Unlocking the market for modular housing in Bristol and the South West

Last Monday on the 21st of June was the publication of the contract notice for the Low Carbon MMC Offsite Housing Construction DPS and on Thursday the 24th of June it was the soft launch of the Constructing Modern Methods (CMM) toolkit.

The DPS and the CMM toolkit combined, form a single procurement and delivery package for MMC that will enable Local Authorities & Registered Social Landlords reach government targets and their local strategies for delivering MMC homes.

It will also support suppliers and developers of all sizes with securing more work. The Lot sizing actively encourages new and emerging companies to showcase their individual solutions:

  • Lot 1 - 1-2 homes (Max value £200,000)
  • Lot 2 - 3-15 homes (Max value £1,800,000)
  • Lot 3 - 16-49 homes (Max value £7,000,000)

Offsite housing companies are being encouraged to sign up to the procurement system via Find a Tender: https://www.find-tender.service.gov.uk/Notice/014059-2021

The CMM toolkit was launched at a virtual event with an expert panel of speakers from Bristol City Council and the construction industry and will help Councils meet their housing targets by bringing together complex data on modular housing providers in one place.

The DPS, alongside the CMM toolkit will enable local authorities, housing associations and combined authorities to assess which housing type is fit for their needs. With newly elected Bristol City Mayor, Marvin Rees, promising to deliver 1,000 affordable homes a year it is crucial that public authorities can utilise innovative methods to build high quality homes.

UK housing is facing challenging times with a “triple threat” of new planning regulations, zero carbon targets and pressure to build homes more quickly to tackle affordable housing waiting lists.

Many see modular, offsite, housing as the solution. However, this is still a relatively emerging market and there is a need for clear and robust data to help build confidence in the public sector.

CMM Head of Construction and Sustainability, Phil Stott, said: “we are all so used to using comparison websites when making purchasing decisions and this is no different. Local authorities are using tax-payers’ money and it is important that they make the right decisions when building the homes that we need in our cities. There is no doubt that offsite, modular, homes are the future in terms of pace of build, quality and social value, but we have to realise that this market is not that mature and we have to help the public sector make informed, careful, decisions.”

Bristol Housing Festival Project Director, Jeremy Sweetland, said: “Bristol City Council has committed to building the homes the city needs using the newest and most innovative systems available. We have already pushed the envelope in terms of utilising offsite providers and now we must also make the best of technology internally, to help speed up the decision-making process within the Council’s own structures. Bristol has been incredibly brave in going first and it is hoped that they will pave the way for other public authorities to follow.”

SWPA Director, Mary Bennell said: “it is incredibly exciting that we are actively innovating to unlock the market. Procurement has often been a major barrier to new and emerging companies accessing public contracts and we are creating new and exciting methods and markets to allow those innovators to flourish.”

This combined solution helps address the 10 critical failures mentioned in Cast Consultancy's 'Build Homes, Build Jobs, Build Innovation' report

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