The Housing Crisis will not solve itself and certainly by keeping to traditional methods of construction will not help.
The infancy of modular construction under the MMC banner compared to traditional site construction makes for many prototype projects, in which the architect, contractor and manufacturer are experiencing their first modular build. It is naturally critical to collaborate with professional installers/delivery partners in, or close to the vicinity, coupled with factory liaison.
What is MMC?
Modern methods of construction (MMC) involve a wide range of techniques & materials, but the aim is minimise the amount of time required to construct a building on site.
For instance, panellised units (also referred to as Elements) are produced in a factory & assembled on-site to produce a three dimensional structure. Also volumetric construction involves the production of three-dimensional modular units in controlled factory conditions prior to transportation to development site.
Because of this, it is likely that the number of modular buildings will grow exponentially in the coming years. Thorough knowledge transfer between manufacturers, contractors, and architects is crucial to the success of each of these buildings; and the failure of such knowledge transfer seems to be the largest hindrance in the success of MMC.
Considering our fast approaching elections and yet again many new promises including the Conservatives to build ‘at least a million more homes, of all tenures, over the next parliament'. Infrastructure spending pledges include £500m a year for local road maintenance, in what is being sold as ‘the biggest ever pothole-filling programme', and an average of £780m a year on flood defences. It has, as far as housing, come too many years late but slowly but surely commitment is coming and a huge opportunity for utilising MMC sourced from smaller homegrown & far substantial overseas OSM's. The election manifestos lean towards a legal requirement to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 & the impact of the school climate strikes & Extinction Rebellion has sharpened interest in the environment, energy issues & the climate and ecological emergency.
The fast paced nature of MMC makes little room for error in permitting and design, both of which can lead to the downfall of the project through change orders. These items must be finalised before construction begins; therefore, the need for all key trades to be involved at the beginning of the project is critical.
It is suggested, that more collaboration at the beginning of the project would be easier if there was a project delivery method in place that is more conducive to this level of collaboration such as Design & Build or an Integrated Project Delivery.
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