This report examines how Modern Methods of Construction could improve the speed, scale, and quality of housing delivery across the capital.
London’s construction sector is under pressure. On-site trades are facing a skills shortage, including scaffolders and bricklayers. This pressure is intensifying thanks to an ageing workforce, dependency on EU workers and a low take up of apprenticeships.
This report finds that off-site housing construction and manufacturing could help to achieve faster delivery on-site than traditional construction – with schemes completed in about two-thirds of the time.
But the transition to widespread adoption of off-site construction and manufacturing has been slow. And a step change is required to ensure that Modern Methods of Construction can be part of the solution to London’s housing crisis.
This includes the development of skills, improving supply chains, promoting the potential of new construction techniques, and ensuring supportive policy and financing structures.
Key recommendations include:
Developing the skills needed
- The Mayor should consider how to use devolved skills funding to help existing construction workers develop the skills needed to implement MMC, in the context of a growing commitment from City Hall to deliver MMC homes at scale across London.
- Faced with construction workforce challenges in London, developers and industry bodies should invest in upskilling workers for the transition to MMC
Adopting Modern Methods of Construction
- Councils and housing associations (with support from the Mayor and government) should pool expertise and purchasing power to form an MMC buying club. This would allow them to build at scale across multiple London boroughs, thereby helping sustain levels of factory production.
- To build capacity and realise economies of scale, housing developers and construction companies should commit to increasing adoption of MMC throughout their supply chains.
Scaling up the sector
- Housing providers and the Mayor should set up an exhibition to bring the industry together and showcase examples of well-designed modular housing and high-quality placemaking.
- The Mayor should use this exhibition as a platform to discuss what can be achieved through his proposed common design framework, and encourage its widespread use as an open source tool for residential developers and manufacturers.