AIMCH housebuilding innovation project publishes encouraging results for advanced MMC 

 Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH), the innovation consortium set up to transform the housebuilding sector, has today published its second-year progress report showing encouraging results and key learnings for the sector.  AIMCH is a three-year research & development project aiming to help tackle the UK housing crisis by building new homes faster, to higher quality and more cost effectively than masonry methods using panelised MMC systems.

This latest report to be published by AIMCH highlights several key learnings for the industry across several important and innovative areas. One of the highlights being able to achieve a weather tight, insulated and secure superstructure in just one day. All advanced panelised MMC systems and lean construction solutions trialled so far have been successful and early analysis is recognising the benefits of these advanced panelised MMC systems with the hard data to back it up.

 

Other important outputs of the project in the last year include the completion of several studies and the publication of guides for industry:

  • Design standardisation and the development of product families
  • Guide to creating a BIM housing manual
  • Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA)
  • Designing a future factory

 

Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH Project Director and Stewart Milne Group Director of Product Development, said: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the project team has worked hard to build momentum and has delivered some important outputs which confirm panelised modern methods of construction (MMC) as a very real and viable alternative to masonry, over the final year, we hope to take this to a new level.”

 

Mark Farmer, MMC expert and new AIMCH Chair, said: “Mainstreaming all categories of MMC is more important than ever.  In a post-Covid world the sector needs to transform productivity, improve quality as well as improving the welfare of its workforce.  We also need to find more sustainable ways of building in order to achieve a net zero-carbon built environment.

 

“The AIMCH project has already made great progress across a number of fronts which will better enable greater MMC adoption across all parts of industry including   SME’s. The work done on design standardisation, panelised and sub-assembly system applications, productivity and carbon measurement and manufacturing process optimisation are all rich sources of knowledge for others to learn from and use.”

A collaboration between Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments, L&Q, Forster Group, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), the project compares conventional and panelised MMC construction methods on actual building sites, and the impact scaling up panelised modern methods of construction (MMC) will have on the housebuilding industry.

The three-year AIMCH project, which has been live since early 2019, has been trialling new digital design tools, manufacturing advancements, and improved near-to-market offsite panelised MMC systems, using lean site processes on live housing projects over the past two years.

The project recognises the challenges of MMC manufacturing and through engagement with MTC, lead manufacturing partner, has conducted advanced manufacturing and digital business systems studies.  These include down selection process for a integrated ERP system for MMC manufacturing and installation, along with detailed proof of concept studies into specific manufacturing areas, where using robotics and advanced automation can improve MMC manufacturing output, productivity, quality and lower costs, including the design of future factories using mathematical models, dynamic simulation and 3D technology to improve investment decisions.

With decarbonisation of the built environment a priority, the project embarked on a study to measure and profile Embodied Carbon and Whole Life Costing in the use of MMC systems across four housing types to current and near zero carbon standards.  A strategy for a proof of concept, near zero carbon home trial was also developed with Barratt Developments.

The project also recognises the importance of SMEs and through Forster Group, roofing specialist, has helped accelerate their roofing technology, through collaborative learning and proof of concept trials with MTC and the AIMCH developers. Dissemination is important and provided by CSIC including presenting at several key industry events, a dedicated industry stakeholder group, project website and social media.

The goal of the project is to support the sector by delivering 120,000 homes for the same or less cost than traditional methods and built 30% quicker. The project has potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK each year.

In the project’s final year, a number of outputs and learnings for the sector will be completed and shared on the AIMCH website as well as at industry events, with final findings published in March 2022

 

You can read the full report here

The £7.6m community assessment unit will deliver a new type of healthcare and is designed to help reduce emergency admissions. It will also ensure older patients can return home more quickly and with an appropriate care plan in place.

The handover marks the completion of the project delivered by Shrewsbury-based firm Darwin Group, specialists in offsite construction.

Despite the operational challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has continued to work on this project which will be managed by the its community services division, supported by health partners across the borough.

The new community assessment unit

This major investment will see the introduction of 21 new community beds, including nine single rooms, with a further six assessment chairs.

It comes as the community team has developed new ways of working which focus on encouraging patient enablement and independence.

Silas Nicholls, chief executive of WWL, said: “The handover is an important milestone for the project to deliver what will be a vital component in our ability to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“The community assessment unit will help ease the pressure on admissions, particularly in the winter months, and meet the needs of our ageing population in terms of providing additional support for those patients where hospital admission can be avoided and the appropriate care plan for recovery in their own home or residential setting.

