The environmental benefits that can be delivered by adopting modern methods of construction (MMC) in the delivery of building projects are not always properly understood by businesses, according to industry experts.

The gap in understanding exists across other non-costed benefits of MMC too, such as the social value of projects, the experts agreed at a recent series of roundtable discussions hosted by Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.Modern methods of construction (MMC) are widely seen as having the potential to transform the delivery of modern, affordable, high quality UK housing, but there remain some barriers to its widespread adoption.MMC is a general term used to describe a range of alternative off-site and on-site manufacturing techniques. There is a significant emerging market in MMC globally. As the housing and infrastructure construction sectors look to improve productivity and deliver on government infrastructure pledges while dealing with a lack of new entrants and an aging workforce, MMC is expected to become an increasingly important means of delivery.Iain Gilbey of Pinsent Masons said: “There was concern among participants that the benefits of using MMC as a safer, faster and more sustainable alternative to traditional build are generally not costed holistically. Social value and other elements such as net zero are also not included. For example, how appropriately sited manufacturing facilities can provide employment opportunities in areas located away from development sites and contribute to communities and the UK government’s levelling up agenda.”

“MMC projects often appear to be expensive by comparison to traditional build, as the design and engineering costs are not properly apportioned. There is often a duplication of costs and misaligned risk contingencies due to a lack of understanding about the process and this makes MMC appear to be more expensive,” he said.

Tom Johnson, also of Pinsent Masons, said the public sector is keen to be seen to be leading the way in using MMC in delivering housing and that there are examples of this work that the private sector could learn from to improve not only its understanding of the way in which MMC can deliver environmental benefits and other social value to their projects, but also opportunities for the private sector to work more collaboratively with the public sector to achieve this.

Showcasing the benefits of using MMC, such as social value and lower embedded carbon in products and processes could help to encourage further innovation within and investment from the private sector,” Johnson said.

Source: Pinsent Masons

 

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