Government has ‘no plans’ to make MMC a requirement

18th October, 2019

The government has "no plans" to make the use of modern methods of construction a requirement for publicly financed housebuilding projects.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick has responded to a committee report into modern methods of construction (MMC) published in July, which urged government to "unlock the potential for modern methods of construction to build homes quicker, more cheaply, while maintaining build quality".

Methods highlighted include the use of offsite, productivity improvements and 3D printing.

One of the 21 recommendations put forward by the committee called for government to consider setting requirements for housebuilding developments that benefit from public funds.

In response, Mr Jenrick said "There are currently no plans to make the use of MMC a requirement for these funding schemes to ensure we continue to create conditions for the industry that innovate and avoid focusing only on the frontrunners in the sector.

"However, we will continue to encourage beneficiaries of the funds to make use of MMC where appropriate."

The report also called for government to ensure training includes modern methods of construction to both attract young people to the workforce and retrain current workers.

In a committee meeting on MMC in March, Cast Consultancy chief executive Mark Farmer spoke of institutional barriers that prevent suitable training on modern construction methods taking place and said current training programme target traditional construction skills as opposed to the technical aspects of the industry.

In Mr Jenrick's response he said that government is working to improve skills provision for construction and is supporting modernisation but "we also expect industry to take responsibility and train workforce".

After the response was released Turner and Townsend head of industry strategy-programme advisory Bill McElroy stressed that MMC does not just apply to the residential sector.

"If the government's ambition is to support the sector to 'go further and faster' on modern methods of construction, then we need to see a renewed commitment to extend these programmes and pursue new ones too.

"Importantly MMC is not solely about housing and boosting capability in the residential sector it can be supported by efforts across health, education and infrastructure."

Ilke Homes executive chairman David Sheridan said he found the government's failure to commit to MMC recommendations "disappointing".

"If we are to deliver the homes our country so desperately needs, the house building industry must embrace innovation."

He added that without support of government the industry will not be able to scale-up MMC to the capacity required to end the housing shortage.

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