Award winning house builder, The Hill Group, officially handed over the keys for eight SoloHaus to Dacorum Borough Council, the first council in Hertfordshire to make use of these purpose-built modular homes as follow-on accommodation for people who have previously experienced homelessness in the local area.

Rory Lowing, SoloHaus Project Manager of The Hill Group joined Cllr Alan Anderson from Dacorum Borough Council and Wendy Lewington from DENS charity for the official handover of the homes, providing much-needed safe and secure move on accommodation. One of the turnkey homes has been gifted by Hill, with the other seven funded by the council and a Government grant. Dacorum Borough Council also received support from BPM Project Management Ltd and Arcus Consulting on the project.

Cllr Alan Anderson, Dacorum Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Place, said: “Having a safe, comfortable, independent space is vital to helping those who have experienced homelessness to rebuild their lives and make the transition into more stable accommodation. These SoloHaus units provide us with a complete solution to supporting people who find themselves in this position and will make a real difference in our efforts to tackle homelessness in the borough. We are very grateful to Hill for their donation of an extra unit as part of this valuable partnership.”

Management of the homes will be undertaken through a partnership arrangement led by the Council with DENS, a local charity with a proven track record of supporting Dacorum residents to realise their aspirations for housing, skills development, employment and education.

The residents and homes at Hampton Close in Hemel Hempstead will be supported by DENS, the homeless charity for people in Dacorum. DENS do much more than just providing a roof and a bed for people in need, aiming to be the first port of call for people in Dacorum who are facing homelessness, poverty and social exclusion.

Wendy Lewington, CEO at DENS said: “These smart, modular homes will enable us to support even more people facing homelessness in Dacorum. DENS staff will be providing tailored advice and training to the residents so they can develop the skills, confidence and resilience to help rebuild their lives and take the next step into independent living”.

SoloHaus was developed as the housing solution to Hill’s Foundation 200, a £15m pledge to design, manufacture and donate 200 modular homes to local authorities and charities working in homelessness by 2025

The homes are specially designed, fully furnished and equipped for a single person to move straight into. Each modular home provides a sleek independent space and a safe, comfortable environment. The homes, which are built to last for at least 60 years, are highly energy efficient to keep costs low and are designed to Future Homes Standards, which exceeds building regulations for energy efficiency and sound insulation.

Andy Hill, Group Chief Executive at The Hill Group, said: “We are pleased to be working with Dacorum Borough Council to supply the first purpose-built modular homes in Hemel Hempstead.  We designed SoloHaus to aid vulnerable individuals with nowhere to call home and I am confident that this scheme will have an incredibly positive impact on many Dacorum residents, helping them to turn their lives around.”

SoloHaus units are manufactured in the West Midlands by Hill Group’s manufacturing partner Volumetric Modular prior to being delivered and installed on site. So far around 150 SoloHaus homes have been handed over to local authorities in the fight against homelessness.

A new modular demonstrator unit has been unveiled by Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST), designed to show Scottish businesses that a timber kit-of-parts approach to retrofit could be the key to future sustainable offices.



Following the development of a blueprint design last year, Ecosystems Technologies – a specialist in advanced mass timber manufacturing – has now created a fully functioning prototype to encourage adoption of the modular approach among the Scottish business community.

Alongside the physical unit, an opensource free guide has been created by ThreeSixty Architecture to enable organisations to replicate the design and adapt it to different types and sizes of buildings, with the first office spaces already commissioned using the design expected to be occupied later this year.

The work forms part of the NearHome project, supported by Transport Scotland, which was formed in response to the changing working patterns of a post-Covid Scotland. The aim of the project is to provide businesses with the tools to transform and retrofit unused spaces into sustainable, energy-efficient out-of-town alternatives to city centre offices.

A study was also conducted by the University of Edinburgh to review the potential of using geographic information system (GIS) data to determine the best possible positions for future sites. Researchers looked at the use of existing datasets, such as Scottish Census data, to identify locations for NearHome hubs based on demographics, economic factors and travel times.

