Costs of MMC set to drop by a third, finds new report

osts associated with modern methods of construction (MMC) could fall by a third as demand in the sector grows, reveals a new report published today by Constructing Excellence at its annual conference.

Part of the BRE Group, Constructing Excellence is a leading not-for-profit membership organisation driving change in the construction sector. Its report, done in collaboration with Building Research Establishment (BRE), Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) and Bristol City Council, finds that MMC costs are currently around £3,000 per m2, owing to typically small volumes and short pipelines for manufacturers. However, as manufacturers scale up and pipelines lengthen, it concludes that costs could fall to around £2,000 per m2.

While MMC could bring with it an even greater cost benefit in future, it is already resulting in noticeably shorter building phases. The report also found that the average build is 72 weeks for a house built using MMC compared to 112 weeks for one built using traditional methods. This includes all stages of the build process, from pre-construction design to fit out.

Today’s report by Constructing Excellence also looks to define ‘key performance indicators’ (KPIs) for MMC – which have previously been unavailable – and benchmark these against existing housing delivery models, to quantify the benefits of MMC. The KPIs by BRE identified include cost, time, quality, health and safety, labour requirements, environmental impacts, and local disruption.

As a follow-up to this report, Constructing Excellence is now planning to convene an MMC Group which will enable it to take ownership of gathering and measuring this KPI data across manufacturers and builds to drive further development in the sector.

Alison Nicholl, Head of Constructing Excellence, commented: “It is clear that the prominence of MMC is growing, accelerated by the growing need to rethink our approach to construction to meet pressing delivery challenges. However my view is that if we are going to truly advance the adoption of MMC and make it mainstream, we need to develop a much more tangible benefits case based on real data and evidence, not just warm words and positive sentiment.

“What is already clear from this research is that delivery speed and qualitative benefits of MMC use are compelling which in turn leads to wider linked economic and societal benefits.”

Richard Quarry, Partner and Head of Affordable Housing at Rider Levett Bucknall, said: “As we see MMC now becoming embedded within the residential sector, especially for our affordable housing Clients, this report is extremely timely. As well as demonstrating the benefits through time savings and build-quality improvements and addressing site labour shortages, focusing conversations around data capture and a rounded set of KPIs to quantify benefits will help to embed processes and drive futher adoption.”

When used appropriately, MMC has the potential to improve resource efficiency, build quality, environmental performance, and the predictability of delivery timescales. However, traditionally KPIs for MMC have been difficult to measure due to a lack of or limited data available on the impacts of this method of construction.

As a result, only 15,000 homes are currently factory-made each year, compared to the Government’s annual target of 300,000. It is estimated that around 3.9m homes are required to meet current and future levels of demand; however, the consensus is that construction targets cannot be met without the extensive use of MMC.

Last week the Government  announced its “biggest investment in a generation” into Britain’s tidal power. The government will invest £20 million per year in Tidal Stream electricity as part of its renewable energy auction scheme.

“UK government announces biggest investment in a generation into tidal power, kickstarting a new chapter for the UK’s tidal energy industry this will strengthen energy security by adding to our diverse, renewable electricity supply and create jobs across the UK today’s investment in tidal energy further demonstrates the UK’s commitment to build a strong, home-grown renewable energy sector to reduce our reliance on volatile fossil fuels,” the Government said.

Today’s announcement will unlock the potential for a thriving UK tidal power sector, with the cash boost supporting marine technologies which could benefit the whole of the UK, the government said.

“As part of the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference Scheme due to open next month, the UK government will ensure that £20 million per year will be ringfenced for Tidal Stream projects, giving the marine energy sector a chance to develop their technology and lower their costs in a similar way to the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry. This will bring the total funding for this allocation round to £285 million per year,” the UK Government said.

It added that the £20 million additional ringfenced budget is for Tidal Stream projects, not Tidal Range, which is a different technology. Tidal Range projects are not eligible to enter into the CfD scheme.