“It has been an immense task to deal with the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, but our community, support staff and Darwin Group have shown incredible commitment and resilience to reach this stage and we are delighted to formally take possession of the unit.”

Alan Davidson, healthcare director at Darwin Group, said: “We are proud to have been able to work with the trust and to deliver such high-quality ward accommodation. Not only will this provide much-needed additional patient accommodation and storage space for the whole site, but we have also future-proofed the building so it can be added to vertically if needed, giving the trust a potential solution to address future service demand.

“Our site team’s management of health and safety and our use of modern methods of construction have allowed us to work without interruption and deliver the project during national lockdowns, while meeting social distancing requirements and industry best practice. We are really pleased at how our team has pulled together to complete this project and overcome all challenges ensuring the safety of each other and everybody involved with the project.”

Philip Bliss, divisional medical director for community services, added: “The community assessment unit is a new venture for WWL. It is the first purpose-built, community-focused unit on the RAEI site, dedicated to the holistic assessment and treatment for some of the more frail and elderly patients coming through our services.

“It is very much focused on a reablement approach, to allow patients to return to their own home environment in a safe and supported manner. This will enable patients to make the most of their potential to continue to live an independent and fulfilling life.”

The unit is on the site of the former pathology lab and will have links physically and operationally to the hospital. It will be officially opened next month.

After declaring the UK government’s intention to deliver ‘Project Speed’, including a £3billion capital investment into the NHS, healthcare construction company MTX, welcomed the Prime Minister to their latest £12million, 72 bed, fast-track ward project at Hereford County Hospital.

The Prime Minister visited the construction site, keen to see for himself the, now close to completion, ward project aimed to deliver the NHS a total of 72 extra beds across 3 state-of-the-art wards, all in just 11 months.
All part of the government initiative to ‘to build better, to build greener, to build faster’ the new ward extension is being delivered using MTX’s fast-track construction methods that reduce the build time by up to 50%.
Talking on the PM’s twitter feed whilst on site, Boris described the project as “the beginnings of a new series of wards for Hereford County Hospital…. The first of the 20 new hospital upgrades that this government has embarked on….The beginning of a record programme of investment in our NHS’.

 

David Hartley, Managing Director of MTX – “The site team were excited to welcome the PM to our latest project and talk him through the clear benefits of these rapid construction methods. For this project, the building is largely built off-site in a factory, then transported and craned into position. This not only means we can deliver buildings much faster, but we can produce 60% less waste, ensure safer construction sites and all to the same standard and quality as a traditionally built hospital’.
With the Government’s ‘Project Speed’ well underway, described as “the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the second world war”, there is also attempts to offset the economic impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the MTX offsite method of construction is leading the way to delivering on Boris’s promises.
MTX are a privately owned, Cheshire based, Healthcare Construction company specialising in the use of innovative, modern methods of construction to deliver fast-track building projects, throughout the UK. With more than 30 years healthcare experience, MTX believe using fast-track methods of construction is the best way to minimise the time spent on site, causing less noise and disruption, whilst still delivering a high quality, energy efficient solution.

www.mtxcontracts.co.uk

A Newry bathroom manufacturer has won a £3m contract with a London developer.

Connex Offsite, which specialises in high-end modular bathroom pods, said it will supply luxury modular bathroom pods to London property developer Mount Anvil for the firm’s Royal Eden Docks development in the east of the city.

The contract comes as Connex ramps up its promotion throughout the UK to target new business.

In the next two months, the firm will recruit staff for roles including joiners, operations managers, designers, general labourers and tilers, to meet their rapidly growing order book.

Brendan Doherty, managing director of Connex Offsite, said: “We have seen huge growth in recent months and I believe the Covid-19 crisis has been the catalyst for a shift to modular construction. Off-site manufacturing is being embraced by the industry because of the restrictions on the level of labour on site.

“Because our pods are completely finished in a controlled environment, shrink-wrapped on the factory floor and shipped to the construction site, we are reducing the numbers of trades required on site.

“We are delighted to be working with Mount Anvil, one of the leading property developers in London, with 30 years of construction history in the city under their belts.

“Mount Anvil recognised the high quality of our pods and standard of service from recent major projects we have delivered in central London and decided our product was a perfect fit.”

Connex moves into a new £2.5m facility in August.

 

Source: Belfast Telegraph