Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) have been a recurring topic for many years. At last weeks Conservative Party Conference, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, once again referenced MMC but what exactly are they and are they being employed in today’s construction projects?
The answer to the last question is not really! Recent research by the NHBC Foundation found that whilst many had tried or considered the use of MMC techniques, the majority of organisations considered themselves ‘late adopters’ or ‘followers’ not ‘market leaders’.
So what are MMC? The National Audit Office (NAO) considers modern methods of construction include:
- Panellised units produced in a factory and assembled on-site to produce a three dimensional structure.
- Volumetric construction to produce three-dimensional modular units in controlled factory conditions prior to transport to site.
- Hybrid techniques that combine both panellised and volumetric approaches.
- Floor or roof cassettes, pre-cast concrete foundation assemblies, pre-formed wiring looms,mechanical engineering composites and innovative techniques such as tunnel form or thin-joint block work.
So we decided to review what types of MMC we have employed on our construction projects. The results where a lot more encouraging than those from the NHBC;
- Panellised units – we used this technique on a series of timber framed school buildings. The wall panels and floor cassettes arrive from the factory after being constructed in controlled conditions and they are then erected and fixed into place.
- Volumetric construction – we have used this method on a number of demountable/volumetric construction projects, again mainly on education projects. The buildings arrive in sections and are bolted together. They come complete with roofing materials, wall finishes and sometimes floor finishes already manufactured.
- Hybrid techniques – we have joined volumetric buildings to existing structures and used panelised structures to form the ‘bridge’ between the buildings
- Floor or roof cassettes – we have used this method in a range of timber frame construction where the building comes as a ‘flat’ pack
- Mechanical engineering composites – we have used offsite shower pods in changing and shower facilities manufactured by Taplanes. The units arrive on site pre-plumbed and ready to be installed
- Innovative techniques – we have used ‘brick slip panels’ – this is where sheets of brick slips (thin cut sections of bricks which when joined together look like ‘real’ brickwork) are used as a rain screen cladding over demountable or volumetric structures.
Overall we would classify ourselves as ‘early adopters’ of modern methods of construction and are always looking to include these techniques to; speed up construction delivery, improve costs, increase quality and achieve higher levels of BREEAM sustainable ratings.
To discuss your next MMC efficient construction project, please contact us here.