MPs urge faster pick-up of modern methods of construction

5th July, 2019

The government risks falling short of its pledge to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s if the construction industry sticks to traditional methods, a report by the housing, communities and local government committee has warned.

MPs urged the government to "unlock the potential for modern methods of construction (MMC) to build homes quicker, more cheaply, while maintaining build quality".

It added that this is necessary because a lack of skilled workers means that it cannot meet that target using traditional building methods alone.

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

In order to achieve a greater use of modern methods, the report emphasised the need for improvements in supply chain capacity for such projects, a better trained workforce and better data collection and sharing, "to demonstrate the long-term value and durability of MMC".

The government should also use bodies such as Homes England to develop build programmes targeted for the use in manufacture of MMC homes.

Housing, communities and local government committee chair Clive Betts MP said that for the government to meet its homes target, it must create the conditions to improve investor and consumer confidence.

He added: "Reluctance is understandable. The perception is that the building innovations of the 1960s created homes that failed to survive half a century, while rows of Victorian terraces are still standing.

"Proving quality and longevity will be key. That is why we have called on the government to collect and publish the data that prove new building methods work, and also show if they have failed."

In a statement, a ministry for housing communities and local government spokesman said the department is committed to providing the opportunity of home ownership for a new generation.

He added: "In order to meet this goal we need to think innovatively, and that's why we're keen that housebuilders embrace modern methods of construction to help deliver good quality new homes faster and drive up choice and quality for consumers.

"Last year delivered more new homes than in all but one of the last 31 years but we want to see the whole sector, public and private, push on by getting behind the latest innovations in development and building."

PMI data has revealed that UK housebuilding reported its sharpest decline for three years.



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