Under the £2bn Green Homes Grant scheme, homeowners and landlords in England are able to apply for vouchers worth up to two thirds the cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of their home – maximised at £5000. While this worthwhile and essential scheme is to be welcomed, it also generates a large number of concerns.

In these dramatically changing times, it is remarkable what there is to find by simply using the word ‘innovation’ as a digging tool.

Writing in the Times last month, Architect Norman Foster relates how he was asked in a BBC documentary to name his favourite building. Without hesitation, he cited the now disappearing Jumbo 747. Six storeys high at the tail, with about 3000ft2 of space, five lavatories, three kitchens and room for 367 guests, he believes the 747 is genuinely architectural both in its design and its thinking. And, what’s more, it flies!

For the housing industry today, the problems of the ‘Third World War’ (i.e. COVID-19) mirror somewhat those of the Second World War when the aim was to come up with a quick, efficient and modern answer to a problem. In 1942, it was the bombed-out housing crisis. This was when the UK took inspiration from the USA and their very advanced and modern prefabricated houses for workers and families working on huge dam construction projects. UK prefabs were temporary homes built in the factory – they were the MMC (modern methods of construction) of their day.

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