HC Deb 16 July 1963 vol 681 cc313-4
12. Sir T. Moore

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works how many prefabricated houses he expects to have erected and occupied this year; and for how long it is estimated they will remain habitable.

Mr. Rippon

My Ministry expects to have five prefabricated houses completed and occupied this summer in the United Kingdom and 101 abroad. Their estimated life is 25 years, but with reasonable maintenance they should last much longer.

Sir T. Moore

In view of our experience of prefabricated houses after the last war, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is satisfied that this new experiment will be justified? Is he also satisfied that the introduction of this new type of building will not seriously harm the manufacture of the old traditional building materials, such as bricks and tiles, to which he promised the manufacturers to give high priority and a stable demand?

Mr. Rippon

These prefabricated houses are not an experiment. I have certainly in mind the building of a number of houses for the Services by industrialised methods, but I do not envisage their being used unless the resulting product is at least as durable as the traditional house. I have no reason to suppose that these new methods, which include the rationalisation of traditional building, will upset manufacturers and others concerned in the construction industries.

Mr. C. Pannell

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell his hon. Friend that even the building industry has made a considerable amount of progress since the report to the House in 1944?

Mr. Rippon

The hon. Gentleman is quite correct.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the traditional manufacturers are a little concerned that the extra publicity that he is giving to the prefabricated idea may well upset the firm demand for their products? One would expect that there was room for both, but will my right hon. Friend work with the established industry to avoid apprehensions affecting their actual production?

Mr. Rippon

Of course, I will work with them. That is exactly what we are doing. They have no reason for these fears, provided they are prepared to be up to date and to play a part in the introduction of now methods.