An ambition by housing minister Christopher Pincher to embrace Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to help Britain recover economically and socially from the impact of the coronavirus has been welcomed by insulation specialist Actis.
Mr Pincher was speaking at a webinar – ‘Why Modern Methods of Construction are essential for recovery Post Covid’ – chaired by the government’s MMC champion Mark Farmer and convened by Building Better, a group of housing associations dedicated to improving the construction of new homes. He said he wanted to see more people employed within the MMC element of the construction sector to help the country achieve its target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the decade.
“With a 60% reduction in on site working numbers and an 80% reduction in defects we can build homes more greenly, more cheaply and to a better quality using MMC. This is going to play a significant role in our emission targets. I’m convinced that MMC can play a large part in that,” he said.
He added that for every 100,000 new homes built, the UK’s GDP was boosted by 1%. Will Jeffwitz, policy leader at the National Housing Federation, says housing associations will play a key role in the nation’s recovery. Last year around 25% of the nation’s new builds were affordable housing – and pre-Covid research showed 145,000 such homes are needed every year to meet housing need, he said.
“Affordable housebuilding will be crucial to social and economic recovery. More than ever it’s become clear how important it is that these homes are high quality, safe, low carbon and accessible and MMC is clearly at the centre of that.”
He added that long term investment in skills and technology was vital in helping unlock its potential.
Actis UK and Ireland sales director Mark Cooper, whose company works with a number of timber framers, is heartened by the passion and enthusiasm for MMC shown by the government and housing associations.
“Modern Methods of Construction allow homes to be built more quickly, addressing labour and skills shortages and improving the quality, consistency and energy efficiency of newly built homes. With timber frame being around 20% faster to build than brick and block it is clear that more emphasis on this method will go some way towards addressing the housing crisis.”