The UK government is to prioritise use of offsite manufacturing and other modern methods of construction to improve the cost effectiveness, productivity and speed of construction delivery, the chancellor has announced.
In his Autumn Budget speech this week Philip Hammond said the state will use its purchasing power to drive adoption of the technology.
"Building on progress made to date, the Department for Transport, the Department of Health, the Department for Education, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Defence will adopt a presumption in favour of offsite construction by 2019 across suitable capital programmes, where it represents best value for money," the chancellor said.
Hammond also announced £15.3bn of new funding to boost housing delivery, meaning a total of £44bn of investment over five years.
Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast, author of the government-commissioned construction review Modernise or Die, and a strong advocate of offsite manufacturing, welcomed the Budget announcement.
"Hammond’s Budget has rightly targeted the construction industry’s productivity and skills crisis alongside other more expected land and planning-led measures," he said.
"The government imposing a presumption towards MMC [modern methods of construction] on the bulk of its direct capital spend programme is very welcome as it will be ‘market making’ if combined with consistent spend profiling. This will ultimately help to develop a new type of supply chain which can serve the wider construction sectors, including homebuilding."
Image: Offsite manufacture "will ultimately help to develop a new type of supply chain" (Portakabin Group via Designingbuildings.co.uk)