Scottish businesses are now being invited to view the demonstrator unit for themselves to experience how the timber-focused design could support future sustainable workplace strategies. Built-in flexibility and the use of components manufactured offsite means that the design can be applied to a range of different scenarios, from standalone pods to new build units or to repurpose vacant buildings – and not only used for offices.


Lynsey Bryson, head of digital programmes at BE-ST, said: “NearHome has the potential to change how we think about the retrofit of non-domestic buildings going forward. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to be possible to suit the various building typologies we use in Scotland, but the modular design offers a flexible, sustainable solution that can be adapted on a case-by-case basis.

“While we were originally looking specifically at workplaces, the flexibility of the kit has shown that it could in fact be used for a range of different purposes. We’re pleased to now see the toolkit design come to life with the physical demonstrator and hope that it can inform and inspire decision makers to consider it as a viable retrofit option for future projects.”


The project builds on BE-ST’s continued focus on modern methods of construction including homegrown engineered timber, which is central to the NearHome design. Environmental benefits include the use of a natural, low carbon material that would reduce Scotland’s reliance on imports, using a kit-of-parts that can be easily deconstructed and re-used if required as well as embracing biophilic design principles that are shown to have benefits for health and wellbeing.

Initial indications from the life cycle analysis of the NearHome approach suggest that the construction of a typical office building would produce five times more carbon dioxide equivalent compared to the modular, timber kit design.


Matt Stevenson, founder of Ecosystems Technologies, said: “There are a range of ways that homegrown timber could be used more widely in construction and this retrofit design is a great example that can be easily adopted by businesses and other organisations as the built environment transitions to zero carbon. We are already seeing that become a reality with interest growing and the first commercial orders for the kit-of-parts already underway.

“Scottish timber is a fantastic regenerative, low-carbon resource and there are significant opportunities to expand the use cases in the built environment through collaboration, research and digital technology. The NearHome project demonstrates the added advantage of a circular approach with the kit designed for reuse, meaning captured carbon can remain in the cycle for as long a period as possible.”


Minister for Zero carbon Buildings, Active Travel & Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie said: “The new unit developed by BE-ST is another important milestone for the NearHome project.

“COVID-19 led to a fundamental shift in workplace settings and working patterns. It also created significant challenges in terms of wellbeing, social isolation, collaboration and networking. We funded the NearHome project to support workplace innovation and aid COVID recovery. The project is helping to create safe, hygienic and connected work environments, offering greater choice, flexibility for people to work locally. It’s also helping to create new opportunities in Scotland’s construction industry, making better use of Scottish wood.

“Not every home is suitable for home working. Working from quality spaces closer to home can offer greater flexibility and work-life balance, whilst reducing car dependency and transport emissions, and creating local economic opportunities – which is all part of the Scottish Government’s ambition to support the development of 20-minute neighbourhoods.”

Bromford signs contract with A leading housing association has signed a £100m+ contract to accelerate the number of low-carbon, factory-built homes it builds every year.

Bromford has sealed a four-year contract with MMC developers ilke Homes Ltd and Hadley Group to provide hundreds of new homes across the West Midlands and West of England.

The first homes to be delivered as part of the partnerships will be a 28-home zero carbon development in Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire delivered through Bromford’s in-house construction team and ilke Homes. The units are due to be installed in the spring of 2023 over an 8-week period. They will come equipped with air source heat pumps and solar panels that, when combined, will reduce operational emissions – such as those generated from utilities such as heating and electricity – by 100 percent. Plans for the scheme were approved by Cotswold District Council in February.

High levels of energy-efficiency – achieved by increased air tightness and the use of low-carbon technologies – will translate into huge cost savings for Bromford’s customers, at a time when the annual energy price cap is predicted to be raised to more than £3,000 in October.

