The NHF-backed alliance of pro-MMC housing associations Building Better has appointed three manufacturers to deliver its first offsite homes framework.
Building Better and its procurement partner Procurement for Housing have signed up Ilke Homes, Impact Modular and TopHat to the framework which is worth £600 million over the next five years.
The deal will help social housing providers procure pre-manufactured 3D construction systems for both houses and apartments.
Building Better, an alliance of 29 housing associations and local authorities aiming to increase the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) in the social housing sector, began searching for manufacturers to support its framework late last year.
The framework will allow the alliance to build at least 800 new offsite homes. It expects to be able to produce a further 4,500 properties using MMC before 2026.
Steve Malone, CEO at Procurement for Housing, said: “By assessing the MMC market, narrowing the field and appointing just three manufacturers, our goal was to reduce much of the due diligence and procurement complexity that housing associations and local authorities often face around MMC.
“Ilke Homes, Impact Modular and TopHat all impressed us with their commitment to the collaborative ethos of this framework. For them, involving residents and working closely with housing providers is key to continually improving their MMC offer.”
The three successful manufacturers have been appointed to Building Better’s framework on a direct award basis, meaning that social housing providers will not have to go through an additional tender process.
It’s estimated that this contracting approach will save each housing provider around £15,000 in procurement costs alone.
All MMC homes procured under Building Better’s framework will meet the government’s Future Homes Standard, which aims to ensure that all new homes built after 2025 produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than under current regulations.
They will also take a “fabric-first” approach, meet nationally described space standards and have the option to be wheelchair accessible.
Offsite homes developed by Building Better members will be certified by the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme and be assessed by the National House Building Council (NHBC).
Trina Chakravarti, project director of Building Better said: “In the past, housing associations, local authorities and manufacturers have often gone through the MMC process alone – there is no aggregation of knowledge or resources, and mistakes are repeated.
“We want to change this through early, honest partnership working between social housing providers, manufacturers and residents, sharing information and learning together to improve MMC and overcome traditional barriers.”
The government has expressed its support for using MMC to build homes, which is expected to help housing associations build homes more quickly and reduce their operating costs.
It has made it a condition of its new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme that at least 25% of homes delivered through the programme should be built using MMC.
Image: A modular home being lowered by crane on a development site. Credit: TopHat.