Curtin University’s new Legacy Living Lab (L3) is a modular building designed using principles of the circular economy – an environmentally-friendly concept that aims to ‘design out’ waste by including as much recycling and re-use of materials as possible.

Constructed as part of their thesis, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute PhD candidates Timothy O’Grady and Roberto Minunno, together with Curtin Professor Greg Morrison, worked alongside many industry partners to create L3 as a resource to support and inform the building industry on different construction methodologies, test new products and review the performance of materials, including their energy consumption, automation, and effects on building wellness.



The L3, located at Development WA’s East Village development in Knutsford, Fremantle, was designed to be flexible, sustainable, and can be fully disassembled, and that many of the building’s materials were recycled, including the original 100 year-old Jarrah staircase from the Dingo Flour Mill and carpet tiles reclaimed from a Perth CBD office space.

“In Australia, the construction industry is responsible for about 30 percent or 20.4 million tonnes of annual waste. Although it’s a significant and largely ignored issue, this is also an opportunity,” says O’Grady.

“The circular economy concept sits at the heart of the L3’s design and construction and reduces waste by incorporating many fortuitous finds and generous donations, giving real meaning to the phrase ‘one person’s trash is another’s treasure’.”

“The 17 tonne steel frames we used to construct L3 actually came from a project that went bankrupt and were originally destined to be recycled. We were able to redesign L3 to incorporate these frames, putting them to good use.”

Other environmentally-friendly features of L3 include the outdoor balcony, made from recycled tyre rubber and plastics; the acoustic ceiling panels, which are 68 percent recycled PET bottles and other plastic materials; and the kitchen benchtop, made from pressed recycled timber.

L3 also features solar panels, an on-site electric vehicle charger, and incorporates water balancing features.

Professor Greg Morrison, also from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, says that because L3 is modular, it can be relocated – potentially multiple times – which helps it last even longer.

“Once it finally reaches its end of life, around 57 percent of L3 can be deconstructed and reused in other buildings, 25 percent of it can be recycled, and 18 percent disposed of.

“L3 is currently a Curtin University building, used primarily as a space for industry demonstration and a place to carry out important research on new building and material concepts.”


Source: Architecture and Design

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LOW carbon housing, retrofitting to improve energy efficiency and training opportunities for prisoners will feature in projects receiving funding to create affordable homes for the future.

The Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme funding is focused on Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) this year, in particular using Welsh timber and supply chains to support our green recovery and move towards a low carbon economy.

Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James said: “This £35 million investment will deliver 400 factory-built homes, all of which will be produced by local Welsh companies and their supply chains.

“We are committed to building more high quality homes in factories here in Wales. In Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, Clwyd Alyn Housing Association have shown what we can achieve together. With local suppliers, they have built 38 timber-framed, low carbon homes with extremely low running costs which will put more money in tenant’s pockets.

“Partnering with Williams Homes, a Bala-based company, means the frames were all manufactured locally. This created six training opportunities and helped Welsh businesses using modern methods of construction to grow. I’m pleased to see residents are now moving in to these fantastic homes and seeing the benefits.

“The Innovative Housing Programme shows what we can achieve together; manufacturing homes in factories means that we can continue to build affordable homes, regardless of our weather or the impact of a pandemic. We are building back greener, delivering a stable supply of homes in unstable economic times.”


Source: The Leader


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Suchit Punnose, Founder and CEO of Red Ribbon Asset Management on the new frontier for housing set to transform emerging markets.

Modular construction as a concept goes back a long way. A really long way. Its origins date back to the 17th century when colonial Americans wanted their homes built in England. So they were. The disassembled house was shipped across the Atlantic and reconstructed in America.

Fast forward to today, and modular construction is on the cusp of a housing revolution. The growing realisation that modular construction is the answer for environmentally- and budget-friendly housing is changing developer and investor attitudes. This, combined with the disruptive innovation shaking up the 21st century, is propelling modular housing forward as a solution to the housing problem.