Development and asset management innovation lead Mike Craggs said: “Providing affordable homes that are cheaper to run and heat is going to be increasingly important for our customers and these partnerships will allow us to make sure the homes that are provided of the highest, EPC-A standard. We’re thrilled to have signed these contracts with ilke Homes and Hadley Group to become our main providers of MMC homes for the years ahead, and are looking forward to work starting on our first development in Gloucestershire.

“Utilising modern methods of construction is key to us delivering the number of affordable, energy efficient homes we are aiming to build during the next five years. Starting with 50 homes in the first year of the contract, we will increase this to up to 200 homes a year by 2025 and are looking forward to getting started on our first site later this year.”

Tom Heathcote, executive director of development at ilke Homes, said: “ilke Homes are increasingly becoming a partner of choice for housing associations looking to scale up the delivery of energy-efficient, affordable housing. Much like many councils and housing associations across the country, Bromford and Cotswold District Council understand the role MMC have to play in enhancing the build quality of homes and their ability to speed up construction programmes. We look forward to working closely with all delivery partners to bring this scheme forward.”

Ben Towe, group managing director at Hadley Group said: “Hadley Group is delighted to be a Bromford Homes delivery partner for new modular home where better efficiency delivers greater affordability for everyone. The housing crisis is not only about more homes, but also about better performance of those homes so they cost less to heat, light, helping people out of fuel poverty.”

 Paul Nicoll, director of advanced methods of construction (AMC) added: “Bromford have taken the initiative by selecting Hadley HOME as a delivery partner and we are excited that together we can develop more homes faster than before by embracing modular. Bromford will achieve the highest EPC rating, benefiting both the environment through efficiency and reducing the cost of living for those living and working from home.”

In 2021 Bromford was named one of Homes England’s strategic partners, securing £240m to develop new homes, 25% of which have to utilise modern methods of construction. Bromford is one of the biggest builders of affordable housing in the country, completing 1,224 homes in the past financial year. For the past two years it has been the biggest builder of social rent homes* and aims to develop more than 7,000 homes over the next five years.


Image: (L-R) Richard Mawdsley, Director for Development at Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters,

Dave Dargan, Managing Director, Starship Group – Karl Venture, Managing Director, Starship Modular


Net zero modular housing manufacturer, Starship Group, has announced the move of its offsite manufacturing facility to the Mobil Building at Wirral Waters’ Mea Park.

Earlier this year, Starship Group relocated its head office to Hythe, Peel L&P’s Grade A office building at Wirral Waters. Now, the Wirral housebuilder, will move its entire manufacturing arm from its existing home in Deeside back to its Wirral roots.

The conversion of the low-bay element of the Mobil Building, into which Starship will relocate, is the first phase of the development of Mea Park. A planning application for the £9m second phase, a highly sustainable, 70,000 sq. ft multi-unit industrial and warehouse scheme for industrial and logistics companies and supply chains, was submitted to Wirral Council earlier this year.

Starship’s new manufacturing campus will be fully operational by mid-August when it transfers all its residential manufacturing from Deeside. With over 90% of Starship’s workforce already from Wirral, the new location will be within easy reach for employees.

Mea Park, which will form part of the Liverpool City Region Freeport, has the potential to become a centre of excellence for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), including modular construction, with the facilities and skills being used across a wide range of industries, including house building. As with all projects at Wirral Waters, Mea Park will also be a highly sustainable development, targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability.

Starship Group was founded in 2020 following the merger of a number of highly successful property development and construction businesses. Their carbon zero construction credentials, and use of innovative technology, make them an ideal tenant for Wirral Waters.

With a strong client base, including housing associations, private developers and investors, Starship build high-quality, affordable and net zero homes with high-grade insulation to lower energy consumption and reduce energy bills. They also design and build bespoke homes and build to existing specs.

