Faster construction / MMC

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Recently, the UK government reaffirmed its commitment to building more homes, as well as working to reshape the nation’s economy. Whilst advancing this agenda, those involved must also respect an existing commitment to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050. Fortunately, recent publications, such as the ‘Government response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government’ from September 2019, identify how both goals can be more easily achieved through a greater commitment to modern methods of construction (MMC).

Such solutions are helping to speed up the rate of housebuilding, which has historically been slow in Britain. For many years, housing demand has outstripped supply in Britain, which has created a significant housing gap in the country. Unfortunately, there’s now ample evidence to suggest traditional housebuilding techniques can no longer keep up with modern demand. In fact, the way the traditional housebuilding market currently works seems to curtail the supply of new homes, inhibiting sufficient competition and innovation. To this end, for a number of years the nation has comfortably failed to meet its housebuilding targets.

Therefore, in looking to increase the pace of building within the UK and achieving the targets identified within its manifesto, the government must increase the range of producers entering the market, as well as changing the types of homes that are being delivered. To this end, MMC solutions represent something of a ‘silver bullet’. Modern products allow housebuilders to build at quicker rates, reducing costs as well as alleviating some of the stresses brought about by the on-going skills shortage, as well as rising unemployment rates. As a result, it’s little surprise to see so many major companies making the shift towards MMC solutions. Most notably, Legal & General recently invested millions of pounds into a number of offsite construction facilities.

Of course, as demonstrated through the use of structural timber, MMC solutions aren’t only allowing to make the build process more efficient, but greener too. Thankfully, structural timber frames are already used in more than 27% of new build homes in the UK, with a steadily increasing annual market share. This rise has inspired one of the UK’s largest housebuilders, Barratt Developments to acquire one of the UK’s largest timber frame manufacturers, Oregon Timber Frame Limited.

Additionally, structural timber is increasingly used as part of the burgeoning trend for panellised building systems. Within this market, timber systems, such as structural insulated panels (SIPS) are increasingly specified and have quickly becoming a recognised solution to meet the challenges of factory controlled, speedy modern methods of construction.