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Modern methods of construction

There is a strong push to adopt Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and realise the huge potential benefits to productivity and building safety. Unfortunately, this is seen by sections of the UK construction market as a need to grow the use of lightweight and lightweight modular forms of construction despite their inherent lack of resilience, especially regarding fire safety and climate change adaptation. This shift in material choice is unnecessary and could lead to a generation of building stock which lacks the longevity and inherent benefits of concrete construction, potentially resulting in a proliferation of stranded assets. This is unnecessary because a strong mature offsite concrete sector exists in the UK which delivers the benefits MMC with the resilient properties of concrete.

There are many benefits of concrete MMC, including these six, below.

1. Concrete is at the cutting edge of modern methods of construction (MMC) through new technology, including innovative offsite factory manufacture and advanced onsite installation techniques.

  • People have been using and refining concrete in construction for thousands of years, developing it into the world’s most versatile and sought-after man-made material.
  • Today, concrete manufacturers and suppliers can offer products which fit into multiple MMC categories.

2. Significant time savings on construction programmes can be achieved through the use of concrete MMC solutions, from just-in-time delivery on site through to faster build programmes.

  • Whether it is smart cast sequencing, just-in-time delivery, removal of associated trades from the critical path or rapid (small crew) erection techniques, concrete MMC deliver speed of construction benefits.

3. Thanks to sophisticated manufacturing and quality control procedures, concrete MMC techniques deliver a high-quality, robustness and reliable product every time that is not always possible in less resilient lightweight materials. 

  • Concrete MMC offers advantages where unfavourable climatic conditions or skilled labour shortages can impact the quality of traditional construction.

4. Concrete MMC provides additional safety benefits both during production and installation, reducing the need to work at height and in confined spaces. After construction, concrete protects people and property because it is A1 fire rated and does not burn.

  • Offsite construction offers a reduction in work at height and in confined space, as well as reduced potential for slips, trips and falls. Smaller installation teams allow for a reduction in onsite activity and trades overlapping.
  • For the surrounding community MMC can also result in a reduction in noise and dust.
  • The safety benefits of concrete MMC don’t end at installation. Concrete solutions are A1 fire rated and don’t burn, whereas timber and modular MMC solutions can introduce combustible material and voids to a structure which compromise its safety.

5. Modern digital construction practices deliver predictable, reliable and traceable concrete products that project teams can easily track from factory to site.

  • Where construction timeframes need to change, production can also be rearranged to fit new schedules.
  • This predictable production is supported by the mature UK concrete supply chain, leaving clients with a range of sourcing options.
  • Concrete's resilience can also be relied upon to stand up to damage caused by fire, release of water and the future effects of climate change, introducing greater predictability to the insurance market.

6. Concrete MMC can create assets that deliver value, have long life spans and can be designed with change of use, disassembly, and element reuse in mind – helping to play an important role in a circular economy.

  • Concrete as a resilient heavy weight material provides all the benefits you would expect in terms of fire performance, thermal comfort and acoustic properties.

Options exist to allow sustainable design decisions that are low carbon both upfront and throughout the whole life of an asset.