Starship’s business model is more flexible and efficient than other volumetric modular home providers. The company focuses on panelised delivery which reduces waste in the manufacturing, storage and transport of the homes. While much of the construction takes place in the controlled factory environment, the final fit out is done using local labour and supports local economies. Starship also produces its own housing products, alongside the manufacture and delivery of homes designed for a specific clients or places, allowing for a healthy and sustainable pipeline to develop from a range of clients across the UK.

Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, said, “Our strategic partnership with Starship Group has taken a leap forward. As environmentally responsible businesses looking to the future of the construction industry, we are very aligned in our ambitions and our values especially in growing a local workforce, and we are delighted that they can see the huge potential for Wirral Waters.

“Wirral Waters offers many benefits to them as an MMC manufacturer and it is fantastic that, between Hythe and MEA Park, we will have the whole Starship team on site at Wirral Waters this summer.”

Dave Dargan, Managing Director at Starship Group said, “We are really excited to be bringing our offsite manufacturing facilities to Wirral Waters which will mean our whole Starship team will now be on one single Campus. The new campus will focus on delivering on our significant residential MMC pipeline and is expected to create over 100 new jobs over the next 12 months.

“We have a fantastic partnership with Peel L&P and we are working hard together to put Wirral Waters on the map as a regional centre of excellence for Modern Methods of Construction and the creation of next generation construction skills”


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The £12.7m school is the first school to be awarded to Portakabin

under the Department for Education’s (DfE) MMC1 framework.

Installation has completed in just two weeks for a brand new,

state-of-the-art 170-place special school outside Norwich.

CLICK BELOW to exclusive drone footage of how the installation unfolded here


The school will be part of The Bridge Multi Academy Trust and will be for children with learning and cognition needs from ages four to 19, is in the village of Easton and will provide purpose-built facilities including a forest school area and a specialist autism unit.

Constructed offsite using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), the school building took shape in lightning speed, with all 60 modules in place in just two weeks. The custom modules have been designed specifically for the Department for Education. At 3.6m wide and 18.75m long, each module attains better thermal performance and offers improved day light for the comfort of both pupils and teachers.

Built by modular building market leaders Portakabin, the school was precision engineered in its manufacturing facility in York.

After starting on site in January, installation was completed in June and the project is on programme to complete in December 2022.

When the school opens it will have a growth plan with children admitted in a careful and planned way until it reaches capacity.

The completed site will include on-site staff and visitor parking, minibus and taxi drop-off points, sports pitches, a MUGA court, outdoor play areas, a forest school area and a productive garden.


Nick Griffin, Divisional MD for Portakabin comments: “This Norfolk special school is the first of many projects to be awarded to us on the DfE’s MMC1 framework.

“Our latest module development means we can offer modular schools with better learning environments thanks to larger windows, bigger classrooms and better thermal performance.

“Innovation in modular buildings continues to develop at pace and means we can provide a high quality and reliable alternative to traditional construction, something here at Portakabin we’re always excited to talk about!”


Cllr Daniel Elmer, deputy cabinet member for Norfolk’s Children’s Services, said: “Making the case for this school to be delivered as part of the DfE’s free school programme has been a key part of Norfolk County Council’s £120 million SEND transformation programme.

“We pledged to deliver at least 500 new places in specialist provision and this school is a huge part of that work.

“We can’t wait to see the different it makes to the lives of dozens of children and young people with SEND and their families.”


Dr Penny Barratt, CEO, The Bridge London Trust comments: “We at The Bridge MAT are extremely excited to be working with Norfolk County Council and the Department for Education to develop this new school, The Bridge Easton. We are aware of the need for additional special school places and are really looking forward to opening this school in Norfolk.”


The planned opening date is January 2023.
All places will be commissioned and funded by Norfolk County Council. New admissions will be through a county admissions panel. No waiting lists are in operation at this time.
Find out more about admission to special schools and specialist colleges here



A new, lightweight, ‘score & snap’ tile backer board has been launched by construction materials supplier Euroform.  Named ‘Easyboard®’, the fibre cement board is designed for use in areas of high moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms, and has secured an A1 non-combustible rating.


