Modern methods of construction (MMC)

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Specialist lawyers in modern methods of construction (MMC)

In the exciting and complex world of modern methods of construction (MMC), we lead our clients through all the legal intricacies, so they can realise their objectives and grow their ambitions. Working as your lawyers, and as an integrated part of your team, our MMC legal experts are ready to provide solution focused advice tailored specifically to your needs.

We are widely recognised as one of the largest and most experienced land development teams in England. Our approach is partner led ensuring that clients have direct and regular contact with lawyers offering many years of experience in the industry to provide our clients with specific modular construction advice.

What is modern method of construction?

Historically most homes in the UK have been built using traditional construction (brick and block). MMC is a collective term used to describe alternative construction methods to brick and block, such as modular construction – off-site factory production of the component sections of properties which are transported to site for assembly.

As it’s reported that London’s Mayor Sadiq Kahn is assembling a new task force requesting MMC investment, it has never been more apparent just how important MMC construction is quickly becoming to the housebuilding industry.

Zoe Owen

Zoe Owen

Partner | Real estate, Plot sales, Residential property

023 8071 8048

What is modern methods of construction law?

Modern methods of construction law refers to the legal framework governing the use of innovative construction techniques and materials, such as off-site manufacturing and modular construction. It covers issues such as design liability, building regulations compliance, and contractual arrangements between parties involved in the construction process.

MMC is new and innovative in the UK despite our European neighbours having using this method to build properties for many years. Therefore, confidence in the product and the change from traditional construction is the biggest obstacle to MMC being implemented by housebuilders. Once assurances and warranties can be given there will be greater confidence in MMC.

Long-term maintenance of MMC homes remains a concern. It is not believed this should be a problem due to the precision and energy efficiency that is incorporated into the design of these homes as standard. However, until they have been occupied for an extended period of time, this will remain an unknown.

Warranty providers and Insurers have been concerned for some time regarding risks involved when using MMC with particular concern regarding fire risk. The Fire Services are experienced in dealing with traditional buildings that catch fire, however, there is less awareness regarding materials used with MMC buildings.

Uncertainty over how materials will respond in a fire is a problem that can be intensified by a practice known as ‘product substitution’. Many buildings therefore have sprinkler systems installed. This can have an impact on cost and insurance for the owners of the apartments.

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The three main factors driving MMC growth

1. Speed

Given the well-publicised shortage of housing in the UK the speed of MMC construction methods can deliver houses much faster than traditionally built houses.

2. Green agenda

Factors such as waste, minimising time and energy, pollution, disruption, reduction in HGV movement, regular product improvements, and reusable materials all contribute to the green agenda.

3. Consistency

The control of the factory build allows for greater quality control ensuring that every home is constructed to the same consistent high standard with fewer defects and snagging to attend to post completion especially in view of the New Homes Quality Code and New Homes Ombudsman which are being introduced imminently.

What are the other benefits of modern methods of construction?

As technology and modern practices continue to develop at an accelerated pace, it’s important that you can evaluate what might be the best option for you. Using MMC when starting a new construction project comes with many benefits, most importantly offering a safer work environment and offering more reliable and consistent results.

However, other factors that you might not be aware of include predictability, as using 3D printed models allows you to see where potential problems might appear during the early stages of the project, saving you time and money. These more modern practices also mean construction can offer a greater value to the community, producing jobs for those who may suffer from a disability or have responsibilities for others that mean they have other commitments they must balance with work. Finally, these kinds of projects disrupt areas far less, with many of the construction completed off-site at a factory, which means it is again more respectful to the communities around the site. So, it is worth considering the benefits that could arise from choosing modern methods of construction.

Are modern methods of construction sustainable?

A key aim of these newer methods of construction is to encourage a green agenda, as previously mentioned, and so sustainability is certainly very important. A large reason these methods are more sustainable is thanks to factory builds, which are made with greater precision to reduce waste, as well as use materials that are kinder to the planet and are more abundant.

What are the different types of modern methods of construction?

Thanks to the development of engineering and technology, there are many new and more efficient construction methods to choose from in order to improve the way that structures are built. These include the use of 3D models, flat slab construction, modular building, twin wall technology, and hybrid construction. They can be used individually or combined to manage projects that are quicker, safer, and better than ever, but they come with their own set of legislation that you must be aware of.

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How Moore Barlow can help

Increased investment will continue to have a positive impact on modern methods of construction, making it a more attractive route for housebuilders. It is imperative, as a developer or housebuilder, that detailed points are raised during the design and construction phase of your project to ensure you have a clear appreciation of the proposal and are fully aware of the differences to traditional build.

We have acted for many housebuilders in the UK including dedicated modular housing providers. Should you require any further information or advice in relation to your business needs arounds modern methods of construction, please contact us today.

So, should you require any advice within your business in relation to any modern methods of construction matter why not contact Moore Barlow today.

We have offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking,  and offer specialist real estate law support to clients nationwide.

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