Aside from the historic and previously documented drivers for the uptake of MMC (skills shortage etc.) recent years has seen a real drive and commitment by Government to this technique, starting with the 2017 budget which stated a presumption for Modern Methods of Construction in Transport, Education, Justice, Military and Health
In October 2020 Robert Jenrick confirmed that one fifth of all homes built in the Government £12bn Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) will be built offsite This equates to @£2.5bn or @100,000 homes (assuming a baseline cost of £130/ft2) using offsite construction techniques. Advice on MMC content for the 2021-26 AHP is currently being revised by Homes England but will certainly include references and commitment to MMC.
In parallel the latest information is that housing starts have reduced significantly during COVID which will also create pent up demand for filling by MMC techniques . The recent announcement by Daiwa House about their investment into the UK market through their Jan Snel subsidiary shows continued interest in the opportunities the UK has to offer.
In Education the new MMC framework announced in Jan 2020 has committed £3bn of work over a five-year period to the ten framework appointees. The first projects on these frameworks are now starting to come through delivery and will be completed during 2021.
In February 2020, the Health Minister confirmed that the NHS will be told to use Offsite and componentised techniques for the £2.7bn of current funding to build the 40 hospitals promised in the December 2019 election. In addition there was a further commitment to providing new scanning facilities for 78 Trusts as a matter of priority. Recent announcements from Offsite Healthcare specialist Merit also suggest that the supply chain is seeing this opportunity and gearing up for delivery.
In addition the challenges of COVID19 for construction sites, which are likely to be here for at least the next 2 years and have an effect for even longer, may well be the catalyst for changing the face of construction completely. Offsite operations mean easier to control movement, materials, less transport, consistent working patterns and closer-knit groups and less mixing.