“History has illustrated the effectiveness of the scheme’s design in keeping costs down – between the first allocation round in 2015 and the most recent round in 2019, the price per unit (MWh) of offshore wind fell by around 65%,” the Government said.

Over time, the Government said, marine technologies have the potential to significantly contribute to our decarbonization commitments and will support hundreds of green jobs across the country, with projects currently in development in North-West Scotland, North Wales, and the Southern coast of England. Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “As an island nation we are perfectly placed to capitalize on clean marine energy, building on our booming offshore wind sector which is now a British industrial success story.

“We hope to see marine energy follow in the successful footprints of other renewable technologies, where we’ve seen costs fall dramatically in recent years thanks to UK government support.

“The investment provides a major push for tidal power to become a key part of the next generation of renewable electricity projects needed to strengthen energy security as we work to reduce our dependency on volatile fossil fuels.”

Source: Offshore Engineer

Loughborough University joins the Smart Construction Network

Loughborough’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering has become the latest member of the Smart Construction Network (SCN).

The SCN is formed of academic institutions, R& D organisations, industry centres and trade bodies, and aspires to be the conduit through which expert knowledge, innovative ideas and best practice can be shared.

Its mission is to encourage the uptake of Smart Construction across the whole sector, including housing, and in doing so support the journey of transformation towards a more modern, productive, and sustainable construction sector. The SCN signposts innovative construction businesses towards the expertise and support they need to begin their transformative journey.

Shelagh Grant, chair of the SCN welcomed the announcement. She said: “Loughborough University is well regarded as a leading institution, offering a unique service to the construction industry, with a reputation for innovation in sustainability, high performance buildings, and digital construction. It is one of the largest integrated centres for built environment education in the UK, spanning architecture, building, quantity surveying, urban planning, and civil and architectural engineering.”

Chris Goodier, Professor of Construction Engineering and Materials, who led the submission added: “Loughborough has a great tradition of working closely with industry and government to address the great national and global challenges of today and tomorrow. We look forward to collaborating closely with the SCN and its partners across the spectrum of smart construction activities, including offsite manufacture and modern methods of construction, digital, and high-performance building.”

Source: Loughborough University

Saudi Arabia has announced plans for the establishment of Oxagon, which would be the world’s largest floating city when completed.


Comprising a large area in the southwest corner of Neom (a planned cross-border city in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia), the urban environment is centered around an integrated port and logistics hub that will house the majority of the city’s anticipated residents.

According to press information, the octagonal design minimises impact on the environment and provides optimal land usage, with the remainder open to preserve 95% of the natural environment. A defining feature of the city is the world’s largest floating structure, which will become a center for Neom’s Blue Economy.

Located on the Red Sea close to the Suez Canal, Oxagon will be a technologically advanced logistics hubs with state-of-the-art integrated port and airport connectivity. The new city will establish the world’s first fully integrated port and supply chain ecosystem.

At Oxagon’s core will be the adoption of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and robotics, all of which are coupled to a network of fully automated distribution centers and autonomous last-mile delivery assets to drive a seamless supply chain.

His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Neom Company Board of Directors, said, “Oxagon, will contribute to redefining the world’s approach to industrial development in the future, protecting the environment while creating jobs and growth for Neom.”

The first manufacturing tenants will enter Oxagon at the beginning of 2022.



Source: International Construction

From wind turbine covers to work bags – tackling the textile mountain

Whilst wind energy undoubtedly plays an important part in our fight against climate change – much controversy still surrounds air turbines & their parts being non-recyclable at end of life.

Yorkshire based innovative recyclers MyGroup ( have developed a solution to upcycle the hardwearing poly-blend bags used to protect and transport Siemens Gamesa wind turbines during the installation process.

The company’s textile team has deconstructed the material and created work & tool bags for staff members at the wind turbine manufacturing plant. The design creates a circular solution for the material. Otherwise, it would take up large amounts of space in landfills or go to incineration (some poly blend materials can take up to 200 years to degrade in a landfill).

