Student housing and build-to-rent fuel pod demand

A dramatic shift toward purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) in some key university cities, such as Leeds and Manchester, and the urgent need to build affordable homes for rent is driving growth in bathroom and kitchen pods.

AMA Research predicts that demand for these easy-to-install modular kitchen and bathroom units, constructed in a factory to specification, will grow at a rate of 4% to 5% a year over the next five years.

This comes on top of steady market growth since 2014 with growing investor appetite for PBSA tower blocks, which offer a steady stream of new tenants every year, as well as growing demand from hotels and apartment blocks in both social housing and luxury, high-rise developments.

The findings from AMA Research’s Bathroom and Kitchen Pods Market Report-UK 2018-2022 showed that right now kitchen pods make up just 10 per cent of the market. Areas of application including permanent and temporary use at hospital sites and as temporary stand-alone modules for large-scale events.

Hotels, apartment blocks and PBSAs account for more than 80 per cent of installations, but other customers include holiday resorts, hospitals, care homes and military barracks.

A spokesman for AMA Research said: “The largest area of demand for bathroom and kitchen pods is in purpose-built student accommodation in medium-high rise steel and concrete mainframe buildings.

“In the hotel industry, clients will often specify offsite building methods to achieve fast turnarounds to enable occupation as quickly as possible, and for many of the major hotel brands, a need for high levels of standardisation in design is also important.”

The report found that by value, pods manufactured from either glass reinforced plastic or composite (GRP) account for the largest share of the market, closely followed by steel frame, while concrete and other materials, such as timber, account for lower shares.

GRP pods are mostly used in PBSA and budget hotel rooms, while in higher specification developments concrete or steel pods are typically preferred.

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