Image: ABB Robotics  

Porsche Consulting and ABB Robotics team up in construction sector

Porsche Consulting has signed an agreement with ABB Robotics aimed at using innovative technology to improve the manufacturing process of modular housing.

In many countries around the world, the construction sector is struggling to meet the demand for new homes. This is not just due to regulations around meeting environmental performance, but also due to shortages of labour, challenges around supply chain and the sourcing of materials, and growing costs making projects less feasible.

In Germany for instance, the country is forecast to have housing supply shortages in 35 of its cities by 2030, while in the United Kingdom, most major cities already face an acute housing shortage according to government data.

Against this backdrop, builders are investing heavily in new ways of building homes, including modular construction methods and factory-based production (as opposed to building on sites).


This is where the partnership between Porsche Consulting and ABB Robotics comes in. Focused at the intersection of the two domains, the two companies believe their joint capabilities can improve the efficiency of housing manufacturing, while making the process safe and more sustainable.

“We think there is a clear opportunity to transform the way homes are built by automating the process of manufacturing modular components,” said Marc Segura, President of ABB Robotics. “Greater, more intelligent automation is the answer to widespread labor shortages, and this collaboration will boost productivity, allow greater customization, and enable more sustainable and efficient construction practices.”


Eberhard Weiblen, Chairman of Porsche Consulting, added: “In combining ABB’s leading robotic solutions and Porsche Consulting’s knowledge in planning and running state-of-the-art factories, we want to help transform the construction industry.”

“Highly automated factories for buildings can deliver higher quality and more affordable housing. Factories also provide a safer and more hospitable working environment, as construction workers account for around 30% of workplace injuries and are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident in comparison to other sectors.”

“Building in a factory setting also will yield green improvements through the reduction in material wastage,” Weiblen continued.

Originating in the automotive industry under the mantle of iconic luxury car brand Porsche, Porsche Consulting is a leading management and digital consulting firm that today works across sectors. The firm has offices in Germany, Italy, France, China, Brazil, and the United States.

Source: Consultancy eu


By Dean Fazackerley, Head of Technical Procurement, LHC Procurement Group

With the UK under pressure to deliver hundreds of thousands of new homes a year to address a chronic housing crisis, modern methods of construction (MMC) are increasingly recognised as a means to deliver quality housing at pace. Some reports indicate that MMC homes can be constructed at least 30% faster than traditional methods, and with up to a 25% reduction in costs.  MMC can also support the delivery of greener homes of a higher quality; components are less likely to be faulty because they are manufactured in controlled factory conditions, which can also lead to significant reductions in waste.

Despite this, the take-up of MMC has been modest owing to some trepidation within the sector. We believe this could be down to a misunderstanding of the barriers to entry into MMC, and complications with public sector procurement constraints. It can be seen as an expensive luxury, with many manufacturers working to their own designs, and complex to manage with new supply chains and stakeholders to work with. We have also heard the perception that public procurement constraints limit a local authority’s ability to develop the right relationships required for MMC.

However, through framework agreements, the contracting authorities can manage this process much more easily, with a single point of contact and access to technical expertise that aligns with all RIBA Plan of Work 2020 stages, from the initial stages through to design, construction, handover, and use.

Dedicated MMC frameworks

Earlier this year, our Modern Methods of Construction of New Homes (NH3) framework went live. It is the successor to NH2, which enabled £93.5m-worth of offsite homes projects with a total forecast value of £277m.
NH3 has been shaped by extensive engagement with housing contractors and manufacturers. It allows for a range of housing types, from low rise and medium/high rise, through to specialist accommodation such as care homes. The framework also provides for delivery of ‘room in the roof’ projects and adaptive pods.

Framework agreements like this allow relationships to flourish over a longer-term period and help set out an integrated supply chain. We see it as a vital tool to drive programmes for low-carbon, modern homes for housing associations and local authorities across the country


Quality assessments

Our commitment to becoming a Gold Standard framework provider means that as part of the development of NH3, we conducted an in-depth assessment of all potential suppliers.
This began with a questionnaire tailored depending on the workstream: 3D modular systems; 2D panelised systems; main contractors delivering MMC solutions; and groundworks and site preparation for MMC housing projects.

