Unusually amongst construction companies the MMC sector largely remained fully operational through the various COVID lockdowns and the last six months have seen increased activity levels as the existing contracts continued with new schemes coming on top.
The most active MMC market has been housing with several announcements and significant events over the last six months.
Vision Modular, through their parent company Tide Construction, have recently completed the tallest modular building in the world, with the 38 and 44 storey linked blocks at 101 George Street, Croydon constructed for Greystar. Based on steel framed modules arranged around a concrete core this building has gone from ground to completion in just 24 months and delivers 546 PRS units.
In the single unit housing sector it seems as though some volumes are now starting to flow through the largest of the modular house specialists. Ilke Homes have been busiest with contract wins for a 600-home development on the old Boots factory site in Nottingham, as well as the largest modular housing scheme in the North of England with 130 units at Princes Gardens in Stockton. They have also announced a further investment of £60m from Homes England and their principle backers.
Legal and General Modular announced a project for 200 homes in North Horsham and a number of other smaller recent market entrants have been starting to deliver product from their facilities. The sector has also seen a couple of additional new facilities launched with Corehaus setting up in Co Durham, targeting 1000 homes per annum, and Ideal Modular Homes new facility in Sheffield scheduled to create over 200 new jobs.
Even the mainstream housebuilders have been pushing their MMC credentials with Barratt announcing that they are currently delivering 30% of their programme through various forms of MMC.
MMC contractors continue to be very active in the Education sector with the DfE MMC framework now delivering schools across the UK in addition to the other procurement routes.
Following the surge of COVID facilities in vaccination clinics, testing centres and Nightingale Hospitals the emphasis in Healthcare has now shifted to the facilities required to redress the backlog in the NHS and a number of specialist MMC Healthcare suppliers are seeing significant growth.
As with all sectors the challenges of supplies and pricing of both materials and labour are influencing the sector with missing materials affecting production and increasing lead times. Some of the manufacturers have managed to minimise impact due to buying in bulk or forward booking material capacity but the implications on long term contracts and new tender prices and programmes could be significant.