Speaking at a Westminster Business Forum event in London, Farmer (pictured) said a fixation with cost was partly to blame for the slowdown in adoption of offsite construction. He said: "There was some press last year that [the offsite presumption] hasn't led to a whole plethora of MMC projects. That's a combination of various things. Part of it is that the departments' internal teams need re-educating, around how you procure value and how you actually deploy the MMC presumption in a way that achieves end value. The biggest problem I see around procurement is lowest-cost procurement."
Referring to some of the procurement teams in those departments, Farmer added that, where MMC was concerned, he was not convinced that "the intelligence is there, with all due respect […] to realise that they're potentially running into problems in the future".
At the same event, Ann Bentley, a director at consultants Rider Levett Bucknall and Construction Leadership Council board member, said that attitudes towards offsite can vary dramatically according to environment. "In the most senior levels of public departments, I think there is some enthusiasm [for offsite] and I think we are certainly seeing encouragement," she said: "It might not be an absolute requirement but it is encouragement. What we see in the office, though, is often that the middle managers, the people that haven't had the benefit of attending lots of courses, or who only have 10 minutes to get the tender out, they're the people who tend to go back to, 'Well I did it this way last time and it worked so I'll do it again'."