The key role of industrialised construction in the Spanish housing crisis

Spain is facing a complex housing crisis that encompasses housing shortages, climate emergency and housing inaccessibility. A crisis that has escalated into a national emergency that affects not only the economy, but also other fundamental aspects of daily life such as security, health and education.

To meet the growing demand, it is estimated that Spain needs to build between 150,000 and 250,000 new homes annually, with a special focus on middle-income and young people. Difficulty in accessing affordable housing has forced many citizens to spend much of their income on rent or mortgage payments, exacerbating labour market instability and perpetuating low-income cycles.

In the face of the climate emergency, it is crucial to transform the way we construct and design our buildings and to use systems and materials with a low carbon footprint and lower environmental impact that integrate energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources.

In this context, the importance of a National Housing Pact that includes a comprehensive strategy to address all these challenges is currently being discussed. The Spanish government has shown its willingness to promote this initiative and has already launched some actions in this sense, such as the creation of a commission of experts and the holding of meetings with different actors.

Industrialised construction as a solution to the housing crisis

In the search for solutions that contribute to mitigate the effects of this crisis, industrialised construction is presented as a key method to face the growing housing crisis, providing innovative and effective approaches.

As we explained in our post ‘Industrialized component-based construction’, this model is characterised by the use of prefabricated components that are then assembled on site. It is a process that reduces costs and execution times while promoting the creation of more sustainable buildings through the use of recyclable and safe materials. Thanks to standardisation and automation, component-based construction stands out for its precision, efficiency and low impact, responding quickly and effectively to the demand for housing.

construcción industrializada edificio tomas breton madrid panel madera CLT
construcción industrializada edificio tomas breton madrid panel madera CLT

Because of these unique characteristics, industrialised construction is a viable solution to address the shortage of public housing and plays a crucial role in long-term construction plans.

But despite its many advantages, industrialised construction accounts for only 2% of buildings in Spain, indicating slow adoption compared to countries such as Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden. To encourage growth and wider adoption of this method, it is essential to establish a specific legal framework and regulation that accelerates its implementation and makes it easier to obtain financing.

In April 2024, following the collective demand from Rebuild, the Spanish Government committed to legislate specifically for this type of building by proposing reforms to regulation and access to finance aimed at overcoming the obstacles that have held back the sector’s growth and bringing Spanish practices more closely in line with those of other European countries where this technology is more common.

Woodea and industrialised construction

At Woodea, we are committed to developing innovative solutions for the construction sector, and industrialisation is, together with the use of mass timber, digitalisation and the implementation of BIM methodology, a fundamental pillar of our Woodea Production System. Currently, as we announced in the last edition of Rebuild, we are developing our own platform of components to maximise the advantages of this construction system and bring sustainable, efficient and affordable housing solutions to the market.

There is no doubt that industrialised construction is emerging as a key solution to solve the housing crisis in Spain. However, for this strategy to consolidate and reach its full potential, it is essential that the government makes progress in creating a favourable and accessible regulatory framework that facilitates the mass adoption of industrialised construction. Only in this way will we be able to overcome the current 2% adoption barrier and achieve a significant impact on the availability and quality of housing in our country, ensuring a more equitable and sustainable future in the housing sector.