At the end of
2019 Mark Farmer accepted a new role as the independent champion for
Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).
His mission, to modernise housing delivery, has seen him become a major figure
in the offsite sector.
As part of his drive to make the UK the global leader
in housing standards, Mark Farmer was invited by the Structural Timber Association (STA) to come along to Pinewood
Structures, a leading provider of timber frame homes and take a guided
tour of their manufacturing facility. Mark spent time observing the
manufacturing process and learning about a new partnering approach.
In a recent
interview Mark Farmer expressed a need for an ‘ injection of fresh thinking
into the sector that reflects the latest advancements in technology and is also
driven by a new paradigm shift in how we approach quality, building safety and
decarbonisation of built assets.’
Later in the day discussions focused around quality, safety, capacity and
sustainability. The structural timber sector has the ability to upscale to help
achieve the 300,000 homes per annum requirement. As a natural sustainable
resource, decarbonisation of
housing can be achieved through the use of offsite manufactured timber systems
and the delivery model can be improved by a forward-thinking collaborative
offered Andrew Carpenter and Mark Stevenson from the STA the opportunity to
discuss in more detail, the Association’s industry leading STA Assure
Membership and Quality Standards Scheme. Focusing
on the levels of in-house quality procedures, management systems and product
performance standards – the independently assessed STA Assure Scheme includes a
bespoke Site Safe audit and a Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme,
which ensures that quality and safety are an end-to-end process throughout the
design, manufacture and installation process.
Andrew Carpenter said: “We would like to thank Mark Farmer
for taking the time out to visit Pinewood Structures and his valuable input. Following
the Hackitt Review the direction of travel is shifting and construction is
moving towards factory-based systems and processes rather than products and
components. Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV) is going to play a vital role in the
future. As it currently stands with traditional approaches only 40% of the
build process is carried out in well managed factory environments. The use of a
closed panel timber frame system can increase this to circa 55% but a
volumetrically pre-assembled approach using a timber framed chassis can achieve
75-80%. So it is clear the Government’s ambition to make the housing sector
more productive can be achieved through pre-manufactured building systems.”
bodies such as the STA have a major role to play in connecting the offsite
sector supply chain to collectively work to demonstrate safety through robust
testing and better exploitation of technology to ensure the integrity of
timber-based building systems.
Tom Fairlie, Walker Timber; Mark Farmer, Andrew Carpenter, STA; Mark Stevenson, STA; Geoff Arnold, Pinewood Structures; David Fleming, Walker Timber.