To evidence their capability to deliver MMC projects for the workstreams they had applied for, applicants to the framework were quizzed on everything from what training they provide staff with to how they demonstrate KPIs, and how they monitor customer feedback during projects. For consistency, two colleagues from our dedicated centre of technical excellence assessed each workstream.  Following this, we spent a day on site with each manufacturer to conduct in-depth factory assessments to assess their factory process.  Again, applicants were scored for the following:

Quality of products


Including structure, cladding, finish, and M&E installation, throughout the construction process from goods in down the production line to storage and dispatch.

Pre-manufactured value – what level of automation was used throughout.  Environmental and waste management – what measures were taken to minimise environmental impact and waste management. For example, how do they reduce energy usage on premises in terms of heating and lighting? How do they manage water usage during manufacturing and in the offices? Which materials are they using in manufacturing? And are there any EV charging points available to use?

Process management


We observed the quality control process for elements down the production lines, how products are marked up on the production line, the worksheets for products, and inspection and sign-off at each stage.   Quality of temporary weather protection during storage at the factory/on site and transportation.  Scores from the questionnaires and factory assessments were added together to calculate a final score, and those who scored the highest were awarded the highest allotted award.


Appetite for offsite

One thing that was evident during the assessment process was the sheer passion among industry professionals who want to champion and promote MMC. Fortunately, we are seeing local authorities beginning to look past the barriers to entry to see the value MMC can bring; our NH2 framework – the successor to NH3 – led to a pipeline of nearly 5,000 MMC homes across 133 projects. The government’s push towards MMC in its policies – especially the Affordable Homes Programme – should see this figure increase further.


CLICK HERE to find out more about LHC and its NH3 framework




TG Escapes provide timber frame, net-zero buildings offering a highly flexible, bespoke, turnkey, architectural design and build solution to a wide range of customers. Biophilic design principles are combined with sustainable materials and the latest technology to create buildings that are beautiful, ergonomic and inspiring for their occupants whilst offering exceptional environmental integrity. One of their more recent projects was commissioned by Brune Park Community School which is part of the Gosport and Fareham MAT.

The school needed to replace an old SCOLA building, which had poor insulation values and provided an uncomfortable learning environment. They selected TG Escapes to design a building providing flexible classroom space, including conferencing facilities to also act as a local community business hub. The building includes nine classrooms which can be opened up, breakout and office spaces and a large atrium.

GFM were keen on an operational net-zero solution and were impressed by TG Escapes understanding of their requirements. They also considered a volumetric and traditional build but the timescales didn’t suit. The 1001m2 building, completed in 26 weeks onsite, achieved an A+ EPC at minus 3 at a cost of £2.8m including demolition, temporary construction and external landscaping.

Kevin Rochester, Head of Estates at GFM says;

“The green aspect is a big plus for us now that we are trying to move into the world of sustainability. We also just felt in the commissioning process TGE were really enthusiastic about the project as a flagship building whereas the others seemed to see it as just another project. The other buildings were also fantastic but TGE had the eco thing and the chemistry was right.”

Andrew Cowlard, Associate Director at MEB Design acted on behalf of GFM as contract administrators;

“I found that it was very positive because in our role, a traditional job is a lot more involved. And because TGE offers a one-stop-shop solution with their own project management, they almost manage it all themselves so there was less involvement required from my side. Overall it was quite seamless.”

Kevin Rochester;

“I am delighted with our experience of TG Escapes, from the initial tender exercise right through to the successful completion of the build. They have maintained an exceptional standard of communication throughout the project which has facilitated a smooth collaboration. Their prompt and professional response to queries has significantly contributed to the efficacy of the entire process and we commend TG Escapes for their unwavering dedication to adhering to the project timeline.  Operating within a bustling school environment, the absence of conflicts between the contractors and the broader GFM School community is a testament to their ability to seamlessly integrate their operations. The meticulous attention to detail is evident and speaks to their commitment to excellence. Their team’s courteous and respectful demeanour has made collaboration a true pleasure.”

