The UK is decades behind the curve when it comes to Off-Site Manufacturing but what is more concerning is the financial stability and lack of scaleability of homegrown supply. The overseas is vastly bigger (& growing rapidly) than what is currently a Cottage Industry in the United Kingdom despite many promises and bravado in the trade press. Our housing crisis is not going away and the industry is not adopting modern methods as efficiently as possible, so how do we cure this problem?
The UK is in turmoil, not just politically, but enduring what can be described as an antiquated construction industry - as Mark Farmer's report 'Modern or Die' clearly points out - as he says 'aiming to put everything into perspective'. We have the most impressive buildings, old & new, but the issue is of course deeper in exactly how we build and the implications of what is really an outdated system. Hampered with low productivity, lack of R&D and a shrinking workforce. But the good news is productivity can be enhanced by building in quality controlled factories.
With very little production capacity in the UK collaboration with overseas OSM’s is helping towards solving our dreaded housing crisis. But only a turnkey solution under one entity taking risk & ensuring total protection is being demanded by clients including developers, investors & some contractors. It seems still far too often never the twain shall meet between highly experienced construction professionals & Off-Site Manufacturers - this has to change, our current antiquated construction industry needs to move to the 21st Century collaborating...
In order to tackle this challenge, central and local governments must work with the property industry to unlock potential development opportunities.nnThis work has already begun.nnWith the removal of the borrowing cap on the Housing Revenue Account for local authorities, access to funds has become easier. Not only this but local authorities can now secure finance at a lower level of repayment which makes traditionally difficult sites more viable for development.
Objections being over come slowly but surely, equity investors on board more than ever investigating the merits of faster high quality build. Less resistance from some lenders (Debt: albeit needs to improve by far), insurers & home buyers educating themselves. ACE Modular Construction have witnessed a serious sway towards consideration for over-seas Off-site Manufacture from property developers and main contractors considering lack of capacity in the UK for what is in the main currently considered a 'cottage industry' suffering cash flow and expansion issues, aside of 4 large players who are able to serve less than 5% of capacity required. A handful of new factories in the UK with outside investment plan to open yet still not sufficient to deliver significant impact towards government housing targets.
Modern Methods of Construction will help towards solving the UK Housing Crisis. Yet more evidence reveals that the UK will gain from working collaboratively with highest quality worldwide Off-Site Manufacturers, in addition precision engineering, use of new materials & digital working. The government should be doing far more to support homegrown SME Off-Site Manufacturers in the UK, with the provision of nationwide academies combined to help solve the crisis of just under 4 million homes that desperately need to be built, to highest standards. Whilst the Homes England initiative is welcome it's barely touching the sides.
At present, the use of MMC in housebuilding is low and the government will need to act quickly if it is to make an impact in meeting housebuilding targets. Supply chain capacity will need to be increased, and greater focus placed on ensuring the workforce has the required skillset for developing technologies. The government should work with Homes England and training centres, such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, to develop targeted programmes targeted for use in the manufacture of MMC homes, says the committee.
Pictured, a beautiful Norwegian luxury summer lodge, a second home made of dreams. However the very basic right of being housed in our country has been somewhat translated in to being placed in temporary accommodation including hotels and bed & breakfast establishments, costing our government £690 million per year in London alone. It's the 21st Century but despite recent support from the government we are very a long way-off achieving housing targets. The cost of this 'temporary solution' has doubled over 4 years. Homes England doing their bit admittedly but it's a mere drop in the ocean.
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