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Can Modern Methods of Construction be used to help solve the housing crisis?

9th October 2019

Modern Methods of Construction has been of interest across the construction industry. Construction are transforming the way they build homes and commercial properties. MMC could help meet the housing needs of the country.

What are Modern Methods of Construction?

A term used to refer to several construction techniques is Modern Methods of Construction. Some of these techniques involve producing units in a factory. They will take the units to the site and crane them into position after production. Types of MMC can include flat panels units or full 3D modular units.

Benefits to the construction industry

MMC has a number of benefits. These benefits may help tackle the UK housing crisis. They may help the Government reach its target. They want to build 300,000 new homes a year.

  • MMC allows for a reduction in build time of new homes.
  • MMC will allow for a more consistent quality assurance process as units are often being commissioned before they leave the factory.
  • The weather wouldn’t affect construction if units were produced in a factory. Construction can slow down or completely stop due to bad weather. This can lead to delays.
  • The construction industry needs an additional 195,000 workers by 2025 if the 300,000 homes per year target is met. A combination of factors has led to a skills shortage in the construction industry, including a short supply of skilled workers.
    (so if you’re reading this as a skilled worker looking for work, don’t forget to register with us!). Adopting MMC techniques will take some of the work off-site. It could allow the industry to take advantage of different skills. MMC may even provide new employment opportunities by strategic placement of new MMC factories.

What are the risks of Modern Methods of Construction?

Alongside the advantages, MMC also presents some pitfalls. For example, they need to consider that the site and approaching roads will need access to deliver the units. There’s also the fact that several housebuilders did invest in MMC prior to the last recession. The recession left the factories empty. Another problem is the fire risk. In timber-framed properties especially, some methods would allow fires to spread faster.

Success stories

According to an NHBC Foundation Survey, the majority of house builders and housing associations are using at least one MMC technique. Persimmon’s Space 4 business has increased capacity to manufacture up to 9500 units per year. Barratt are aiming to deliver 20% of new homes using modern methods of construction by the end of next year. Housing Associations Accord Group and Swan Housing Association have both set up their own MMC factories to manufacture directly. These factories have already delivered modular homes to developments.

Some people believe that MMC techniques should be implemented across all sites and evaluated on a job by job basis. However, it looks like growing the volume of homes manufactured by MMC could help the housing crisis.


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