At the recent opening of the building, senior staff and board members commented;

“We have both single classrooms and open classrooms enabling us to teach in creative ways. The large amounts of glass and open plan spaces allow us to see the outside and bring that outside into the classroom which is always really positive for mental health and well-being.”
“It is also an eco-friendly building that sustains its temperature, provides a sustainable environment for learning and creates a space that people actually want to learn in.”
“This building is very special, it is a landmark in Gosport already and it will certainly be a focal point for Brune Park School.”

TG Escapes are PAGABO approved, STA and Construction Line gold members and have been recognised by several prestigious bodies, winning “Project of the Year” and “Public Sector Innovator of the Year” at the 2023 Modern Methods of Construction Awards, alongside “Contractor of the Year” at the 2021 Education Estates Awards. Customers score them 4.9 out of 5 from over 187 customer reviews.

For more information and case studies visit the website


Call 0800 917 7726


or CLICK HERE to email TG Escapes


Sheffield’s first ‘net zero in operation’ Council homes lifted into position

Over three days in August 2023, Sheffield’s first ‘net zero in operation’ council homes were safely lifted into position at the Duffield Place site in Woodseats.

Before being transported to site, the homes were built in a quality-controlled UK factory using a light gauge steel frame – a type of construction known as ‘volumetric off-site’ or ‘modular’.

Sheffield City Council is working with ZEDPODS Ltd to deliver six self-contained single person, high-quality homes. They have been built using ZEDPODS award winning low energy modular construction system.

The homes were designed by ZEDPODS team of in-house architects, using a ‘fabric-first’ approach – with walls, ceilings, windows, doors and roofs all super-insulated, achieving high levels of air tightness. The homes are all electric, fitted with heat pumps and rooftop mounted solar photovoltaic panels. This ensures that 100% of the in-use carbon emissions are offset, making the homes ‘Net Zero Operational Carbon’. This significantly reduces running costs for residents and contributes to the council’s ambition to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. In addition, a whole life cycle carbon assessment is being undertaken to identify all environmental impacts of the scheme over its lifetime.

The on-site works started in March 2023, at the same time the homes were being manufactured off-site. This reduces the construction time by up to 50% compared to a traditional construction project. It also reduces the impact and disruption of construction related activity in the local community. The new homes are expected to be completed during Winter 2023/24.

These homes are being delivered as part of the council’s Stock Increase Programme, with investment from both the council (including from the Local Renewable Energy Fund) and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

This project also delivers another first for the city – the Council’s first dedicated move-on homes. The homes will be managed by the Council, providing access to both an affordable home and individual support for people who have previously experienced homelessness. This support will help people to successfully move to a permanent home within two to three years.

As part of Changing Futures Sheffield, the Council has received valued input from people with lived experience of housing support services to develop this project.

Chair of Sheffield City Council’s Housing Committee Councillor Douglas Johnson said:

“I am delighted to see the council deliver its first ‘net zero in operation’ council homes – this is an important step for the city as we continue to find ways to address the net zero challenge and reduce the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on our residents. I look forward to visiting the new homes, and I will be particularly keen to talk to residents about their experience of living in these homes”.

“It’s also great to see this project deliver much needed supported housing on a council-owned brownfield site, whilst at the same time retaining and enhancing the adjacent green space through the planting of new trees”.

Tom Northway, Chairman at ZED PODS Ltd said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Sheffield City Council to bring their first modular zero-operation carbon housing scheme into fruition as part of a full turnkey design & build package”.

“These houses will be of the very best design in terms of environmental performance and internal specifications, providing ultra-low energy bills for residents. Our inhouse team have worked closely with the client in every stages – from concept design to planning, from offsite fabrication of modules to training their maintenance team before the modules were brought to the site”.