Disruptive innovation + modular construction – a solution to the housing crisis?

The most successful business models of our time – Amazon, Google, Uber – have completely disrupted previously solid markets. And the outcome is a radical shift of the way we live, work and function.

These businesses are successful because they began with a disruptive premise. They continued through market scepticism and took the time to cultivate a change in consumer mindset. Disruptive innovation is driven by invention and market demands. When it comes to housing, there is an urgent need for affordable but high-quality residential units around the world.

Modular construction at scale is the answer. Red Ribbon’s Modulex Global is an example of advanced, modern modular building technology. High quality, carbon-neutral and smart homes can be constructed off-site to provide a solution to the global housing crisis.

Changing developer and investor mindsets

As cities continue to grow exponentially, so do the numbers of people lacking housing. According to Yale University, national reports suggest that more than 150 million people around the world are homeless. The relentless trend of urbanisation underlines the inefficiency of the housing market in both developed and emerging economies.

Statistics from the UN show that:

  • Between 1950 and 2018, the number of people living in urban areas increased from 751 million to 4.2 billion (more than half of the entire population).
  • By 2050, this figure will rise to around 68%.
  • This will be mostly in the developing and emerging economies.
  • We will see extremely high rates of urban expansion in the Middle East, across Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • India, China and Nigeria will account for more than third of urban population growth between now and 2050.

In light of rising homelessness, attitudes towards modular housing are changing. According to US consultants McKinsey, more than 80% of developers are committed at some level to modular construction models. The lower cost, higher quality at-speed housing solution makes the most commercial and practical sense for a better housing future.


Access to adequate housing is the basis for a successful economy

Access to affordable housing, anywhere in the world, is the foundation of a working society and economy. And while what is considered ‘affordable’ varies from country to country, the broad idea that housing should meet certain parameters is accepted everywhere.

Housing should offer security, privacy, structural safety, access to water, heating, electricity and sanitation. It also needs situating near to amenities such as the workplace and hospitals. Data from McKinsey shows that an estimated 330 million households around the world have no access to quality, affordable housing. If major steps are not taken, this could increase to 440 million over the next five years.

The housing challenge is felt the most in emerging economies and cities that have high levels of substandard housing. Investment in truly affordable construction is still far too low in emerging markets. Developers and construction companies use outmoded tech and remain increasingly focused on high-value projects that encourage a culture of inefficiency.

Changing the mindset of developers is key so that they focus on affordable, mid-market housing projects on a massive scale. In India alone, around 1.77 million people are desperately in need of housing despite the work being done by the Government’s Affordable Housing Programme.

An innovative solution to a growing problem

The smarter, more efficient technology contained in modular construction is the clear answer to the global housing crisis. Units fabricated off-site are delivered in ready-to-build panels and fitted together. Modular units can be built in a controlled environment, resulting in higher quality standards along with lower waste levels and costs.

We established Modulex to harness the constantly evolving technology to deliver housing projects at a third of the traditional cost. Establishing the world’s biggest steel modular building factory in India is a major step towards fundamentally disrupting the housing construction market.

If every residential building project in India used modular housing, they would be completed faster, at a lower cost and with reduced carbon emissions. And while we’re focusing primarily on emerging markets for now, there is also huge potential for modular housing in the UK and Europe. het.

Founded in 2007, Red Ribbon Asset Management Plc (‘Red Ribbon’) is an Indo-British financial services group building on the legacy of historical, cultural and socio-economic ties between the two countries. As India’s global economic role has burgeoned and it looks to a golden decade of growth – following the pattern of China’s trajectory template 20 years ago – the UK is shifting into a post-Brexit phase where trading and commercial relationships outside the EU are coming to the fore.

