With more investment pouring in and with the Covid-19 crisis imposing disruption across the market, many experts believe MMC could play a key role in spearheading Britain’s recovery.
To explore this, we brought together the sector’s key players for a special series of property podcasts, hosted by our founder and managing director, Andrew Teacher, with additional commentary from Mark Farmer, MMC champion and CEO of Cast Consultancy.
Episode 1: Legal & General Modular Homes says modular construction has an important role to play in UK’s housebuilding rebound
Kickstarting the series was CEO of Legal & General Modular Homes, Rosie Toogood, to discuss the role of modular construction in creating opportunity.
Manufacturers of factory-built homes possess the ability to address the UK’s historic shortfall in housing delivery while creating vital, high-quality employment opportunities for the UK economy.
“We have the opportunity to grow an industry which is going to bring high-tech jobs in an economy that is going to need it.”
Episode 2: ilke Homes calls for land to be reserved “exclusively” for factory-built homes
Andrew Teacher and Mark Farmer spoke to executive chairman, Dave Sheridan, at one of the country’s leading modular homes manufacturers, ilke Homes.
Sheridan said that housing associations have a key role to play in using their own funds and their own land and called on government ministers to be “proactive in bringing forward land and designating land exclusively for factory-built homes” to help accelerate the pace of housing procurement and delivery in the UK, which will be pivotal to any post-Covid-19 recovery plans.
Episode 3: Homes England says MMC “critical” for recovery
Harry Swales, executive director at Homes England, joined our third episode of our MMC Propcast series to talk about how MMC will be “critical” for the public body, post-crisis.
Homes England has played a critical role in supporting the expansion of MMC via the Home Building Fund, harvesting millions of pounds in private investment to create jobs and build more homes, partnering with the likes of ilke Homes, Urban Splash and Sekisui House. This, Swales argues, could help the UK become a global exporter of construction innovation, saying that Homes England works closely with international organisations to “harness international expertise.”
Episode 4: Etopia bids to create “Tesla of housing” with focus on proprietary energy technology
In our fourth episode, Etopia’s CEO, Joseph Daniels discussed how the modular housing developer wants to lead an “eci-tech” revolution to manufacture carbon-positive homes built around smart-home technology.
Daniels explained that his factory-manufactured homes will come with a voice controlled central hub called E-Smart that will monitor and control a home’s temperature, humidity, power, energy and ventilation, as well as controlling electrical goods or household items such as blinds, making Etopia the “Intel Core chip” of housing.
Episode 5: Laing O’Rourke says procurement must prioritise innovation
Céire O’Rourke, Director of UK Clients and Markets at Laing O’Rourke, says that procurement must do more to encourage the uptake of factory-built space in order for the construction industry to really get behind the innovation agenda. She believes there is a huge opportunity to create jobs, reduce our carbon footprint and improve the economy’s resilience if more is done to encourage R&D spending.
“Quality is one of the unsung heroes of MMC because by working in a factory environment the quality you can provide for the product is second to none.”
Episode 6: TopHat’s tech platform and 3D-printed bricks will level-up design standards for modular housing
In our sixth episode, Jordan Rosenhaus, founder of TopHat, believes technology can not only design better homes, but help developers and local authorities get along better. Manufactured housing could become mainstream, he believes, by using cloud-based platforms to shape the design and manufacture of homes to fit flexibly with existing local architecture.
“Britain’s building sector has the opportunity to embrace technology and to manufacture higher quality, better designed houses, that can be a global inspiration.”
Episode 7: Urban Splash and Sekisui House share a bold vision for quality and design
Simon Gawthorpe, managing director of Urban Splash, spoke to Andrew Teacher and Mark Farmer about their landmark deal with Sekisui House last year, saying they realised that the best approach was to combine ideas and systems to create something bespoke for the UK market.
Gawthorpe argues that Britain could create its own export economy for manufactured housing. In recent decades, many world-leading architects have emanated from Britain and design is something Urban Splash has always prioritised.
“A key thing is more collaboration with some of our other MMC competitors. They’re not really competitors, they’re other fellow pioneers of MMC in one sense.”