ENGINEER Ove Arup & Partners has devised an industrialised modular housing system.

The house elements are manufactured in a factory, in a similar way to car parts. Homebuyers can buy the house they want off the shelf.

The Ove Arup modular housing concept is based on heavy concrete panels and is the brainchild of director John Miles, who heads Ove Arup's automotive design group.

He says the system will deliver factory-built houses at lower capital costs than conventionally built ones. Ove Arup calculates that a factory, built at a cost of £5m, would be commercially viable if it produced 500 houses a year.

The firm is marketing its factory system to medium-sized and volume housebuilders, housing associations and Far East construction firms.