Project Management

Modern methods of construction in housing 

In 2021 the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage produced Housing for All – a New Housing Plan for Ireland, which sought to address the ongoing housing crisis in Ireland. One of the areas highlighted in the report was the use of newer technologies and techniques such as Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in the construction of housing. In July 2023 the department also put out the Modern Methods of Construction Introductory Guide and the roadmap for increased adoption of MMC in public housing delivery. These two guides were produced to aid decision-makers in the built environment in considering MMC in their plans for housing delivery. 

The term MMC covers a broad range of building processes and products but is most commonly used to describe construction that takes place in a factory setting. It can include 2D units, 3D units, 3D printing (additive manufacturing) and site-led labour reduction and productivity improvements. 2D units can include panels used to make floors, walls and roofs or frames and more skeletal structures which allow for the services, cladding and such to be installed on-site. 3D volumetric units can be completed inside of a factory to the point that all testing is complete and white goods are installed prior to transport to the site.

The benefits of MMC can include a more sustainable built environment, a faster timeframe for the production of high-quality homes, better working conditions and a more controlled factory setting allowing for a higher rate of building compliance. However, there has been some hesitation in the past to adopt these new techniques and the factories required can be costly to build and operate. The inclination of the Department of Housing and the adoption by local authorities and governmental agencies should help create a robust pipeline of work to ensure the MMC sector grows in strength.

For public bodies looking to avail of the benefits of MMC, using the Construction Works Management Framework, the effective utilisation of the PW-CF2 Design and Build contract will be crucial. For all projects, both public and private, an overarching understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of using MMC will be of paramount importance, as adoption of the principles and techniques at a late stage of the project can negate many of the benefits. A clear understanding of the aims and objectives of the project and the envisioned end user from the concept stage along with ensuring principles such as a high degree of repeatability and standardisation are integrated will have a huge impact on the success of the project. As with almost all construction options, the individual needs of the project will also need to be considered as certain technologies may be less suited to the wetter climate of the West of Ireland.

While the MMC sector of the construction industry is in its relative infancy compared to traditional techniques, the potential it offers could be revolutionary for Ireland. Should you wish to discuss using the Capital Works Management Framework to procure and supervise your Modern Methods of a Construction project, contact a member of our Project Management team.


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