Source: Enterprise Times

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By Andrew Gillard, Sika Business Unit Manager – Industry and MMC


This year has seen events that have re-shaped the world we live in. The world around us has seen generational shifts, with rapid transformations in IT, and advances in technology. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) continues to move towards the heart of our construction industry in the UK. We understand that, for the offsite constructor, finding ways to increase PMV for the client, but keeping the manufacturing process as efficient as possible, can be challenging. We believe that it is the responsibility of key suppliers to assist this process, in whichever way possible. At Sika, we have the technology to support all areas of manufacture.

Sika can support the advancement of PMV, by providing unique and high-performing solutions. We can demonstrate high levels of technical knowledge, and support in many applications, from the floor, through to roof; these being interior and exterior applications for volumetric, panelised or pod manufacture. Our approach is to define ways to reduce build-time, simplify bill of materials, and increase quality as well as life expectancy, whether it be timber or steel framed construction.

It is necessary for the offsite manufacturers to rely on the technical support and product know-how of their supply partners. Technical support and training are a key requirement of a professional partner. We can support the offsite manufacturer with advice on Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis (PFMEA) and, where necessary, aid with training and upskilling of the client’s workforce.

We go beyond the supply of materials – we can assist with the development, testing and design, through to supporting a manufacturer’s implementation and process optimisation in modular building production.


Interior Applications

In the context of interiors, we can support with clever materials for cementitious bases through floor coatings, to Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) adhesives and good solutions for wood floor bonding, as well as traditional floor tile adhesive systems.

We can also support with joint sealants, whether it be sanitary or aesthetic. Our passive fire protection range can assist in making units safer. Our reduced dust, low emission wall levelling compound meets all the latest EHS requirements, and gives class-leading finishing characteristics. Our high green strength adhesive can be used to reduce the requirement for mechanical fixings, which can create Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) issues. Pretty much, we can help you look at applications in new ways.



Exterior Applications

We understand the need for water tightness and with our weather-proofing solutions for roofing, walls and windows, etc., we aim to assist you to deliver units, with minimal retro repair, and reduced zip-up costs. Our robust solutions will reduce transit damage of volumetric units, and our ideas to reduce weight will lower CO2 from transportation requirements.

Our innovations to improve structural rigidity of units can mitigate flex in transit, and the subsequent repairs. Our membrane systems can assist with keeping the weather out, whilst the units wait to be slotted into the final building. Whichever exterior wall finish is used, Sika can support our customers. From renders to adhesives for brick slip bonding, to wood adhesives and bonded panelised systems.


Pod Manufacture

Our solutions for Bathroom Pods and wet rooms can reduce waiting time for curing. Whether it be for the concrete base or ETAG022 systems for wetroom walls and floors, for tile bonding with automated solutions, or fast curing stiffener bar attachment, we are able to help.

To summarise, in the last year, Sika has been learning about the challenges that face the MMC arena. To be able to support the required PMV levels, offsite and modular constructors warrant additional levels of service and innovation. After identifying key applications, Sika has leveraged its huge product range to come up with some great solutions, to improve rigidity, reduce noise transfer, improve fire performance, reduce cycle time, lower costs, enhance sustainability, boost quality and provide a one-stop-shop from basement to roof.


For more information on how we can assist you, contact James Taylor on 01707 363893 or visit our website here:




NHF’s Building Better alliance hunts for manufacturers to join £600m offsite homes framework

Building Better, the National Housing Federation-supported alliance of housing associations developing offsite solutions for the social housing sector, has begun a search for three manufacturers to deliver its first framework for modern methods of construction (MMC).

Procurement for Housing is working with Building Better to develop the £600m volumetric framework which will go live in Spring 2021. The 25 housing associations that make up the alliance have committed to manufacturing 800 homes via the new framework and they have a broader pipeline of 4,500 properties that will be produced using modern methods of construction over the term of the five-year framework. Building Better is keen for more housing providers to join the alliance, so this pipeline may grow further over the next few years.

The framework is for ‘MMC Category 1 Construction Systems’, covering pre-manufactured, three-dimensional buildings that are factory-produced and delivered to site. There are three lots: low rise houses, medium rise flats and a combination of both, with one manufacturer to be appointed to each lot on a direct call-off basis.

