Homes England insists on MMC
The government agency will require bidders for its £7.4bn pot for affordable housing supply in the next five years to use modern methods of construction such as off-site manufacturing.
The Affordable Homes Programme provides grant funding to support the capital costs of developing affordable housing for rent or sale.
As the Government’s housing accelerator, Homes England will be making available £7.39bn from April 2021 to deliver up to 130,000 affordable homes by March 2026, all outside London. Affordable housing in London is governed by the Greater London Authority.
In a statement Homes England said it “expects partners to share the ambitions set out in Homes England’s strategic plan to create a more resilient and diverse housing market. This means partners will also be expected to focus on promoting significant use of Modern Methods of Construction, high-quality sustainable design and working closely with local SME housebuilders.”
The funding is for the supply of new build affordable housing, not met by the market.
Nick Walkley, CEO of Homes England, said: “There will be more of this to follow as we seek to use all our programmes to ramp up MMC capacity and capability.”
- Off Site Manufacturing – Volumetric
- OSM – Panellised
- OSM – Hybrid
- OSM – Sub-assemblies and components
- Non-OSM Modern Methods of Construction
Homes England said non-OSM methods of construction “is intended to encompass schemes utilising innovative housing building techniques and structural systems that fall outside the OSM categories. The presence of innovation is an essential feature that might manifest itself through an innovative non-OSM building system, through a building technique familiar in other sectors but new to house-building, or through traditional components being combined in innovative ways. Typically, ‘TunnelForm’ or H + H Celcon ‘Thin joint blocks’ would fall within this category.”
The funding also supports wider strategic objectives, including:
- Encouraging uptake of the National Design Guide, which is part of the government’s collection of planning practice guidance within the National Planning Policy Framework.
- Improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of new affordable housing supply.
- Encouraging the use of SME contractors.
To allow for this, some of these elements are included in the assessment criteria for funding applications, and others are included in the standard conditions of funding.