Funding boost in offsite construction push

8th March, 2021

A modern methods of construction (MMC) taskforce will be established by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as part of the chancellor's spring Budget, announced last week.

The taskforce will be backed by £10M of seed funding to accelerate the delivery of MMC homes in the UK.

It will consist of world-leading experts from across government and industry to fast-track the adoption of MMC, which has the potential to be significantly more productive than traditional building methods. Using offsite building techniques, the approach allows homes to be built more quickly, addresses labour and skills shortages and improves the quality, consistency and energy efficiency of newly built homes.

With headquarters in MHCLG's new office in Wolverhampton, the taskforce will work closely with local authorities and mayoral combined authorities.

It comes as the government's housing agency Homes England finalised its research themes for its six-year, 1,800 home MMC Research Commission.

The research - undertaken by research and development partners Atkins and Faithful+Gould - will explore a range of themes, including cost and pace of build, safety performance, snagging and defect issues, construction wastage and logistics and energy efficiency performance. It will also seek to learn lessons about how these technologies will be deployed and give confidence to the industry to drive a greater uptake of MMC technologies.

The next phase of the project will see data collected across eight of Homes England's sites using MMC. Monitoring the construction of around 1,800 homes across the country over several years, the study will test the performance of different types of MMC to provide long-term, in-depth and verifiable data so that informed decisions about emerging construction technologies can be made.

Regarding the research, housing minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: "Building green, well-designed homes is at the heart of this government's mission to support people in every part of the country. Our support for MMC will play a vital role in this and this research will help us further understand these new construction technologies which could be revolutionary for the industry in terms of improved productivity, build speed, and economies of scale."

Homes England technical director Robert Stone added: "We are committed to providing the industry with the body of evidence it is asking for in order to drive a greater understanding of modern house building technologies and increase the uptake of MMC.

"Now more than ever, we recognise that more needs to be done to share learning and build confidence in MMC. This large-scale, long-term and in-depth project will provide the sector with the valuable evidence it needs to make informed decisions about MMC and deliver better homes faster."

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