The UK Government has stated that the UK needs an additional 120,000 homes each year. The housing sector faces many challenges in meeting this target, including skills shortages, an ageing workforce, poor productivity, low output and low affordability.
Set up in 2019, AIMCH (Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes) is a three-year research & development project aiming to help tackle the UK housing crisis by building new homes faster, to higher quality and more cost effectively than masonry methods using panelised MMC systems. The project will complete April 2022.
The project is a collaboration between Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments PLC, London & Quadrant Housing Trust Ltd, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Forster Roofing Services Ltd.
With funding by Innovate UK, the project was set up to tackle the challenges faced by the housing sector and become a major player in the housing sector by identifying and developing industrialised offsite solutions needed to meet current and future housebuilding demands. These have been trialled on live housing projects, with successful new methods then being commercialised and brought to market in volume.
The goal of the project is to support the sector by delivering up to 300,000 home target. The project has potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK each year.
The project has already published its two year report, outlining in more detail outputs delivered from the project thus far. The focus of activity and outputs are centred around:
- Digital Working & BIM
- Industrialised Housing Pattern Books
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Future Factories
- Panelised MMC systems and solutions
- Site Trialling and Prototyping
- Site Productivity Monitoring
- Embodied carbon
- Whole Life Costing
- MMC Viability
All outputs from AIMCH project are freely available for review and download from
Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH Project Director and Stewart Milne Group Director of Product Development, said: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the project team has worked hard to build momentum and has delivered some important outputs which confirm panelised modern methods of construction (MMC) as a very real and viable alternative to masonry. Over the final year we hope to take this to a new level.”
Mark Farmer, MMC expert and AIMCH Chair, said “The AIMCH project has already made great progress across a number of fronts which will better enable greater MMC adoption across all parts of industry including SME’s. The work done on design standardisation, panelised and sub-assembly system applications, productivity and carbon measurement and manufacturing process optimisation are all rich sources of knowledge for others to learn from and use.”
Prime Minister’s Visit
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Barratt Homes’ Stretton development Kings Quarter in August 2020, having the chance to see AIMCH homes being constructed using panelised (Category 2) modern methods of construction (MMC). The visit came as part of Johnson’s build back better campaign, visiting sites across the country to speak on new planning reform and learn more about the future of the construction industry. Barratt Developments’ Chief Executive David Thomas gave the Prime Minister a site tour along with local MP Andy Carter.
David Thomas, CEO Barratt Development said: “We were delighted to show the Prime Minister around our high-quality Kings Quarter development in Warrington and to hear government’s plans to reform the planning system.”
Visits like this are an important part of the AIMCH project, as one of the project’s goals is to further awareness and understanding of offsite manufacturing and construction. AIMCH will continue to inform and consult with key government and industry stakeholders as the project moves towards conclusion in 2022. In the project’s final year, several outputs and learnings for the sector will be completed and shared on the AIMCH website as well as at industry events, with final findings published in April 2022.
For AIMCH updates https://www.aimch.co.uk