The challenge we face with any kind of textile recycling is enormous. But hardwearing textiles designed for industrial projects are increasingly hard-to-repurpose. It’s reported that 95% of textiles have the potential to be recycled, yet currently less than 15% is being recycled effectively.

MyGroup is known mainly for their innovative solutions for plastic recycling, notably for facemask recycling in Wilko stores and cosmetic recycling in Boots stores. But the company is now expanding focus on creating viable upcycling routes for textiles too.

Katie Robinson, Textile Technician at MyGroup, said, “The Siemens Turbine bag is a great example of our solutions – a complex, poly based material built to last, yet when it’s retired from its original purpose, what’s next? We decided this material would be perfect as a tool bag because of its durability. Using in-house processes and craftmanship, we came up with a solution to divert this material away from incineration or landfill. There really is no such thing as non-recyclable for us. Everything has another purpose. It’s our job to find and realise that purpose.”

Plans are in place to continue experimenting with the tricky poly-blend textiles to create more items, such as duffel bags, tipis and shelters. The long-term aim is to create more viable streams to divert complex poly based textiles from landfills.

Marshalls Civils & Drainage’s modular solution is “outstanding” for KCD in Surrey


Flat pack wastewater treatment unit makes it mark for Thames Water.


Flat pack drainage systems from Marshalls Civils & Drainage have proved an “outstanding” solution to flooding problems at a busy outer London interchange for Thames Water.

A bespoke modular flat pack wastewater treatment chamber unit by Marshalls has helped alleviate flooding at a busy junction of Demesne Road and Tharp Road in Wallington near Sutton in Surrey.

The 1.7m wide x 3.06m long x 2.96m high precast concrete unit, which was manufactured off-site, was installed to a depth of 3.26m over three days in October by the major projects team at KCD, a joint venture between Kier and Clancy.

The unit was required to house a FLIP pump in one chamber, with the second chamber acting as a storage unit for foul waste should the pump fail. The original design was for a double skin of engineering bricks, but Marshalls’ chamber unit was suggested when the site proved too constrained to easily allow its construction.

The whole solution from Marshalls was delivered as a one-piece base, with four interconnecting external walls and internal weir wall, pre-fitted with watertight seals and topped off with a cover slab with access openings for the locations of covers to allow for inspection and maintenance.

The works in the highway of Tharp Road and in the rear access road behind a number of properties were carried out to reduce the risk of the foul sewer network surcharging and subsequent flooding of eight homes on the road. Customers in the area had endured multiple flood events in heavy rainstorms, so were delighted to see the work completed so quickly.


KCD project manager Abi El Mohri said: “We changed the design mainly to accommodate the space, or lack of it. It was very limited due to the services underground clashing with the space needed for the chamber.

“In the end we found an abandoned gas pipe and involved SGN [the gas distribution company] who came and removed it in the particular area of the chamber. Space was a bit tight, but we made the Marshalls chamber fit.”

“The other challenges were the flooding which is the main reason for us installing the alleviation unit and managing access for the resident access. s With a short road closure and parking restrictions we got the works done quickly – so as to minimise disruption.”

He added: “Marshalls were outstanding from my point of view. They delivered as planned although we had to change the date once, but they made it happen and provided us with an expert manager on site which made a complex assembly look really simple. Fair play to Marshalls, a credit to the company.”


Marshalls’ business development manager Billy Fairhurst was so impressed with the KCD installation he emailed the team to say: “I would like to comment on the cleanliness and work ethic of your team during this installation. They were very professional in all aspects and due diligence was given in all aspects of the erection.”

Stelling Properties believes Modular construction for Meanwhile Housing schemes could be the answer to reducing hospital readmissions for the homeless


Following the Government’s announcement that it will provide extra funding for pilot schemes to provide temporary housing and extra care for the homeless that have recently been released from hospital, Stelling Properties is calling on those responsible for delivering the pilot programs, to look at modular construction as a way of accelerating the delivery of the homes needed.