This will be ZEDPODS’ first project in the City and is a brilliant example of how working with the local community, council officers and supply chain partners we can unlock constrained sites and deliver much needed affordable homes”.

Source: Sheffield City Council

Modular housing has the potential to be a significant part of the solution to the housing crisis for several reasons. Firstly, the energy efficiency of modular homes is a major advantage. Factory engineering in the construction of modular homes allows for high levels of sustainability, resulting in reduced energy consumption. The energy savings offered by modular homes can lead to significant cost reductions for homeowners, making them more affordable to live in. These energy-efficient homes not only benefit the occupants by lowering their energy bills but also contribute to overall environmental sustainability.

Additionally, the adoption of modular housing can enhance productivity and efficiency in the construction industry. Traditional builders have been slow to embrace new construction methods, and the housing industry has been resistant to modernization. However, modular homes offer the potential for increased productivity and streamlined construction processes. By adopting factory-built housing, the construction industry can address the flaws in the housing market and work towards meeting the ambitious targets set by the government for new home construction.

Modular buildings also have a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional builds. The reduced number of deliveries to the construction site leads to fewer emissions and less disturbance and pollution for nearby residents. The environmentally friendly aspects of modular construction, including its lower carbon footprint and reduced waste generation, can drive demand for this construction approach. As residents become more aware of the benefits, they are likely to advocate for modular construction in their neighborhoods, which can encourage local authorities to prioritize the use of modular methods in delivering new homes.

Furthermore, the efficiency of modular home construction is evident in the significant reduction in material waste compared to traditional builds. Research has shown that modular construction generates 90% less material waste, making it a more sustainable option. This reduced waste not only benefits the environment but also contributes to cost savings and more efficient resource utilization.

While there may be some initial challenges and higher construction costs associated with modular housing, such as the need for established builders to adopt these methods, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment. The potential to address the housing crisis, achieve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and minimize waste makes modular housing a promising solution for the future.

The sudden closure of a £29M modular-built school in Essex due to structural issues is unlikely to be an indication of flaws with modular construction, the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) has said.

Only three years on from its completion, Sir Frederick Gibberd College in Harlow announced this week that its main building and sports hall block will be closed with immediate effect. The news came following a report from technical consultants from the Department for Education (DfE) that identified “structural irregularities”.

A statement from the school said:

“In April of this year, the DfE instructed a technical survey of the main school building which raised some queries about the structure. Following further analysis of the survey information, a report and risk assessment on the building structure was delivered to the DfE and shared with the trust late last week. Having regard to the reports received, the DfE is no longer able to verify the structural safety of the building, hence its advice to close.”

Staff and pupils from the school have also told ITV News that there were cracks, flooding and black mould in the school – particularly evident in the sports hall, which was not built modularly.

The school was built by contractor Caledonian Modular in 12 months between March 2020 and March 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

The main school building comprises 198 individual modules that were manufactured in a factory in the Midlands complete with concrete flooring, internal fit out and external cladding.

Watch a timelapse video of its construction:


Caledonian Modular, which had a place on the DfE’s £3bn modular framework, went into administration in March 2022 owing £20M to suppliers and clients.

Two Cornwall schools constructed by Caledonian Modular, Launceston Primary Academy and Newquay Primary Academy, were demolished in April this year. Both schools were only partially constructed before “several construction issues” were noticed by the DfE, leading to them being torn down.

Following surveys by the DfE, Haygrove School in Somerset, which was also constructed by Caledonian Modular, has been told that it cannot use its main building until further notice.

Regarding the closure of Sir Frederick Gibberd College, a DfE spokesperson said:

“We recognise that while these are isolated issues, they are very concerning to children and their families. We will be investigating what has happened and continue to work with schools and local authorities to minimise the impact of closures and ensure continuity of education for all pupils.”

DfE declined to share the technical report into the structural issues at Sir Frederick Gibberd College with NCE.

