think that there is a real fit between PRS and modular construction and that PRS will become a much larger part of the housing market.
“The sector will help build the capacity within the industry and from that capacity it could then spread.”
Patrick has worked as a structural engineer since 1988 and chartered since 1993. With a career spanning over 25 years, Patrick has worked on diverse projects both overseas and here in the UK.