A new report written in part by the government’s MMC champion has called for the government to target delivering 75,000 new-build modular homes every year by 2030, saying doing so could create tens of thousands of jobs and reduce carbon emissions.
The Build Homes Build Jobs Build Innovation report – penned by Mark Farmer and HTA Architects partner Mike De’Ath – says that the government should make modular housing the core of its ‘Build, build, build’ agenda.
The pair say the report “sets out a bold ambition to seize on the opportunities presented by COVID-19 recovery planning to accelerate the role modular homebuilding plays in the future as part of a much more strategic approach to nurturing and mainstreaming the manufactured housing market”.
It says the 75,000 modular homes per year by 2030 can be achieved by “a series of interlinked, long-term interventions by government and its agencies coordinating demand stimulation alongside responsible capacity building”.
There is also the potential for the creation of 50,000 jobs, the report says, ranging from SME level to larger innovators, “all helping to level-up regional economies.”
Further, an investment programme would help the government meet its target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the report says, as research suggests modular construction can reduce carbon emissions by a much as 40% when compared with traditional methods.
Farmer and De’Ath have urged the government to use the upcoming Autumn Spending Review to announce an “enhanced Affordable Homes Programme (AHP)” with incentives for using modular solutions.
The next AHP, which will run from 2021-2026, currently stipulates that 25% of homes delivered through strategic partnerships must be built using MMC – though further details have yet to be clarified.
Modernise or die
The government’s MMC (modern methods of construction) champion, Mark Farmer, published a report in 2016 titled Modernise or Die, in which he advocated the benefits of offsite manufacturing and modular housing.
Commenting on today’s report, Farmer said: “We have come a long way since I published Modernise or Die in 2016, but the country still needs to build more homes, quickly.
“Modular manufacturing is the single biggest gamechanger when it comes to building more homes.
“Government support and investment in the modular construction of homes will deliver the UK Industrial Strategy’s skills, productivity, technology, and carbon-reduction objectives.
“Increasing modular delivery into the market will also enable a new generation of innovators, from SMEs to large UK and international businesses investing and operating in the UK, offering more choice to home buyers and renters.”
De’Ath added: “Our experience of designing modular manufactured housing over the past decade demonstrates the huge benefits to housing delivery.
“New modular homes outperform traditional new homes in nearly every area, not least the quality of build and speed possible through innovation.
“Our ambition for 75,000 new, beautifully designed, modular homes is realistic and achievable, so our ask of government therefore is simple: help us stimulate and then galvanise the demand for modular homebuilding.”
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