MMC: the official definition
In 2019 the MMC Working Group of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published the first official definition of MMC.
This recognises a range of innovative practices that can be described as MMC, describing seven categories of innovation that meet the definition. These range from complete modules built in a factory to engineering and robotic solutions for improving practice on site.
Category 1 – Pre-Manufacturing - 3D primary structural systems
Category 2 – Pre-Manufacturing - 2D primary structural systems
Category 3 – Pre-Manufacturing - Non systemised structural components
Category 4 – Pre-Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing
Category 5 – Pre-Manufacturing – Non-structural assemblies and sub-assemblies
Category 6 – Traditional building product led site labour reduction/productivity improvements
Category 7 – Site process led labour reduction/productivity improvements
There is no compulsion on any builder to adopt MMC. Indeed, incorporating the more extreme solutions (Category one and two) may never be acceptable to many established developers.
But at H+H we have always focused on innovation: providing technical solutions that meet the MMC agenda long before the term was introduced.
Aircrete solutions within the categories
Our Thin-Joint System, available for decades, provides speed of build, combined with dimensional accuracy. This method of building is specifically mentioned in the definition of Category 6.
Back in 2007 we launched our storey-high aircrete panels into the UK, introducing housebuilders to the fast, panellised approach widely used by our customers across Europe.
Our most recent innovation, the I-House System provides a system-build solution. It combines aircrete panels with pre-fabricated floors and roofs and falls under the Category two definition.
H+H Vertical Wall Panels are now recognised by the National House Building Council (NHBC) within its NHBC Accepts scheme for encouraging high quality innovation.
We naturally believe that high performance, resilient and durable aircrete is the best material for new homes. The official definition of MMC provides welcome clarity that aircrete-based solutions have a positive future within the MMC agenda.
Increasing pressure to adopt
Government is playing a role in encouraging widespread adoption of MMC. In 2020, Homes England announced that housing associations looking to sign lucrative strategic partnerships would have to commit to using Modern Methods to build 25% of their houses.
In November 202, the Building Back Britain Commission produced the report: Levelling up and the housing challenge. This report argues that the UK needs a new national housing strategy making greater use of MMC in order to achieve the goals set out in the government’s levelling up agenda.
It recommends the creation of explicit targets, including a commitment to build 75,000 high-quality MMC homes a year by 2030.
Aircrete’s contribution so far
H+H was an early innovator in the UK housebuilding sector. In the decade up to 2022, we calculate that our MMC systems – based on Thin-Joint and H+H Vertical Wall Panels – have been used to build some 10,000 homes. This makes aircrete one of the mostly widely used MMC Solutions.