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Homes England Supports Local Authority Deliver Pilot MMC Scheme

Homes England is providing development finance and a range of initiatives to encourage partners to develop and use MMC.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Council (NBBC) is reviewing the possibilities of using MMC to deliver affordable rental homes through a new pilot scheme. After receiving £120,000 in funding from Homes England, this local authority completed its first modular build.

This MMC homes scheme is built on former garage sites in Bedworth and consists of four semi-detached two-bedroom modular properties. The development has been used to test the feasibility of modular housing as a method of housing delivery.

NBBC Head of Development Mat Byrne said that the council identified modular homes development as an affordable and efficient solution to the increasing demand for housing. It worked with a local form to create a working model for new homes. The process has been a long one and much has been learned along the way, but as a result of the MMC homes scheme, the council has been able to reduce built time by 10-12 weeks compared to traditional construction.

Mr. Byrne said that the pilot model has enabled NBBC to deliver homes more quickly, without compromising on quality. As an added benefit, modular homes minimise disruptions to nearby residents because onsite time is reduced.

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The NBBC team has already identified seven more sites for potential development in 2019 and are collaborating with other local authorities with the goal of sharing the expertise and knowledge created by the pilot. They are also creating a framework for procurement through which suppliers are provided with more assurances and higher volumes.

Caroline Cormack, Homes England Head of Home Ownership & Supply in the Midlands, said that Homes England was committed to making modern construction methods available across the industry, so it was gratifying to see organisations such as NBBC willing to both carry out their own pilot scheme and work with partners to strengthen a supply chain.

The new framework will allow NBBC to share its knowledge of modular housing with local authorities. They are already speaking with other councils about the workings of their pilot scheme.

NBBC Director for Housing, Communities and Economic Development Dawn Dawson said that she was “really proud” of what the council has been able to accomplish through the pilot scheme and it has inspired wider discussion about how housing delivery can be diversified to meet the needs of communities throughout the UK.

Some work remains to be done in the area of modular construction to eliminate the stubborn myth that the process resembles the prefab homes of the 1960s. The truth is otherwise. Modular construction has delivered well-designed, energy-efficient, and high-quality housing that will provide much-needed housing for families in the area.

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