Housing is likely to be a key policy battleground for the next general election. The original 300,000 new homes target has never been hit and has been missed by at least a third year-on-year.

Some of the consistent solutions given to the UK’s housing crisis feature a combination of refurbishment and retrofit of existing homes, and new properties built using modern methods of construction (MMC).  However, big names in MMC have recently dropped away from the market, such as Legal & General, following a decision to close its modular housing factory, as well as Caledonian Modular and Urban Splash House.  Has this confidence in the ability of MMC to deliver considerable social and affordable housing been shaken?

There are positive stories to tell. These include the £70m investment raised by leading modular housebuilder TopHat to construct a new UK factory, and British Offsite’s move to a new £45m factory. Both companies plan to manufacture up to 4,000 new homes a year.

A dedicated framework solution
Underlining this confidence in the marketplace is LHC Procurement Group’s (LHC) recently announced £1.2bn Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) of New Homes (NH3) Framework. This construction framework for local authorities, social housing providers and other public bodies indicates a considerable level of confidence in MMC.

As the only framework provider with a dedicated MMC framework, LHC wants to help social housing providers in every part of the UK to deliver more homes much faster and with a lower environmental impact. Together with its MB2 framework, the NH3 framework covers the full range MMC categories.

Addressing a UK-wide need
Though the scale and speed in the increase of homes delivered by MMC are under question, when done well it has the power to reduce construction time by up to 50% – and the need for affordable and social housing shows no signs of slowing.  In England, statistics show there were 59,356 affordable homes delivered in 2021-22, compared to 7,644 for social rent. This is against a predicted need of 1.6 million households for social rented housing, according to National Housing Federation (NHF) statistics.  At the time of writing, the social housing stock in Wales stands at 237,395, and the latest statistics from Shelter Cymru show there are 67,000 households on housing waiting lists in the country.  Meanwhile, the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) in Scotland commits to delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 to help meet the need.

How NH3 facilitates MMC
NH3 is a vital addition to support more programmes to build low-carbon, modern homes from housing associations and local authorities across the country. It will adopt MMC and offsite techniques to produce energy efficient homes for the communities they serve.

It replaces the previous NH2 framework, which has so far enabled £93.5m-worth of offsite homes projects with a total forecast value of £277m.
Shaped by extensive engagement with housing contractors and manufacturers, NH3 has been developed to be a market-leading framework providing a wide range of systems and project delivery models to give public sector organisations the flexibility to deliver MMC projects the way they want.

Through NH3, LHC is looking to support the public sector to increase the use of modern methods of construction and deliver low and net zero-carbon homes with high levels of pre-manufactured value (PMV).