Procurement for Housing will conduct a ‘competitive dialogue’ with interested manufacturers, discussing options with them and listening to their feedback on what the market has to offer before the final specification is compiled. Manufacturers will then be invited to submit final tenders for a place on the framework.

The procurement process will conclude in Spring 2021 with successful bidders appointed to the volumetric framework on a direct-award basis, meaning they won’t have to engage in further competition to win contracts with individual housing providers. It is hoped that five offsite schemes will be in the ground by the end of 2021.

Procurement on a separate ‘MMC Category 2 Construction Systems’ framework will begin in Spring / Summer 2021. This will cover pre-manufactured two-dimensional panelised systems that are assembled on site to form 3D structures.

Trina Chakravarti, Project Director of Building Better said: “Offsite manufacturing will only work in social housing through meaningful collaboration. That means housing providers aggregating their demand so manufacturers can sustain their factories. But it also means the sector engaging with manufacturers and being open to the development process rather than having a predetermined idea of the product they want.”



Steve Malone, CEO at Procurement for Housing said: “One reason why offsite construction has failed in the past is the lack of genuine partnership work with manufacturers at the procurement phase. Many social landlords approach suppliers with a fully formed idea of the home they want; but being so prescriptive doesn’t work in an offsite market that is still developing. We’ve designed a procurement process that allows honest discussions with manufacturers before a tender spec is finalised.”

 In September the Government announced that it will make modern methods of construction central to its new £11.5bn affordable homes programme. Social landlords that sign up to ‘strategic partnerships’ under the programme will have to use offsite manufacturing to produce at least 25% of their new homes.

For more information go to @BuildingBetterX


The new Offsite Show will be organised by Industry Expo, a Media 10 Group company, in partnership with Buildoffsite and will be co-located with UK Construction Week London (UKCW), four dedicated UK Construction Week Summits and Grand Designs Live.

Whilst being an independent and vertical event, specifically for the offsite market, it will benefit from the added interest from the expected 38,000 visitors to UKCW; which will include not only others with an interest in offsite, but new potential contacts in all fields of construction.

Paul Shelley, Director of organiser, Industry Expo said “Both Eddie Milton and I will be calling on all our experience and contacts, having launched and managed a similar event until 2018. We are very excited about the co-location, as it means it not only helps to deliver an event the industry needs, but opens offsite up to a whole new audience, ensuring we are not just ‘singing to the choir.” 

Our partners Buildoffsite will be hosting a program of free to attend seminars and workshops with support from key industry stakeholders and Government departments.



Joe Dyde, Business Manager at Buildoffsite, said “The last few months have highlighted that we live in an increasingly remote, digital age, so all physical events will become increasingly important in 2021 and beyond. There is simply no substitute for meeting people in person and networking with peers, suppliers and customers, and we hope the Offsite Show will provide us all with the earliest opportunity to do just that”.

The underpinning theme of the event will be about the opportunities created from utilising offsite solutions and provide a showcase for a new and burgeoning market which is a vital component within the “Roadmap to Recovery”.

The Offsite Show will be the only vertical UK event that brings together the client and supply chain for all aspects of the rapidly expanding offsite construction sector, with the added benefit of targeting a wider, relevant audience, whilst flying the flag for offsite.

Nathan Garnett, Event Director of UK Construction Week also commented:

“We are delighted to be working with Industry Expo and Buildoffsite on this exciting launch alongside UK Construction Week London. Their aims and strategies align so well with ours and our partners on UKCW. It will be a real catalyst to drive demand as part of the recovery effort and placing offsite construction at its heart.”

The Offsite Show is for all sectors and will provide a business-to-business networking opportunity for those funders, clients, designers, constructors, and suppliers who wish to improve the quality, performance in use, asset value and value of construction – both building and civil engineering.

This will be the biggest event, of its kind, in Europe, at a major venue in London, supported by key industry figures.


