How the pandemic has shone a spotlight on Modern Methods of Construction

03 Feb 21

No-one can deny that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for change. In the world of property and construction this has meant an increased use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMCs) in new developments. MMCs are currently used for approximately 10% of the houses built in the UK and this is anticipated to grow to closer to 20% in the next 10 years.

.

No-one can deny that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for change. In the world of property and construction this has meant an increased use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMCs) in new developments. MMCs are currently used for approximately 10% of the houses built in the UK and this is anticipated to grow to closer to 20% in the next 10 years.

It’s taken a while to get to this point. As many will know, MMCs have been around since just after the Second World War and were used to increase delivery of desperately needed housing (sound like a familiar problem?). Obviously, things have changed somewhat since then with technological advances resulting in stronger, more durable, and safer outputs, all in comparatively short timeframes.

This has resulted in MMCs being utilised to rapidly respond to the pandemic, with the completion of Nightingale Hospitals and emergency housing for the homeless typically being delivered in timescales of weeks rather than months or years. In addition, MMCs are manufactured in controlled factory environments and require fewer workers on site to complete the construction phases, meaning the whole process is ideally suited to comply with social distancing measures.

MMCs’ speedy delivery is also beneficial when providing long-term housing. This has been proven by Greystar in the development at Greenford Quay, with a block of 379 homes being delivered in just 20 months; approximately half the time it would take using traditional methods. This approach is being replicated for other blocks in the site. Conventional house types are also approximately 50% quicker to construct. Something those Councils who received poor Housing Delivery Test results may be pleased to hear and which could make that Government target of delivering 300,000 homes a year a reality.

MMCs also provide opportunities to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of housing and housebuilding. Building homes under factory-controlled conditions allows much tighter tolerances to be met, improving energy efficiency and significantly reducing waste. For example, recent housing projects completed by Project Etopia UK used 39% less CO2 during construction than traditional methods and are expected to save 167 tonnes of carbon over 25 years of use. All of which gets us one step closer to the Government target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

If you ask me, we need look no further for a housing solution to help solve our current crises. Its quick to deliver, better for the planet, and can help protect the health of the nation. Even better, it’s already being made in a warehouse somewhere off the M1 and can be delivered to a site of your choosing.

Paul Chandler-King Assistant Planner,Planning