The potential role of modular construction in addressing systemic supply issues

Project summary:

A small number of UK housing providers are now utilizing construction integrated manufacturing (CIM), also known as modular construction, to deliver new homes. The potential for this form of housing provision to speed up and diversify housing delivery is of growing interest among policy makers and wider industry stakeholders (Mayoral Housing Strategy, 2018; RICS, 2018; Letwin, 2018, Farmer, 2016). Indeed, CIM has the potential to introduce greater levels of productivity, quality, quantity, sustainability, design and diversity to the UK housing system. Despite these advantages, the level of take up and adoption into the market remains limited and the UK now lags behind the US, Germany, Sweden, Japan, France and the Netherlands in utilizing CIM technologies to deliver new homes.

Drawing on an international evidence base, research visits with existing UK CIM providers and programme of wider stakeholder engagement, the project seeks to evaluate the potential role of modular construction in addressing systemic supply issues. It will deliver on the following objectives:

  1. International learning: an international evidence review will identify the technology, policy and market processes that are driving the adoption of MMC around the world and analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to enhanced adoption in the UK housing system.
  2. Industry learning: two or three detailed research visits with leading UK providers will examine in some detail and depth, the particularities of business operations and success to determine the opportunities and constraints for scaling up provision within the UK housing system

Timeline: April 2019 – April 2020

Team: Dr Sarah Payne (Co-Investigator), Jeff Matsu (Co-Investigator), Dr Emma Bimpson (Research Associate), and Dr Gareth Young (Knowledge Exchange)

Theme: Economy