You can register for the show by clicking here

Chun Wo Becomes First Construction Company to Use Concrete MiC in Construction of Buildings Up to 40 Storeys High Patented Wall Connection Technology Reduces Wall Thickness and Increases Saleable Area of Buildings

Chun Wo Construction Holdings Company Limited (“Chun Wo”) has been actively developing innovative technologies targeting the construction industry so as to enhance construction efficiency and promote the transformation of the industry. To complement the major trend towards innovative development by the construction industry, Chun Wo and The P&T Group (“P&T”) have developed an advanced “wall connection technology” that is applicable to Concrete “Modular Integrated Construction” Systems (“Concrete MiC”). This technology and the entire Concrete MiC solution have received “In-principle Acceptance” from the Buildings Department, meaning that they can be applied to building development projects in Hong Kong. The “wall connection technology” of Concrete MiC has also obtained the pertinent patent, making Chun Wo the first Hong Kong construction company to use this method in the design and construction of buildings up to 40 storeys high, hence substantially helping enhance construction efficiency.

MiC technology is a state-of-the-art construction method that transfers on-site construction procedures to the factory. Through the concept of “factory assembly followed by on-site installation”, free-standing integrated modules (including finishes, fixtures, components and fittings) are pre-fabricated in a factory before on-site installation. In this way, a building is largely completed before its components arrive at the site. Since on-site construction procedures are minimized, limitations resulting from weather, labor resources and location can be avoided. MiC therefore helps increase construction productivity, safety and sustainability and makes the construction process easier to control.

Compared with the “MiC” modules that are largely “steel structures” in Hong Kong, the “Concrete MiC” developed by Chun Wo and P&T is more cost-effective. Firstly, the patented “wall connection technology” can reduce the thickness of the wall and enlarge the saleable area of a unit. Concrete modules are durable and easy to meet the fire resistance prescribed. In terms of maintenance, concrete modules do not have to undergo initial inspection for repair and maintenance as quickly as their steel counterpart once a building is completed, and they do not require frequent repairs. Furthermore, concrete modules can be designed in a conventional and flexible manner to suit building layout plans, helping clear the misconception of MiC as being “rigid”. Concrete-built flats excel in insulating against sound and heat, hence, Chun Wo believes concrete modules meet general market expectations and demand from the private sector.



Though possessing many merits, Concrete MiC modules are not easy to design and construct as they are complex and require meticulous attention to detail. Possessing extensive construction experience and a team of experienced BIM professionals, Chun Wo is capable of providing one-stop solutions covering design to on-site construction, and can successfully apply “Concrete MiC” to different projects. Since P&T has strong engineering design capability as well as mature MiC technologies, it is able to offer strong support to the R&D of “Concrete MiC”.

Sr Stephen Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Chun Wo Construction Holdings Company Limited, said, “The Company has over the years been committed to developing innovative construction technologies. We are truly encouraged by the successful introduction of ‘Concrete MiC’ and to become the first construction company in Hong Kong to construct buildings of up to 40 storeys high with this technology. With Chun Wo’s construction experience stretching more than 50 years, the Company’s professional and mature team, and P&T’s professional design solutions, we can capitalize on these advantages to promote the use of this technology in more construction projects. Going forward, we will continue to develop more innovative construction technologies that contribute to the future of Hong Kong’s construction industry and which leads to the building of a more pleasant and advanced city.”

Chun Wo’s pioneering technology brand “Inno@ChunWo” has set up an innovative technology exhibition center “Chun Wo InnoBase” in Yuen Long, which is expected to open at the beginning of next year. The center will display show flats that adopt the two MiC methods, namely “concrete” and “steel structure”. More innovative construction technologies will be presented to the industry and public via the center in the future.


Source: Business News Asia




Alpamint Capital, a London-based private investment, development and consulting company, has pledged to build 5,000 affordable homes in the capital over the next decade.

