Housebuilders embrace modern methods of construction

According to NHBC’s report, Modern methods of construction: views from the industry, one of the key attractions to MMC is the perceived ability to build more quickly and evidence that MMC can lead to a reduction in costs.

Key findings include:

  • Of the large and medium-sized house builders and housing associations surveyed, only two said they had not used or considered at least one form of MMC in the last 3 years;
  • The most used methods are sub-assemblies and components, installed by about three-quarters of the house builders and just under half of the housing associations in 2015. Panelised systems, such as timber and steel frame are the next most used MMC type;
  • Few have used full volumetric construction or pods. However, many organisations are considering them for future use;
  • The majority of organisations surveyed consider themselves to be ‘late adopters’ or ‘followers’ of volumetric construction, pod and panelised forms of MMC – rather than ‘market leaders’;
  • One of the key attractions driving the use of MMC is the perceived ability to build more quickly, potentially at lower cost.

Despite reservations expressed by some, and the lower enthusiasm in the bulk of the industry for the more radical and far reaching manifestations of MMC, house builders have still been making extensive use of a variety of innovative approaches. Most of those surveyed expect the role of MMC to grow (45%) or remain static (51%) over the next 3 years.


Neil Smith, Head of Research and Innovation at NHBC said, “Attention has focused on modern methods of construction many times since the Second World War as a means of boosting housing output and improving the quality of new homes.
“This report shows the high hopes invested in MMC, as a means of delivering transformational change to the house-building industry, have not yet been realised on the scale anticipated by its champions. It also illustrates that although cautious about over- commitment, the industry is nevertheless embracing MMC in many guises, and stands ready to explore new options and innovations.”
Mike Quinton, NHBC Chief Executive said, “It’s clear that MMC has an increasing role to play in boosting growth in UK house building. NHBC’s technical teams have decades of experience of working with the industry and we have already provided warranties for a variety of innovative approaches. We are keen to contribute our expertise to developing new ways of building quality new homes to the highest standards.”

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