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MMC for mid- and high-rise homes

Quality homes delivered at pace help to fill the housing gap and enable communities to thrive

The availability of high-quality housing is key to attracting people into towns and cities, and making them great places to live, work and socialise.

Given rental property shortages and progressively unaffordable home ownership, mid- and high-rise build-to-rent homes are increasingly filling the gaps and are in high demand. However, the way in which they are built has a great impact too, both on meeting that demand and on minimising disruption in towns and city centres.

We know that through utilising modern methods of construction (MMC), mid- and high-rise homes can be built at pace, with greater cost and quality certainty - and with fewer logistics and less carbon. This in turn develops towns and cities at pace by expanding communities and providing opportunities for them to thrive.

Read more about how we're using MMC to drive efficiency in mid- and high-rise housing, including:

Overcoming challenges in Birmingham at Perry Barr Residential Scheme

With all eyes turning to Perry Barr in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, there was a sudden surge of investment into the area. One such project was a £326m residential scheme, an incredibly important project designed to meet affordable housing needs in the area by delivering 968 homes for sale and affordable rent.

Lendlease took up the role of principal contractor, and we were appointed to deliver two of the four plots, with two other tier-one contractors delivering the other plots.

With lots of regeneration happening in the area, this posed a number of challenges. The first was the competition for materials and labour in the local area - on the residential scheme alone there could have been three contractors competing for the same resources. The second challenge was the amount of potential disruption caused by the scheme. Again, just on the residential development alone there would have been three different programmes of delivery taking place, adding in the wider regeneration schemes, we wanted to minimise this disruption. Finally, and most importantly, there were incredibly tight delivery timescales for the project.

All in all, we reworked the design of the two plots to utilise MMC. MMC is 30% more efficient than traditional build methods, so it brought a range of benefits to our plots, including: programme certainty, reduced logistics, less labour onsite, different labour and material requirements and better quality.

Another key benefit was waste reduction; compared to a local 266-home traditional build development, our plots delivered only 10% of the waste and were 50% more efficient.

The MMC elements we utilised were:

  • A light gauge steel frame
  • Brick slip façades
  • Pre-manufactured balconies and balustrades
  • 700 bathroom pods

Is MMC the real deal? Find out more about MMC in Perry Barr here.

Or you can watch a short video about the project below

Driving efficiency at the Indigo development in Peterborough

Having heard about the innovative use of MMC at Perry Barr Residential Scheme, we were approached to deliver Indigo development in Peterborough using the same techniques.

The scheme is made up of affordable housing, with rent being set at or below 80% of the normal market rate. There will be 315 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and 37 townhouses. The two ground floor units are going to be used as commercial spaces, with the opportunity for them to be used for leisure and hospitality.

The pre-manufactured value for this project will make up around 63% of the project's total value. We will be utilising offsite manufacturing to increase quality, minimise embodied carbon emissions and help maintain programme certainty. The elements that are being manufactured offsite include a light-gauge steel frame, brick slips and bathroom pods.

An additional bonus of this approach has been protecting the project from material and labour price increases. By nature, offsite elements are pre-ordered in advance, securing the price and protecting the viability of the project from unexpected cost increases.

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Revitalising Gascoigne East and building an exciting future using offsite manufacturing

In Barking, we're transforming a 1960s-built east London neighbourhood. The new Gascoigne neighbourhood will consist of low-carbon and net-zero carbon apartments that will have high levels of airtightness, making it easier to keep homes at an ambient internal temperature. In turn, this will make the apartments more energy efficient and cheaper to run.

The new neighbourhood is setting the benchmark for future council-led regeneration schemes. At the heart of the project is the idea that affordable housing shouldn't look or feel different from private housing - on the inside or outside.

We're currently onsite delivering the third phase of this project. At the end of last year we handed over phase 2; a £135 million project to deliver 382 new homes across nine blocks.

The nine blocks that make up phase 2 of the project made use of offsite manufacturing to drive efficiency and reduce timescales. The concrete frames are a hybrid of in-situ and precast units, with all of the vertical elements such as lift shaft walls and twin wall panels manufactured offsite. Switching from in-situ to precast concrete for these elements had a significant impact on build times – cutting between two and three days per cycle.

One of the smaller blocks on the site, that contains eight homes, is being used as a pilot project to explore how offsite manufacturing could be used more widely in the later phases of the scheme.

With more phases and the results of the pilot project to come, it's likely that there will be more opportunities to embed offsite manufacturing in the future.

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For more information, contact our local expert

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