MPBA development director Richard Hipkiss told NCE:

“We don’t know any of the specifics except that it’s structurally unsafe – it could be to do with the construction method, it could be to do with the civils, it could be to do with how it was assembled.”

Nonetheless, Hipkiss placed the blame on Caledonian Modular. “I don’t think this story is a reflection of the construction methodology, but potentially of the constructor,” he said.

He highlighted the fact that the company had not become a member of the MPBA even though it was “approached several times”.

“We have a code of conduct to be a member,” Hipkiss said. “The MPBA promotes best practice, the development of standards, the competence of people. We do scrutinise members, particularly manufacturing members, when they apply – but I can confirm that Caledonian never applied for membership.”

Moreover, Hipkiss believes that the failure of Sir Frederick Gibberd College should not divert the public sector away from modular construction. Since 2021, the government has committed to rebuilding 400 schools around the country, with the latest order of 239 coming in December 2022. Hipkiss believes that modern methods of construction and volumetric modular construction (such as that seen on Sir Frederick Gibberd College) are essential to meet this demand.

He believes that Caledonian Modular’s failures are a “one-off situation” that is unlikely to be repeated. “It’s not a reflection on MPBA membership,” he said. “I could name a dozen of our manufacturers that have been operating successfully without issue since the 1950s.

“There are problems with traditional construction methods every now and again, as with any construction method. There are also many modular schools out there that are award winning and meet the client brief.”

Anglia Ruskin University professor of sustainable construction methods Saul Humphrey says that quality control might have been an issue for Caledonian Modular, particularly pertaining to cash flow issues.

“As with anything that’s innovative or less tested, perhaps with less mature supply chains, quality control is often compounded when there’s an issue regarding cash flow or solvency,” he said. “Knowing what happened next with Caledonian Modular and its insolvency, one wonders if there could have been some link to cash viability and paying of supply chain.”

“Often with these offsite modular businesses, they’ve spent so much setting up offsite factorires that they can’t do enough to recover that capital investment.”

Humphrey believes that the reports of cracks and mould leads to questions of structural integrity in the design, which in turn suggests a systemic failure with the construction company’s methodologies – especially as two of its other schools have also been condemned.

“I think there can sometimes be a focus with 3D modular companies to be very good at building the box but sometimes less experience at connecting modules together in a live site environment and integrating them with the appropriate mechanical and electrical systems, components and structures,” he said. “One wonders if there’s been quite enough time spent on connections, junctions, avoiding interstitial condensation, ensuring the right ventilation strategies.”

He points out the cracks in the sports hall as evidence of the contractor’s inexperience.

“The sports hall was the only part that wasn’t 3D modular, it looks like a gauge steel frame construction, but that also appears to have structural defects,” he said. “Again you’ve got a modular company doing something they may not be particularly experienced in.”

Unlike the MPBA, Humphrey believes that the DfE should take time to reconsider the modular approach to school building.

“I think it should pause, reflect and immediately take expert soundings to find the cause on each of these problems,” he said. “It could just be a Caledonian problem, not a modern methods of construction problem, but equally you couldn’t justify continuing if there is a question over the methodology.

“And just imagine all that embodied carbon sitting in that unused building. In a world facing the reality of climate change, we shouldn’t be building things twice.”

Source: New Civil Engineer

Maui Wildfire Burns Down Barriers To Prefab Home Building

Reversing tradition, Hawaii’s most powerful trade union is backing the idea to allow modular homes in Hawaii.

Houses made of pre-cut lumber that can be shipped to Hawaii and built quickly. Permanent modular homes that can be literally plugged into utility infrastructure on prepared sites. Cafes, shops and food courts created out of modified shipping containers.

These are the sorts of things that could help rebuild Lahaina after the devastation of the August 8 wildfires that destroyed approximately 2,200 buildings.

