In a move that outlines some of the evolving thoughts at play in the housebuilding sector, merchants may be interested to learn more about the new construction strategy being deployed by L&Q which places an emphasis on off-site manufacture.
One of the UK’s largest housing associations and developers, L&Q has announced that it is scaling up its off-site ambitions and has developed its own Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) strategy. The organisation is soon launching its first range of pre-built product designs including bathroom units and balconies, which will then be produced next year. Later in the spring, it says it will build its first off-site manufactured homes outside of London.
By 2025, it plans for all of its new builds to feature some aspect of MMC, and by 2028 it aims to place its first entirely off-site manufactured home on a site.
Last year, the organisation made a commitment to deliver 100,000 new homes with like-minded partners over the next 10 years. In order to meet this ambition, it established a Product Innovation team, led by Construction Services Director Wayne Hill, to explore new ways of working. One year on, after intensive research, the team has developed a MMC roadmap which it is on track to deliver.
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, L&Q’s Group Director of Development, said: “To achieve large volumes of building, while still maintaining quality, we needed to innovate. Off-site offers a world of exciting possibilities — faster build programmes, improved build quality, tackling the skills shortage and reduced project costs.
“Some people get nervous when they hear a part of their home has been built in a factory. But it actually guarantees better quality, because these are better environments for assembling and building in than the harsh outdoor climate. Ultimately, we believe this will be better for our customers. Their homes will be better quality, more cost effective, built faster whilst still holding the benefits of traditionally built homes.”
For the last year, L&Q has also put together an expert team with some of the “best and brightest consultants in architecture, engineering and construction” to tackle the question: ‘Can off-site technology achieve quantity AND quality?’
Wayne Hill, L&Q’s Construction Services Director, said: “The findings of the group were very positive and helped develop an approach that can utilise the efficient benefits of MMC whilst retaining the flexibility of traditional construction approaches. This has now formed the basis of L&Q’s phased roadmap towards fully integrated MMC build solutions.
“This approach to working between client, consultant and supplier is encouraging peer-to-peer learning, trust and bridging the gaps that exist in construction and design, with outputs that will contribute to improvements in the quality and volume of homes we deliver.”
For more information, visit www.lqgroup.org.uk.