In today's challenging construction environment, clients face mounting pressure, and project delivery is closely scrutinised. Buzzwords like "better, faster, greener" capture ambitious aims, while delivering value for money is a given. Clients now seek wider societal goals, such as catalysing growth, generating employment, and benefiting the community through social value.
Post COP 27, sustainability, net zero, and carbon reduction are still top priorities, though tension can arise between these various needs and the others mentioned above. Fortunately, Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) offer solutions. The UK Government Construction Playbook defines MMC as a wide array of offsite manufacturing and onsite techniques, encouraging innovative alternatives to traditional methods. By adopting MMC, productivity, efficiency, and quality can be significantly improved, transforming the delivery of major infrastructure projects right from the design and planning stages.
Design for offsite construction
Moving fabrication from site to a factory-type environment offers numerous benefits. The controlled setting enhances product quality and reduces wastage. The repetitive nature of production also boosts efficiency, requiring fewer labour hours for the end-product. The welfare of the workforce can be improved, for example, fabrication jigs can be set at an ergonomically optimised working height. Then there are the advantages that come with working in one location compared with itinerant site work.
Project outcomes can also be improved. With pre-fabrication undertaken in advance, and construction becoming assembly, then time on site can be reduced. A shorter construction programme makes less impact on existing transport networks and reduces risk profile, for example, by minimising susceptibility to adverse weather conditions.