In a departure from a long-standing tradition driven by Hawaii’s powerful construction industry, Governor Josh Green said:

‘Modular and prefabricated housing will play a role in creating homes quickly to serve displaced residents and the state’s most influential construction trade union is in agreement.’

“The answer’s yes,” Green said, when asked whether homes or panels built off-site and even off-island could be part of the mix to rebuild Lahaina.

“I don’t think it’s the answer for all things,” he added. “I don’t think it’s what everybody wants all the time. But I’m sure there are individuals out there now who are suffering terrible loss who would love to have a small house that could be put up quickly.”

Andrew Pereira, director of public affairs for the Pacific Resource Partnership, confirmed the organization is on board. Pereira said:

‘It is vital to build new homes quickly so island residents aren’t forced to leave — and possibly never return — for lack of housing.

PRP’s buy-in is important. The non-profit, which represents the 6,000-member Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters and 240 general contractors, has also been one of Green’s major political supporters.

PRP has long opposed pre-made construction because of concerns developers using the products would undercut Hawaii’s construction industry – one of the few sectors that provides a consistent living wage in an economy dominated by tourism.

Maui’s tragedy has changed everything. We need to get medium-term and longer-term housing for people impacted by the tragedy, we don’t want to see Lahaina residents flee to the mainland, that’s the last thing we want to see.” Said Pereira

Green also feels the Maui fires could mark a new era.

“I think it’s safe and fair to say that because of the crisis in Maui everyone wants whatever solution is available to, as quickly as possible and to build housing that is going to provide dignity to people who live in it, even if it’s just for a couple of years,” he said.

“Whatever way we can do that we should,” he said. “I think this is probably the beginning of an era where we spend some of our energy on modular housing.”

Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Home Builders Association and Modular Building Institute in the USA, said:

‘For a long time, homes built off construction sites involved mostly mobile homes, often used as temporary housing, which could be moved from place to place.  Now, the broad category of “off-site construction” includes tiny homes, shipping-container homes and modular houses, which are similar to mobile homes but built to higher standards and designed to be permanent structures. All of these can be built elsewhere and moved to a prepared site.’

There are also pre-cut houses that can be made in a factory elsewhere, sent to Hawaii by shipping container and constructed on site.

A common aspect, Hardiman said, is that there’s a systemic process for constructing buildings and components off site.

Pereira says PRP is looking at the pre-cut home model. A key will be finding partners that can provide enough pre-cut homes to serve Lahaina’s needs.

“It really comes down to a question of scalability,” he said.

Pereira said PRP is still talking to purveyors and prefabricated homes to determine which will work best for the industry.

Costs Are Not Always Lower

One of the biggest advantages is the speed in which prefabricated and modular homes can be built, said Steve Glenn, founder and director of Plant Prefab in Los Angeles. Such houses can be built faster because some construction can be going on off site at the same time as site work. The result can cut construction time by half, which can mean a lot more homes built in less time.

Cost is another consideration. Construction costs in Hawaii are substantial. Construction costs for a union-built single-family home can be above $500 per square foot, said R.J. Martin an Oahu developer who has developed single-family homes in Nanakuli.

Vamsi Kumar Kotla, chief executive of ReMo Homes in Sherman Oaks, California, said the company could build a 1,200-square-foot modular home for $300,000, or $250 a square foot. The homes include plumbing and electrical wiring and can simply be delivered and installed on prepared sites. Kotla acknowledged that the price does not include shipping from California, which could drive up the cost significantly.

The wildfire destroyed some 2,200 structures in Lahaina, some 85% of them homes. Will construction crews be able to rebuild fast enough to keep residents from fleeing the islands because of a lack of housing?

It’s not just homes that could be replaced using modular methods.

UrbanBloc of San Leandro, California, converts standard shipping containers into small commercial buildings to use for restaurants, coffee shops and retail spaces.  A standard 40-foot shipping container could be converted into a space for a coffee a small restaurant complete with kitchen equipment.

Even if the container buildings aren’t permanent fixtures in Lahaina, they could be stood up quickly to serve the construction workers and others who are rebuilding Lahaina and later transported somewhere else.


