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  • Writer's pictureTony Putsman

MMC - panacea or problem??

Are modern methods of construction (MMC) a solution for the Construction Industry's traditional challenges relating to capacity, skill shortages, workmanship, sustainability etc. - or may they just present a different mix of challenges and risks.

The latest bad news story for the Industry concerns a modular student accommodation project in Kent. According the the Construction Enquirer ( 14/2/24) -

'The student accommodation and teaching building at Tunbridge Wells Hospital was due for completion in February 2022 after work started on site the previous summer.

Site sources said ESS Modular and ISG have been working together on the six-storey building which is designed to house 145 medical students and trainee doctors.

A source said: “The whole job has become an embarrassment that no-one wants to talk about because it is riddled with damp issues.”

In recent months two major modular house builders - Ilke Homes and L&G- have shut down their production facilities and in January 2024 'Laing O’Rourke started consultations to cut nearly 20% of the workforce at its advanced offsite factory at Steetley in Nottinghamshire.'

On 16th February Construction Enquirer ran the headline:-

Go-ahead for UK’s largest mass timber structure neighbourhood

'Campaigning development company Human Nature has secured planning for a 685-home riverside estate conceived, built and operated on circular principles and community-first thinking.

Buildings will be constructed from engineered timber, with prefabricated cassettes made from local timber and biomaterials such as hemp.'

Human Nature and their project partners would be well advised to study the lessons from these previous practitioners before embarking on such an ambitious undertaking.

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