Easyboard®‘s ‘score & snap’ nature is an innovative development for a tile backer board – it is scored easily with a traditional utility knife and snapped to size without the use of specialist cutting equipment.  In addition, its relative lightweight (approx. 13 Kg per 800mm x 1200mm sheet) means that it can be lifted and fitted by a single installer or DIY user.



Easyboard® has been classified A1 “non-combustible” according to (BS) EN 13501-1.


Manufacture is via a unique process, combining Ordinary Portland Cement with a reinforcing matrix, that enhances workability and handling over traditional fibre cement boards.


Available in 12.5mm thickness Easyboard® is inorganic, making it very dimensionally stable compared with traditional wood-based boards.


Commenting on the new product, Mark Atkinson, Euroform’s national commercial manager, said, “Easyboard® is lightweight and a handy size for a single person to install.  Its workability, with its ease of cutting, is a significant improvement over traditional tile backer boards.  Competitive pricing is also going to make it an attractive new alternative.”


Easyboard® is only available from Euroform.

CLICK BELOW to view a video which deonstrates the the ease with which Easyboard®

can be cut via the ‘score & snap’ method

Euroform recommends Easyboard® is installed in brick bond fashion with a flexible adhesive used when placing tiles.  It can be used as a wall tile or floor tile substrate.


CLICK HERE For technical data visit





Since it was introduced in 2013 the European safety standard EN 16005 remains a key standard to be followed to ensure pedestrian safety at automatic doors. Considered to be a more onerous standard it defines the responsibilities of all those in the construction industry from manufacturer to end user and including architects and contractors.


GEZE UK has revised and updated its popular and informative RIBA-approved CPD Safeguarding Pedestrians from Accidents at Power Operated Doorsets.


The 40-minute seminar looks at the European standard EN 16005 in detail and explains the responsibilities of all involved to ensure safety and compliance at all stages of construction.


It explains everything from activation distances for escape routes and non-escape routes; the danger points of automatic sliding, swing and revolving doors and how safety features such as finger guards and protection leaves can be used to reduce the risk of injury; and looks at revolving doors which are potentially the most dangerous and which received the most significant changes.


It is intended for Chartered members of RIBA but is also suitable for facilities managers, property managers and contractors.


Offering architects and specifiers invaluable advice and guidance, which contributes to their continuing professional development, this updated training seminar gives a better understanding of the standards and regulations surrounding pedestrian safety at automatic doors. The seminar is included in RIBA’s core curriculum: Design, Construction and Technology; Health, Safety and Wellbeing; and Legal, Regulatory and Statutory Compliance for the General Awareness knowledge level.


It can be presented in person or virtually via a variety of online platforms and at a time to suit, usually lunchtime but breakfast seminars or afternoon sessions can be accommodated.


To find out more or to book a CPD seminar, email or visit the cpd information page on under services.


National Specification Manager Richard Richardson-Derry said: “Automatic doors are a machine and just like any machine they can cause harm if not used properly, however we cannot expect pedestrians who may not be so familiar with them to be aware of the potential danger, therefore those of us in the industry need to take responsibility and ensure they are safe for all to use.


This CPD explains how to do just that and that if we all play our part we can limit or even eliminate accidents at pedestrian doors.”


RIBA Chartered Architects are obliged to undertake a minimum of 35 hours a week to maintain their competence. Visit the RIBA website for more information on those obligations.


Other presentations offered by GEZE UK, include Specifying, Installing and Maintaining Ironmongery for Fire Doors; Designing Effective Natural Heat and Smoke Ventilation; and Removing Barriers to Access.

For more information about GEZE UK’s comprehensive range of automatic and manual door closers

call 01543 443000 or visit



ROCKWOOL reinforces commitment to safer cladding and façades with creation of new role

ROCKWOOL, the UK’s leading manufacturer in sustainable, non-combustible stone wool insulation, is pleased to announce the promotion of Hedley Thompson to a newly-created position within the company.