The company has specifically earmarked airspace development, whereby unused space on rooftops of existing buildings is converted into new properties, as a key technique in realising its ambitions. It is now looking to partner both with London councils and management associations to move forward with its plans.

Airspace homes can be manufactured almost entirely offsite to a high specification and constructed on rooftops in a matter of days.

The group now has an asset book in excess of £30m. It has developed a total of over 100,000 sq ft of residential space, together with investors including real estate specialists, Cubhill Ltd.

Alpamint has recently collaborated with investors and housing bodies on several schemes in London and the South East. This includes the multi-million pound development of Clandon House, a 101-room site in Finchley, which is now set for residential use.



Joseph Zekaria, managing director of Alpamint Capital, said: “We’ve made substantial progress during the past decade and are determined to bring about further development. Building 5,000 new homes is an ambitious plan, and one we are intent on meeting through our strategic asset development and investment.

“We have enjoyed particular success through our airspace development model, which is an innovative solution to housebuilding and crucially doesn’t encroach on protected land. We’d encourage parties interested in partnering with us to get in touch as we have every confidence this approach can help accelerate London’s homebuilding goals.”


Source: Premier Construction News


Ilke Homes Secures 14.6-Acre Site For 227 Modular

Specialist modular housing developer ilke Homes has secured their largest site area from landowner Anderson Group – which will see them deliver 227 new homes in Grantham.

The firm – who’re sponsoring the upcoming Offsite & MMC Conference – will manufacture the homes at their factory in Knaresborough before being delivered.

Tom Heathcote, Executive Director of Development at ilke Homes, said: “We’re delighted to have secured a deal with the Anderson Group and to have worked on our first deal with CBRE. As a result of this deal, we will be unlocking a site which benefits from detailed planning consent. Thanks to our modular housing technology, we will be able to deliver 227 much-needed sustainable homes for the local community in just over two years.”

Andrew Jay, Group Managing Director at Anderson Group, said: “Anderson Group are at the forefront of Innovation in the UK construction sector, so we look forward to seeing ilke Homes deliver their own innovative new homes at Dysart Road, and we feel sure there will be further opportunities for collaboration in the future.”

Register for the Offsite & MMC Conference here:



The panelised modular building systems market in the UK was worth £753m in 2019. It is worth noting that due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, AMA Research are forecasting that contractors’ output is expected to be down by 20% in 2020. As a result of this downward turn, the panelised modular building systems market will also experience a decline in 2020 as the two are not mutually exclusive. This will result in a drop of 15% decreasing the market value to £636m.

Off-site manufacturing, such as panelised modular building systems may recover faster as it is more conducive to Covid-19 safety measures such as social distancing. The adaptation of the working environment has been an easier transition than a traditional construction setting, due to it being less labour intensive and requiring fewer personnel on site. With all construction work carried out on a production line, activity can be planned and monitored to ensure that social distancing is adhered to.

More importantly there is now a strong likelihood of an increase in the use of volumetric and other types of off-site construction method to help meet the chronic housing shortage, cope with the lack of traditional construction skills within the construction industry and help meet the government’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Off-site construction, with open panel timber frame systems the most widely used type, could very well be the solution to delivering much needed affordable homes and to deliver them quickly. It is anticipated there will be a significant increase in off-site production capacity with many leading housebuilders and RPRs declaring their intentions to substantially increase their use of off-site systems to build new homes.

Timber frame systems is the largest sector, with a share estimated to be 70%, due to a larger supply base and extensive usage in the Scottish housebuilding market and self-build sector. Timber frame is a natural, renewable, low carbon material and timber frame houses can be built on average eight weeks faster when compared with traditional construction methods. The end result is a more cost-effective building to live in.

A close eye will need to be kept on how quickly the economy, and the construction industry in particular recovers, however; there is now a glimmer of hope with the announcement from Pfizer of their successful initial vaccine trial. Over the next few years, the growth of this market will be greatly affected by how long the Covid-19 pandemic lasts.