Construction Workers Also Will Need Housing

Which of these solutions makes its way to Hawaii in end might depend on PRP. Union carpenter jobs pay a rare living wage in Hawaii. Pereira said it’s important that modular home developers, who essentially lower costs by building houses in factories elsewhere, do not create an unfair playing field for the local workers.

Pereira added

‘Maui will need hundreds or thousands of new homes, not just for residents but also for an army of construction workers. And many of them will come from PRP, we are going to be there to provide the expert labour that’s needed to rebuild Lahaina,”

Source: Civil Beat

Over 250 delegates from across the offsite sector gathered at Croke Park, Dublin for the much-anticipated MMC Ireland National Conference. The inaugural event, hosted in partnership with MMC Ireland and Explore Offsite, was hailed a complete success, with exhibition space and delegate tickets selling out.


Showcasing the best in modern methods of construction from Ireland, the event hosted a packed schedule of talks, presentations and case studies. Chairing the conference was Paul Tierney, interim CEO for MMC Ireland who welcomed guests to the event. Vaughan Buckley, CEO of Volumetric Building Companies, delivered the keynote speech emphasising the global opportunities for growth and development in the MMC sector.


During both the morning and afternoon sessions, panel discussions gave further insight into some of the key event themes and topics. Industry experts came together to talk about the opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Under the banner of ‘Digital Platforms Leading the Way in MMC’ and ‘MMC, A Driver for Increased Output in the Housing Sector’ – the expert panel discussions offered invaluable insights and were well received by delegates.


Following the digital platforms panel, Amy Marks, VP of Enterprise Transformation Practice -Autodesk, gave the afternoon keynote presentation underlining the importance of innovation and digital transformation within the MMC industry.


Alongside the packed speaker schedule, a dedicated exhibition area offered the opportunity to network and discover the latest product innovations. Speakers at the event included representatives from MJH Structural Engineers, Evolusion Innovation, the Steel Construction Institute (SCI), Barratt Developments and the Irish Green Building Council, amongst many others.


MMC Ireland is a leading representative body established to promote and drive the growing MMC sector. Members include construction professionals, manufacturers, consultants and suppliers. The conference was a landmark moment for the group, whose aim is to bring together the combined expertise of all its members to provide guidance, support and drive growth for the industry.


Paul Tierney said:

“MMC Ireland, as an organisation, maybe in its infancy, but the resounding success of the first conference has showcased the deep expertise and technical knowledge that exists across the industry and our members. As we work to champion the benefits of offsite construction, we welcome the robust commitment to increasing the adoption of offsite and other modern methods of construction shown by the sector and government and look forward to working to progress further than ever.”

To learn more about MMC Ireland and the national conference


or to find out about becoming a member, please CLICK HERE



Modular building market leader Portakabin has added three new leaders to its executive team as the company bolsters its dominant position in the offsite industry.

With the recent acquisition of healthcare specialist Darwin Group, Portakabin is making serious inroads in asserting pressure on other players in the modular market. With 283,900m2 of manufacturing space across three sites, and over 80 customer locations across Europe, it remains the largest supplier of modular buildings in the UK alone.

Dan Ibbetson, CEO comments: “There are many elements required to not only make a business successful but to also make it a great place to work; a clearly defined strategy, excellent governance and amazing people certainly helps. Gavin, Simon and Kim are the final pieces in the puzzle for us and I’m incredibly excited to see where they’re going to take us.”

Kim Panton joined in August 2022 as People and Culture Director from Rolls-Royce where she has spent the past 20+ years working with one of the world’s most reputable brands. Her strategic HR skillset has ranged across the group’s business units and brings considerable experience in people and organisational development.

Kim comments: “Portakabin is a fantastic business with brilliant people and represents an exciting new challenge for me. I’m delighted to have joined the team and I’m looking forward to supporting the organisation as it grows and develops.”