The role – Recladding and Façades Sector Manager – is the first step in the creation of a new team which will focus on working with housing associations, local authorities and housebuilders on the remedial action needed to address fire safety and other issues for the thousands of buildings in the UK which fall short of required standards.

Hedley, already a ROCKWOOL veteran of eight years, is moving to the new position from his previous role as Technical Specification – Façades . Prior to joining ROCKWOOL in 2014, Hedley held a variety of technical and operations roles with the construction sector.


Hedley said: “In the first instance, I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with housing associations, local authorities and housebuilders to help them address the many legacy issues they are facing. Government and industry are both clearly calling for action, and ROCKWOOL can provide effective solutions with a range of non-combustible insulation and technical support.”



Mark Bungay, Commercial Director at ROCKWOOL, added: “There is an acute need for progress within the industry to focus on the many buildings within the UK that need remedial works, and to do so quickly. Hedley’s demonstrable experience – both at ROCKWOOL, and within the wider sector – sees him ideally placed to engage with authorities and businesses to help support them and drive change within the industry.”





Nick Cowley, CEO of Modular Group Investments, surveys recent developments in and around the UK housing market

– concluding that demand for quickly and efficiently-built homes is about to soar.




“Massive prefab factory to make one ‘modular’ home every HOUR in new era of flatpack housing”.


That was a headline in the Daily Mail back in June. Nothing all that exciting, you might say. But no matter what you think of the Daily Mail, when it starts covering a topic, you know it’s beginning to break through into the mainstream.

The news around UK modular hasn’t been overwhelmingly positive recently. The collapse of modular housebuilder Urban Splash understandably attracted a lot of attention – with some commentators using it to cast doubt on modular’s ability to replace conventional housebuilding, and suggest it might turn out to be a short-lived fad rather than the future of global construction.
But while what happened to Urban Splash is indisputably bad news for the sector – and particularly the suppliers who’ve been left millions of pounds out of pocket – it does nothing to change the fact that if we want to keep building houses at scale without destroying the planet, modular is the only solution.

Small steps in the right direction?

Britain’s tabloid press isn’t known for its subtlety or grasp of detail, but the Daily Mail explained the situation pretty accurately – given a worsening housing crisis, demand for affordable housing that’s only going to rise, an ageing construction workforce, ongoing supply chain disruption, and, above all, the need for Britain and countries around the world to hit net zero, we have to be building homes more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

The way to do that is for construction to switch from outdated brick-and-mortar, muddy field housebuilding and embrace precision offsite manufacturing instead.

While the government needs to be doing much more to support the transition to modular, there are growing signs its thinking the same.

Its £150m Help to Build scheme might be a drop in the ocean given the scale of the challenge ahead of us, but the core principle – letting people build their own homes with only a 5% deposit towards land and construction costs – is one that chimes perfectly with modular.

Want to help people quickly, efficiently and affordably build their own homes while avoiding spiralling mortgage costs? Modular is the answer.

The establishment of the government’s Modern Methods of Construction Task Force is another – very small – step in the right direction.

However, it’s in the decade to come that I think we’ll see modular start to rapidly take off in the UK. Net zero by 2050 sounds comfortingly far off – so far off, in fact, that ministers, developers and others can happily put the issue on the back burner for a while longer.

The government’s more recent pledge – to cut carbon emissions by nearly 80% between now and 2035 – is a different story. That requires deep, radical changes now. As that starts to dawn on businesses and sectors throughout the economy, they’re going to quickly realise the need for an alternative. Luckily for them, modular already exists, and is ready to go.

45% less carbon

The case for embracing modular is only going to get stronger as the years go on – as is the evidence for its climate-friendly credentials.

The last few months have also brought the publication of research by academics at the University of Cambridge and Edinburgh Napier University. The study examined the construction of two modular housing developments by HTA Design – the Ten Degrees Towers in Croydon, which at 44 and 38-storeys are the world’s tallest modular buildings to date, and The Valentine student accommodation block in Redbridge.
Across the two projects, there are 900 homes – and the academics concluded constructing them used 45% less carbon than if they’d been built using traditional methods, saving 28 tonnes of carbon in this one case alone.

