The global kings of the flat-pack age have taken their expertise to a whole new level.
Ikea, everybody’s favourite Swedish phenomenon – after Abba and Sven, obviously – are bringing their flat-pack houses to the UK after a successful launch in the company’s homeland.
The £100,000 houses could be viewed as the answer to the UK’s affordable housing crisis, or the ultimate DIY nightmare.
The “flat-pack” home in nothing new in this country. Some of the country’s biggest housebuilders have been experimenting and constructing them for a few years now.
But the entry into the market of a global business such as Ikea (http://www.ikea.com) is a significant moment. It is also a clever marketing ploy to link the new venture to the current state of the housing market, where both first-time buyers and those on the bottom few rungs of the property ladder are being priced out completely.
Obviously, it is not as simple as finding a bit of land, laying out the pieces on the floor and constructing a brand new home for £100,000. However, it is possibly a more positive and ethical solution to the housing problems than the launch of five-times your salary mortgages.
A few DIY headaches seem far more preferable than the nightmare of spiralling debt levels.
Of course, the flat-pack nature of the houses will inevitably conjure up images of fear and loathing for anyone who has struggled to assemble a piece of furniture.
Putting an Ikea wardrobe together is arguably one of the rites of passage of modern life.
Indeed, Dr Miles Richardson of the University of Derby (http://www.derby.ac.uk), has conducted a detailed survey into our attitides and angst towards the flat-pack age.
Dr Richardson, who is Programme Leader for the MSc Health Ergonomics at Derby, quizzed almost 1,300 people on their love-hate relationship with flat-pack furniture.
Of those who took part in the survey, 41% said they had got angry and frustrated when trying to assemble a flat-pack item and 67% admitted to getting into difficulty.
The survey relates to items of furniture, so imagine the problems when you multiply that to a whole house.
There will be those DIY ethusiasts who will view Ikea’s flat-pack home as the ultimate challenge.
But there is undoubtedly a gap in the market for some enterprising builder to offer to take on the stresses and strains of assembling an entire home away from those tempted to buy the Ikea house.
And, you would hope, they are more likely to have ready access to that one, crucial little screw that is always missing from the box.