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Wed July 28 2021

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Three picked for £600m prefab framework

16 Jul Volumetric housing manufacturers TopHat, Ilke Homes and Impact Modular have been selected for the £600m Building Better framework

Building Better wants to encourage the adoption of modern methods
Building Better wants to encourage the adoption of modern methods

The framework aims to deliver more than 500 factory-made homes per year over the initial four-year term.

Building Better is an alliance of 29 housing associations and local authorities, supported by the National Housing Federation, working to promote the use of prefabrication and modular construction – so-called ‘modern’ methods of construction or MMC. The framework is run by Procurement for Housing.

Procurement for Housing and Building Better have appointed Tophat, Ilke Homes and Impact Modular on a direct award basis. This means that housing associations and local authorities do not need to go through any additional tender process. It is estimated that this streamlined contracting approach should save each housing provider around £15,000 in procurement costs.

Offsite homes developed by Building Better members will be certified by the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme and be assessed and accepted by building warranty provider the National House Building Council (NHBC).

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Building Better’s MMC Category 1 Construction Systems framework covers pre-manufactured, three-dimensional buildings that are factory-produced and delivered to site. There are three lots:

  • Lot 1: Low rise houses and low/medium rise apartments – TopHat
  • Lot 2: Low rise houses – Ilke Homes
  • Lot 3: Low/medium rise apartments – Impact Modular

Building Better project director Trina Chakravarti said: “In the past, housing associations, local authorities and manufacturers have often gone through the MMC process alone – there is no aggregation of knowledge or resources, and mistakes are repeated. We want to change this through early, honest partnership working between social housing providers, manufacturers and residents, sharing information and learning together to improve MMC and overcome traditional barriers.”

Procurement for Housing chief executive Steve Malone said: “By assessing the MMC market, narrowing the field and appointing just three manufacturers, our goal was to reduce much of the due diligence and procurement complexity that housing associations and local authorities often face around MMC. Ilke Homes, Impact Modular and TopHat all impressed us with their commitment to the collaborative ethos of this framework. For them, involving residents and working closely with housing providers is key to continually improving their MMC offer.”

The government has made it a condition of its £11.5bn affordable homes programme that at least 25% of those homes should be prefabs.

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