You state that the Hyde Housing Association scheme in south London by Polish company BUMA, which cost £1260/m2, “brings prefabrication within Housing Corporation budgets for the first time” (23 July, page 12).

Our scheme at the Harlow Foyer for East Thames Housing Group, built in 2000-2001 and featured in your datafile on 12 October 2001, used large elements of prefabrication, in a building offering considerable complexity. The final account for construction cost came to £966/m2, in line with Housing Corporation cost expectations at the time. Adjustment for inflation (BCIS general building cost index) would put that at about £1140/m2 in today’s money.

The fact that prices have not come down exposes an issue with suppliers of modular components in this country. They appear to be working at full capacity, not least on large defence accommodation projects, and this is leading to higher prices and the inability to offer design flexibility.

This clearly needs addressing, but I am not convinced that the answer lies in importing large components over long distances made by cheap labour in the new territories at the extremities of the EU. These schemes can be made to work in this country at equivalent cost levels to traditional build. However, unless British manufacturers become more efficient and flexible, they will increasingly find their market moving to these new suppliers.

Robert Lombardelli, Robert Lombardelli Partnership, via email