A new report co-authored by the government’s MMC champion Mark Farmer, urging it to put modular building at the heart of its ‘build build build’ ambition, has been welcomed by insulation specialist Actis.
The report, compiled with architect Mike De’Ath, says the government should set a target for 75,000 homes a year to be of modular construction by the end of the decade. This would equate to 25% of its overall target of 300,000 homes a year.
Mark Farmer and Mike De’Ath’s 68-page Build Homes, Build Jobs, Build Innovation report states that such a move could create 50,000 jobs and result in attractive, well designed, quality, low and zero carbon homes.
The report calls on the government to stimulate demand for the Modern Methods of Construction, thus giving investors confidence in the new style of manufacture and ensure there is sufficient factory capacity to create the homes.
Actis UK and Ireland sales director Mark Cooper, whose company works closely with many timber fame manufacturers, says the push to encourage far wider adoption of MMC is to be welcomed.
“The speed with which such homes can be built has two-fold benefits – accelerating the delivery of much-needed new homes, while at the same time addressing the shortage of skilled workers to build them.
“Added to that, quality is far better controlled, and they can be thermally superb, cutting carbon emissions and saving money and resources.
Mark Farmer explained: “There are multiple market failures that remain to be overcome in growing modular and broader MMC adoption and at the heart of solving them is a need for demand led transformation, supported by greater coordination, aggregation and collaboration in the market.
“Quality must also always come first to ensure we deliver great homes in great places to live and the report showcases real examples of what is now possible using modern and innovative techniques.”
The report’s foreword, by former co-chair of independent government advisory body Building Better Building Beautiful, explains that mass production, while often used in a derogatory sense, can be a thing of beauty.
“The Romans had standard column sizes. Victorian homes use standard window sizes. And the Americans have been building attractive prefabricated timber houses for years. To those who criticise the result as ‘pastiche’ the response is surely yes, in just the way that Georgian London is a pastiche.”
The report follows the publication of Mark Farmer’s seminal government-commissioned 2016 Farmer Review of the Construction Labour Model, which called on the industry to ‘modernise or die’.
That review highlighted the construction industry’s dysfunctional training model, its lack of innovation and collaboration and non-existent research and development culture.
He said construction should be more like a car factory production line, with every section deliverable to a pre-determined quality standard.
To read the report go to: https://www.hta.co.uk/storage/app/media/build-homes-build-jobs-build-innovation.pdf