The sooner the vast majority of British buildings are built this way the better.

For more information, call MGI on 0330 1340290 or  CLICK HERE to visit the website.


Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is increasingly recognised as a key solution to solving the UK’s housing crisis. Clive Feeney, LHC’s Interim Group Director, explains why.

In recent years MMC has carved a place in government policy, with Homes England placing it at the forefront of future housing development.
Dwellings built using these methods have great powers to expedite the levelling up agenda, thanks to speedy construction, use of low carbon building materials and methods, and the energy efficient, cheaper-to-heat homes produced.
The Homes England Affordable Homes programme mandates that 25% of new homes will be constructed using MMC, while the MMC taskforce, set up in early 2021, was allocated £10m funding to accelerate the adoption of offsite methods. This recognition of the value of MMC in homebuilding projects, coupled with investment to accelerate the adoption of offsite methods, is extremely welcome.

Fulfilling demand

Quality housing should be attainable for all UK citizens. But with more than one million people on social housing waiting lists, it is more important than ever to speed up the delivery of new homes to meet this demand.
A major benefit of using MMC is that not only is it possible to create better quality homes for people, but to build them more quickly than would be possible using traditional construction methods.
As is well-known, MMC-built homes are assembled in factory environments, allowing for more rigorous quality control. They are more energy efficient than traditional brick builds, with better insulation and designs created with sustainability and efficiency integral to them. Not only is this good for the environment and vital to helping us all reduce carbon emissions, but it is also significant in managing household utility spending – a crucial element in levelling up and in lessening the blow of rocketing energy bills.
One of the barriers to MMC being used in greater numbers has so far been the inability to scale up developments. But there may now be the catalyst, thanks to increasing routes to procure MMC through construction frameworks, together with July’s announcement from 2021-formed trade body, Make Modular, that it could reach 15,000 homes a year by 2024. This is in part due to a £500m investment in factory facilities since 2016 from its members, which include Ilke Homes, TopHat, Laing O’Rourke and Legal & General Modular Homes.

Reluctance to adopt

One of the key stumbling blocks is a hesitancy on the part of the social housing sector to adopt MMC until it becomes a tried and tested approach. Many registered providers would rather let the big commercial players make the mistakes from which smaller providers can learn, but can’t afford to make. This is an understandable but unfortunate impediment to progress which will no doubt be overcome in time as evidence of its benefits becomes clearer and it is recognised as a safe, progressive and cost-effective approach to housebuilding.
There is also an educational component to encouraging the adoption of MMC as standard. Requiring a significant shift in the way our homes are designed, procured and delivered, MMC is arguably the single biggest change to housing construction in many decades. The case is clear, but there’s much work to do to improve confidence in the sector and begin to see a wholehearted acceptance of MMC as the norm.

A brighter future

LHC has already supported the creation of more than 5,300 MMC-built social homes and with extra support provided by government, it is likely we will see more widespread uptake for the delivery of affordable homes built using MMC in the short term.
What will certainly help to drive the use of MMC is an aggregation of projects from housing providers across the country to allow greater standardisation in the supply chain. This means delivery can be quicker and cheaper, while facilitating the production of buildings of a higher quality.
At LHC we have already started on this journey and are connecting social housing providers across the UK and encouraging a constructive culture of collaboration. We are focused on identifying areas in which providers can aggregate and seek to approach their projects using MMC together, while sharing the burden of risk.
This approach has the potential to help scale the MMC market more quickly, enabling us to help UK residents reap the many benefits that a comfortable, safe home brings. It is also a vital ingredient in supporting the government’s levelling up agenda and addressing the inequality that has long surrounded our housing sector.




Article by Clive Feeney,

Interim Group Director at LHC Group