Slow MMC housing uptake risks 300,000 homes target

9th July, 2019

Government must ramp up efforts to promote modern methods of construction in housing supply or it will fall far short of its target to build 300,000 homes a year by mid-2020s.

That is the warning from its Housing Committee, which is calling for a host of fresh measures to promote faster construction.

As a priority, it wants to see the Government boost confidence among lenders, insurers and home buyers by collecting data to demonstrate the value and durability of MMC homes.

The Committee also backs the creation of an "MMC Scheme", setting out a single set of standards for warranty providers, to provide greater certainty.

It argues that the Government will need to act swiftly to raise supply chain capacity.

This includes providing easy access to finance to allow smaller MMC builders to invest in new factories.

There should also be a fresh focus on ensuring the workforce has the required skill set for developing technologies.

The Government should develop a digital database that records the design, processes and materials.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: "If the Government is to have any chance of meeting its target of 300,000 new homes a year it cannot simply rely on traditional methods of construction.

"This is not simply about shifting production away from the building site and into factories.

"It is about seizing opportunities that modern technologies allow, whether it be precision manufacturing, use of new materials or digital working."

He said: "First and foremost they must create the conditions to improve investor and consumer confidence.

"Reluctance is understandable. The perception is that the building innovations of the sixties 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.

"The Government will also need to support the industry to grow the capacity needed for MMC to play a greater role in national house building.

"They will need to ensure that the right training schemes and apprenticeships are in place so that we have the skilled workforce that can utilise MMC techniques.

"They must also work with the industry to support the development of robust supply chains and support innovative businesses develop."

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