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Both housing associations and private developers have been experimenting with prefabrication. Key experiments initiated by Peabody include Murray Grove, Cartwright Pickard's 30-unit modular housing scheme in Hackney which was erected in 10 days, and Raines Court, also in Hackney, by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Simon Allford says the lessons learned are as important as the relative successes of individual schemes. At Raines Court the practice catalogued all the difficult elements, such as the percentage of the modules which were actually pre-clad, to help the industry learn.

The lessons learned at Raines Court (far left) are currently being taken on board with AHMM's Momo project, another prefabricated housing scheme being designed in conjunction with a shipping container firm (left).

Berkeley Partnership Homes has just completed Salamanca Square, a mixed private and affordable housing scheme designed by Rolfe Judd on London's Albert Embankment which uses modular bathroom pods. Managing director Alisdair Chant explains: 'We wanted to see if there were savings on site associated with cutting the trades involved with bathrooms traditionally. Is this going to save time? Yes it does. Is it going to have fewer defects?

We'll have to wait and see.'

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