Simon Thomson joined in January 2023 as Company Secretary and General Counsel from Aggreko and has quickly become a strategic partner to stakeholders both within the legal function and throughout the wider organisation.

Simon comments: “I’m incredibly proud to be part of this organisation; it has a fantastic heritage, and our people strike the right balance between being commercially minded and customer focused. I’m looking forward to realising the outstanding potential for future growth and success with Portakabin.”

Gavin Urwin joined in March 2023 as Chief Financial Officer from Smart Metering Systems PLC (SMS) and brings considerable experience of working within both PLC and family-owned businesses along with his ability to manage multiple stakeholder groups.

Gavin comments: “There’s never been a better time to join a market leading brand name such as Portakabin. It’s a growing and ambitious business, both in the UK and Europe, has fantastic people working for it and I’m delighted to be part of its future.”



Modular construction pioneer Wernick Buildings recently completed a new healthcare clinic located in Greater London.

Due to the closure of the previous three-story Roehampton building on site, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was looking for a new purpose-built unit to house its growing outpatient services for the Gynaecology, Audiology and Ear, Nose and Throat departments.

After a discussion with the Wernick Buildings team, it was decided that two separate modular healthcare buildings onsite would offer the most timely and cost-effective solution to accommodate all three hospital departments.
The first building delivered by Wernick was the Gynaecology Outpatient Clinic (Willow Building.)  Through a competitive tender process, Wernick Buildings presented a full turnkey solution, which included a complete groundworks package and service connection.

Designed for outpatient use, the two-storey BREEAM-rated block offers several HTN/HBN-compliant amenities including consultation areas, procedure and recovery rooms, staff offices, changing facilities and accessible toilets. The reception and waiting area feature an open floor plan, creating a spacious welcome area for patients.

The building is comprised of 30 modules and showcases sleek cladding, PV panels, and a state-of-the-art plant room on the second storey.

Wernick worked closely with ADP Architecture during the design process. Clinic nurses, doctors and other staff were also consulted in the planning process, assuring their specific needs and requests were met.
Clinical Director Meena Shankar remarked on the speed and usefulness of the new clinic.

“The building was ready to use very quickly and is very modern and comfortable,” said Meena. “We were excited about being involved with the design team from the beginning to get exactly what we wanted.”

The clinic features a modern interior with a cool green colour pallet. Its interior was designed to help provide a calming environment for patients who may be undergoing difficult procedures. The layout boasts a convenient one-way traffic system to support improved infection control measures highlighted through COVID and includes a patient-sensitive discrete exit.

Wernick was also able to provide two temporary modular office buildings to house other displaced departments immediately following the closure of Roehampton Wing.

The building modules were constructed off-site, which allowed for minimal disruption and noise pollution to the surrounding area.

Crews overcame several challenges when transporting and installing the modules into place on the property. The building site was landlocked by three roads and located at the front of the hospital entrance near an Ambulance & Emergency facility. Crane operatives had to take special care to manoeuvre the modules in a dense area surrounded by other buildings.

A second clinic (Aspen Building) housing the Audiology and Ear, Nose and Throat departments was completed in Spring 2023.

Wernick Buildings has decades of experience in delivering modular solutions in the healthcare sector and is highly skilled at working around live clinical building settings. Design, manufacture and site teams are located in-house, providing you with a single point of contact for peace of mind throughout the project. Wernick’s flexible modular systems provide cost efficiency, shorter and more reliable programmes, and improved quality and sustainability.
Offsite construction methods are attractive to NHS trusts as they can dramatically reduce build programmes. Facilities can be operational in a matter of months, compared to years for many traditional build projects. They also reduce onsite disruption and associated health and safety risks.

The Wernick building system is designed to deliver compliant hospital wards and clinical spaces via standardisation with compliancy requirements being applied to building systems. This streamlines the construction process by incorporating pre-approved designs.

Aside from integrating standard NHS specifications, modular construction can offer clients the option to create bespoke building designs tailored to their specific requirements.