Affordable Modular Offsite MMC

Modern Methods of Construction MMC

Offsite Hybrid Modular Construction

The term “modern methods of construction (mmc)” had a very specific meaning within the social housing sector when the Government was attempting to increase the take-up of non-conventional forms during the early years of this century. It has since been widely adopted as a convenient if misleading shorthand for all forms of non-conventional construction. It is more accurate to use terminology such as offsite, manufactured or non-traditional construction when describing such methods.

Offsite MMC

The same is true in all sectors of UK construction outside the mainstream housing market. For many years, commercial organisations, such as hotel chains, fast-food outlets and providers of student accommodation, have utilised off-site methods, such as modular units and light gauge steel framing, for new-build units. Institutional investors are now adopting the same methods as they move into the large-scale provision of rented accommodation. Even self-builders rarely use traditional construction, with insulated concrete formwork (ICF) being particularly popular due to the ease of managing the lightweight components on site. Many speculative developers of infill sites are finding Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) a convenient way to meet more stringent regulatory requirements, as well as reduce construction time on site.

The advantages of offsite methods for providers are manifold:


  • Quality can be more easily monitored and managed in a factory environment than on site.
  • Workforce training and management is easier.
  • The shorter time on site for erection means less exposure to the elements, with commensurate lower risk of delays and reduced health and safety risk.
  • There is less inconvenience for neighbours and clients benefit from receiving completed buildings more quickly.
  • Offsite Construction MMC

    Identification


    For professional surveyors and valuers the increasing range of construction types poses problems of identification and assessment. Non-traditional construction must be recognised even when hidden by a conventional skin.

    One of the sessions at our forthcoming Residential Property Conference will address this issue and provide pointers about how surveyors and valuers can approach the identification process. Once the method of construction has been identified, the problem facing the surveyor is analysing and reporting on the underlying structure for the purpose required by the client. This can frequently pose significant technical challenges.

    If the property has the benefit of cover under the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS), which we initiated for the very purpose of assisting our professionals, the inspecting surveyor can be reassured that both the construction method and the company of the underlying provider have both been subject a rigorous assessment process to prior to and during the course of construction.

    Modern Methods of Construction MMC

    Rigorous assessment

    The BOPAS assessment ensures that the construction system itself meets lenders’ technical standards for mortgage purposes, eliminating the need for an “in principle” technical assessment by valuers and allowing them to concentrate on the valuation and the other important aspects of the mortgage assessment. Online access to the BOPAS database will provide ample technical information for most purposes with details right down to individual plot level.

    Additionally, properties with BOPAS cover benefit from defects insurance during the first ten or twelve years post-completion. Other warranty schemes will provide some level of cover, but at present none offer the same level of information and support for inspecting surveyors and valuers.