A recent study of 3,000 homeless patients found that 2,000 were readmitted to hospital within a year, with the onset of winter approaching, there is a need to move quickly to provide high quality, safe, secure accommodation, Stelling Properties believes that modular constructed Meanwhile Housing is a solution which will allow the most vulnerable to benefit quicker thus contributing to breaking the cycle of hospital readmissions.

Meanwhile housing affords the opportunity to accelerate the delivery of new homes on sites awaiting permanent redevelopment as these homes can be occupied several years before a final development is completed allowing redundant land to be utilised. With the potential to deliver modular construction projects up to 50% quicker than traditional projects, Stelling Properties believes modular construction provides an immediate solution to homelessness crisis.


“We have an innovative solution that is readily available. The extra funding is great news that will make a real difference, we now need to make sure that all parties including planners act fast to reduce the seasonal impact of winter and provide the safe secure temporary homes that are needed” said !ntonio

Lopez, Head of Property Operations & New Opportunities at Stelling Properties.




Grand Designs: House of the Year, Channel 4, review: Another year, another shortlist of outlandish houses that don’t represent true British architecture

By Barbara Speed Opinion Editor at iNews

The House of the Year competition has rolled around again, and the homes on display are as outlandish as ever. A water tower turned into the Thunderbirds’ HQ! A house inside a 14th century stone keep! A house built on top of another, less attractive house!

The competition, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects and with its shortlist and winner revealed via Grand Designs, does at least nod in the direction of sustainability and functionality.

The Thunderbirds-style “Water Tower” in King’s Lynn preserved a disused structure, and alma-nac studio’s “House-within-a-House” in London is much better insulated than the 1950s home it swallowed up. But the competition rings oddly in its designation of “House of the Year” when the shortlist couldn’t be further from what most of us live in.

House within a House, one of the buildings shortlisted for RIBA’s House of the Year competition (Photo: Channel 4)




Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud seemed painfully aware of this fact as he ran through the longlist of properties in the “surprise” category. He proclaimed rather unconvincingly that the gargantuan, expensive “House-within-a-House” is the “template of a modern family home” after learning that its fancy oak floors withstood regular skateboarding.





Pele Tower House (Photo: Channel 4)



Pele Tower House’s architect was praised for letting light in despite the original windows being designed purely for shooting arrows, and for managing to surround its swimming pool with a mortar-free stone wall at huge expense. Not issues faced by your average homeowner.






The word “house” has complicated associations, and on the basis of this competition, is not to be confused with “home”. It is not clear whether the winning project here will be commended for its architectural wizardry, or for its ability to improve its owners’ lives and inspire future, better iterations of the sorts of houses the rest of us occupy. I fear it will be the former.

UK housing is in short supply, and is too often badly constructed, a health risk or made from deadly materials. There are scores of problems worth architects’ time; I’m not sure House of the Year tackled any of them.

Green Life Buildings (GLB) has agreed a strategic partnership with DTM Global Holdings to provide its Advanced Building System (ABS) to Canada, India and South East Asia. The partnership will focus on building greener homes in line with the need for immediate climate action. JV companies will be formed in Canada and India and the initial order book from Canada and India is anticipated to exceed £3m by mid 2022. As part of the partnership, the JV companies intend to create production facilities in key overseas markets.

Chris Williams, CEO of GLB said “our JV with DTM provides us with the ideal opportunity to offer our greener building system to new markets, enabling them to benefit from the carbon savings of the system”.

Sanjeev Kumar, director and CEO of DTM added “we are intimately familiar with the markets of Canada, India and South East Asia. We are convinced that there is huge untapped demand for new construction methods that are both cost effective and environmentally friendly”.


