The Mayor of London has given his backing to a research initiative looking at facilitating the adoption of precision manufactured homes.
This commission is being led by Cast, the property and construction consultancy, and their CEO, Mark Farmer, in collaboration with award winning architects Bryden Wood. The project is set to identify patterns in how we currently design new homes in London and look at opportunities to use digital tools and standardisation for elements of these buildings allowing more use of precision manufacturing. This can then be utilised to help tackle London’s housing crisis and create new, exciting construction jobs for Londoners.
Offsite construction, also known as ‘smart construction’ or ‘modern methods of construction’, offers a completely new way of building homes in London, using the controlled environment of a factory to create high quality homes made from pre-manufactured components.
By building homes from more standardised components but still allowing high quality customisable designs, homebuilding rates in the capital can be doubled. Factory-built homes are all the rage in Japan and Germany, where the energy efficiency ratings and build quality far exceeds new homes in the UK built using traditional methods.
Following the recommendations laid out in the London Assembly Planning Committee report ‘Designed, Sealed, Delivered’, the Mayor of London is supporting this initiative as part of his wider drive to modernise how we build homes in the capital and promote high quality, modern construction training.
Nicky Gavron, Chair of the Planning Committee at London Assembly, said:
"The Mayor of London's decision to fund Cast and Bryden Wood's project around the standardisation of modular homes is a most welcome piece of leadership. The planning committee’s report recommended that the Mayor work towards adopting a manufactured housing design code, and this comprehensive study is a vital stepping stone for scaling up modular construction and adding capacity to the construction industry.
“I am confident that expert research will bring clarity around modular homes for all industry representatives and unlock more finance for the sector, accelerating its contribution to solving the housing crisis. This, in turn, will create attractive job opportunities, not just across London, but the whole of the country for our young workforce."
The framework, created by Cast and Bryden Wood, is set to make building homes offsite significantly simpler by providing a design code for factory built homes to help developers and local authorities benefit from this new approach to building homes. Additionally, the framework will ensure that quality of design is maintained by engaging key stakeholders in the design and construction sectors
Work is set to start immediately on the project and the results will be presented to the Mayor in the Autumn.
Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast and author of the 2016 UK Government review of construction entitled ‘Modernise or Die’, said:
“The construction industry in London doesn’t have the capacity to deliver the homes the capital needs, which requires us to think differently about how we build those homes. By embracing technology and a manufacture led approach to homebuilding, housing targets can be met, at a better quality and at a cheaper construction price. Thousands of new types of jobs can also be created in London and in the regions that are more appealing to the younger generation than some of the more traditional site based roles on a building site.
Without doubt, building homes using technology and manufacturing principles is the future of construction. London must turn the current housing crisis into an opportunity to pioneer these emerging build methods, building quality homes for Londoners while modernising the capital’s skills base.”
Jaimie Johnston, Director and Head of Global Systems at Bryden Wood, said:
"The way we currently build homes looks a lot like the way we transported goods before the shipping container. The process isn't standardised or integrated. Build times are long, materials are handled piecemeal and there's a lot of waste. It's estimated that 30% of raw materials delivered to a site leave in a skip.
Precision manufactured homes will change all this. They will be high performing, high quality and architecturally designed. Most importantly, through the use of new data driven tools and construction techniques, they will set a new standard for building efficiency."
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