Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)

MMC continues to be a popular topic in the property and construction sectors. However, apart from many articles in the press around modular homes being a solution to the housing crisis, there hasn’t been much action in the UK at present.

Modular homes have been around for many years in mainland Europe. For example, Sweden is widely regarded as a global exemplar of offsite manufacturing, with, according to a Build Offsite report, modular homes representing over 80 percent of the country’s overall housing market. Scandinavia as a whole is an industry leader with companies such as Nordic Homes, Fjordhus and the Skanska-IKEA collaboration, BoKlok.

In the UK, many of the well-known industry players including Skanska, Mace, Laing O’Rourke, Mott and MacDonald support offsite manufacturing. Others such as Kier, NG Bailey, Sverfield and Arup also extol the benefits of construction-integrated manufacturing, or design for manufacture.

New solutions are also being developed and recognised. For example, the McAvoy Group has recently received accreditation from Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) for its new modular housing solution. It is an offsite housing system for multistorey apartments and detached, semi-detached and terraced houses. This certification is the industry benchmark for quality and durability and assures lenders that the McAvoy building system will deliver consistent performance for at least 60 years.

Home England is taking an interest and voicing its support for pilot schemes, such as one local authority exploring the use of mod homes to deliver housing at affordable rent through an innovative scheme. Nuneaton and Bedworth Council (NBBC) has just completed its first modular build having secured £120,000 worth of funding from Homes England.

Matt Byrne, Head of Development at NBBC, said: “We identified modular development as an efficient and cost-effective solution to respond to the growing demand for housing. We started from scratch and worked with a local firm to develop a working model for our homes. It’s been a long process and we’ve learnt a lot along the way but as a result of the pilot, we’ve found that we can reduce the build time by approximately 12 weeks compared with traditional build.”

Stephen Kinsella, Executive Director at Homes England, commented: “If it builds houses quicker and reduces the number of professional construction skills needed, it’s a winner for me. Over the last 12 months, we have seen several players entering the market as well as the established players recognising that we need to embrace technology.”

We would love to hear your views.

Please take some time to answer the following short questions on modular homes:

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* Respondent details (optional)

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* Are you?

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* To what extent is MMC featuring in your business plans over the next 12 months?

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* If you were an MMC developer, which UK region would you be looking at for the best opportunities?

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* What do you believe is the main barrier currently holding developers back from applying MCC solutions?

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* What government involvement, if any, should there be to overcome these barriers?

This survey is being sent to all our clients and contacts in the property sector. It is intended to be a short gauging of views on topical areas and is part of a new quarterly programme. Results and analysis will be published and made available to our property clients and contacts.