About GLB


GLB’s Advanced Building System, is recognised by the UK government as a Modern Method of Construction, and utilises low carbon materials to provide benefits at every stage of manufacture and installation. The system provides structural, acoustic, thermal and carbon benefits compared to traditional techniques. The M2 technology behind the ABS is proven as are the products that provide innovative, sustainable and cost effective building solutions to developers, housing associations and public authorities. The ABS can reduce costs by up to 40% compared to traditional methods, and construction times by up to 50%. The processes used minimise waste and all elements of the products are recyclable. When completed the system offers fire resistance (REI120), has high structural strength and can be made into any shape whilst reducing CO2e emissions compared to current practices by over 45% in construction (more than 22 tonnes per home) and 65% in operation.


About Delamore


The Delamore & Owl Group of Companies is a privately owned group and parent of 48 subsidiaries, with an ever increasing global reach and client base. Among its portfolio of clients are governments, non-government, and privately owned entities based in more than 30 countries in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific.


As a conglomerate, the group’s complete library of businesses spreads across various sectors of the economy including aviation, agriculture and agri-commodities, commodity trading, consultancy, construction, ICT, infrastructure, environment & energy, healthcare, financial services, mining, among others. DTM Global Holdings is an environmental, tech and media focused entity within the Delamore & Owl Group.



DTM Global – Sanjeev Kumar:


GLB – Chris Williams:,





The new homes will seek to deliver low-carbon housing with low energy environmental design while exploring modern methods of construction.


Glenn Howells Architects has unveiled plans for a 5,000-home masterplan around the National Exhibition Centre in Solihull, east Birmingham

The new ‘urban village’ will be built on more than 27ha of surface-level car parking and surplus land, and will include a new hotel, restaurants and cafés, a primary school, 35,000m² of commercial space and 14,000m² of event space.

The scheme is being developed by the NEC Group, which is owned by Blackstone, a New York-based asset manager that looks after $650 billion (£482 billion) of funds. It is being built on the NEC Campus, on land owned by Birmingham City Council.

NEC Group said the plans will ‘establish an inclusive, diverse and prosperous community for over 11,000 people,’ adding that the new settlement will work ‘in harmony with the existing mature woodland and hedgerow landscape’ and ‘promote nature-focused and active lifestyles’.

The plans also include a new ‘grand plaza’ for the NEC Campus, to improve the visitor offer. This will be surrounded by restaurants as well as the new hotel and will provide a ‘dynamic outdoor event space’.

NEC Group said the plans would create a total of 3,500 new jobs.

There will also be a new ‘urban boulevard’ which will connect the site with the HS2 Interchange station and the Arden Cross development around it. The boulevard will be lined with commercial buildings with ground-floor retail space.

The masterplan will be subject to a six-week consultation running from 10 November to 24 December. After this it will be updated before a developer for the first phase of the scheme is procured.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: ‘This is an exciting moment for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, as this transformational masterplan is published. Birmingham is attracting record levels of investment and the NEC Masterplan is testament to that.

‘Over the coming years this project will provide much-needed new homes and high-quality jobs for people from our region and I encourage people to make their thoughts known through the public consultation.

‘I believe that we are at the beginning of a golden decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs, and building thousands of homes.’

Architect’s view

Our approach to the NEC Masterplan in the UK Central Solihull Hub Area is an ambitious vision for what will be a new urban village within an established blue and green infrastructure on the edge of the Forest of Arden.

The existing infrastructure that serves the NEC Campus and the excellent transport links, including Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International train station and the new HS2 interchange, provides the ideal opportunity for the regeneration of this brownfield site to help meet the housing needs of the region.

We believe the matured landscaping, lakeside setting, and nearby woodlands will help to create a healthy and active environment for residents and visitors alike.

The masterplan will provide amenities, a range of communal uses and a primary school to meet community needs and build on the principles of the 15-minute neighbourhood.

What’s also exciting is the range of typologies on offer that will deliver homes to a wider demographic of society from young families to professionals and those in later life. The new homes will seek to deliver low-carbon housing with low energy environmental design while exploring modern methods of construction.’

Dav Bansal, partner, Glenn Howells Architects


Source: Architects Journal