East Midlands JMS Director, Andy Kenyon, explains the benefits of offsite construction

October 2, 2020 News

Tell us about the new MMC division of JMS: What is Offsite?

Offsite manufacturing is fast becoming a mainstream method of construction. A growing proportion of JMS projects are now using or considering this affordable and sustainable option.

The government has set out plans to deliver an additional 300,000 homes by 2022.  This huge target has placed significant pressure on the construction industry, which has led property developers to rethink their construction methods.

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), also known as Offsite, bring many benefits to the housebuilding sector.  A modular building is constructed on average 50% quicker than one using traditional methods, which keeps costs lower, timescales shorter and facilitates a faster return on investment.

JMS has been helping MMC manufacturers since 2005. Our experts specialise in designing structures using MMC materials and working with manufacturers on their R&D and product development.

What opportunities do you see within the MMC industry? 

MMC allows for remarkable levels of accuracy and precision, meaning developments can be delivered with minimal defects or flaws.  This is especially important given the current shortage of affordable housing.  MMC requires far less time on site, which leads to reduced expenditure and improved delivery timescales.  For a large, national homebuilder, it can provide significant advantages and has the potential to solve many of the challenges facing the building industry.

What do you perceive to be the biggest disadvantages to offsite construction? 

Specific disadvantages are difficult to assess due to the unique nature of every construction project and the different approaches used by each developer and manufacturer.

More traditional property developers are concerned that detailed manufacturer designs are required early on, so changes in plans are not always possible once the project starts, with customisation also becoming limited.  There is also a lack of expert knowledge within the industry, which has been identified as one of the main barriers to adoption.

However, the advantages far outweigh these potential drawbacks.

Do you believe there is a legacy from post-second world war prefabricated buildings that will inhibit the success of MMC?

The new generation of modular buildings has come a long way since the post-war era with manufacturers developing advanced assembly techniques that have enabled the delivery of tailored, high quality, energy efficient homes that can be built in an intelligent and effective manner.

As we look to the future, the new generation of offsite building offers the greatest outcome for a government wishing to avoid a housing crisis.

How will MMC/Offsite Construction change the future of housing developments?

I believe the uniformity, quality, speed and efficiencies that are found in the finished MMC projects will be very important for housing developments where many hundreds, if not thousands of houses are required to meet certain degrees of similarity and design.

With the government investing £3bn in offsite manufacturing techniques, homes can be built faster, with guaranteed quality and flexibility to local authorities.

As was seen during COVID, the speed at which the Nightingale Hospital was built proves that offsite techniques can and should be used to meet the shortfall of hospitals nationally.

What do you like most about working at JMS?

I love the team spirit at JMS, we regularly work in collaboration with each other to deliver the best outcomes for our clients.  With every new project we get to delve into the project and figure out the best approach, looking at costs, environmental impact, aesthetics and more.  I am surround by people with vast amounts of knowledge and experience and we’re all very proud of the work we deliver.

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years at JMS?

We hope that we can continue to understand, analyse and stay ahead of the markets, while also anticipating building trends. We want to continue being a leader in cutting edge civil and structural design, while also working with manufacturers to promote and drive the growth in MMC usage. By continuing to adapt and improve together, we will ensure that we are prepared to meet the challenges of our industry.

If you are looking to use MMC in your developments and would like some advice, please get in contact with us today >> www.jmsengineers.co.uk

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