Modern Methods of Construction- is it right for you?

9th February 2021

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MMC - window module on site installation

Modern Methods of Construction are transforming the way we build in the UK. Focusing on taking the construction process off site, from pods to panels, factory-built elements are delivered to site for assembly, just like Lego. At MacConvilles many of our clients are choosing the MMC option for their housing and commercial developments, attracted by the advantages this build solution offers. Could MMC be right for you and your next project?

The construction industry has been using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), for some time now and the marketplace has seen an increase in companies offering a MMC build solution and the options and types of MMC available.  From timber frames to whole wall panels, (with or without windows and insulation), external cladding to pods and modules (that could be anything from a bathroom to half a house) the possibilities are mind boggling.

Offering a range of benefits such as faster build programmes, reduced costs and a considerable reduction in building materials waste, not to mention improvements in construction health & safety and site efficiency, MMC also goes some way to mitigating the skills shortage currently gripping the UK construction sector.

The Potential Benefits of MMC:

  •  Off-site assembly means quicker erection times on-site and weather tight construction achieved much faster
  • Environmental benefits evidence suggests that construction waste and site CO2 emissions (factory CO2 still to be included but assumed as less) can be significantly reduced. The less site set up requirements in traffic flow, water consumption etc. can also help minimise the impact on the local area during construction.
  • Reduction in site related accidents
  • Reduced risks of local pollution incidents
  • Reduced risks of disturbance to neighbours.
  • Decreased numbers and periods of time during which there are vehicle movements on and around siteï
  • Potential higher standards of quality as work completed in factory conditions

Increasing in popularity across the globe on all types of projects, domestic or commercial from hospitals to hotels, schools to shopping malls, it looks like MMC is here to stay however, this building solution is not without pitfalls.

How to avoid the pitfalls.

Assemble your dream Project Team

The key to success is all in the planning stages- Assemble your dream Project Team well before you get to site and make sure they understand your business needs and your end goal.  MMC takes advantage of standardised construction. Issues will arise when you adapt them to complex architectural designs and it is important to be mindful of this throughout the design phase. Your project team will work with you to interpret your ideas and create a design robust to last minute changes which are always best avoided on MMC projects.  Your Surveyor/Project Manager and Architect, are ideally placed to make sure designs and layout fill the brief and translate seamlessly to site to avoid the difficult last minute onsite redesigns.

Keep an eye on your money.

Another point to consider if you choose the MMC building solution, is that the procurement route is front loaded when units are ordered. Therefore it is essential you chose a manufacturer with the ability to deliver a quality product. Here at MacConvilles we go a step further than helping you to select your suppliers, we visit the factory floor to ensure your order ticks all the boxes and manage the transfer of ownership of your order giving you an extra layer assurance.

Measure twice and cut once.

Talk to any carpenter and this is a fundamental rule they all follow. The accuracy of the foundations and substructures are vital and need to be carefully managed so that your add on pods, walls or laminates can slot in- just like that. Your Project Manager alongside the Project Engineer will ensure that plans are followed meticulously checking at every stage of the works to prevent deviation from plan which could spell an expensive disaster.

Safety on site starts before you get on site.

MMC and in particular, modular systems and large panel systems, will require advanced planning of the site for access, off-loading, installation and storage. The Health and Safety element of moving large items in often confined/ restricted spaces will come under the remit of your Principal Designer/CDM advisor, a key and legal requirement of all construction projects regardless of size or type.  Again forward planning will save time, money and a lot of head scratching. A Principal Designer will be part of your project team from the outset and has all the skills to examine the logistics of getting large units on site safely.

It’s all about good team work.

As with all construction projects having the right people behind you makes all the difference. Our experience and our comprehensive set of surveying solutions has delivered successful builds from regional Tax Offices to Community Centres and Churches. So if you’re interested in finding out more on how MMC could work on your next project contact us to talk through your options and perhaps your next build is closer to completion than you imagined.



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