MMC survey facts

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING PART IN OUR MMC SURVEY – THE RESULTS ARE IN!

The great news is that over three quarters of you have heard about MMC! Those who answered yes were also aware of the different construction methods. The most well-known was Modular with 85% of respondents confirming their awareness of this method. In second place was Timber frame with 78%. The “bronze medal” was held by Steel frame at 66% then last but not least the Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) came in at 57%.

How important is it to you how your house is built?

The majority of you – 59% – answered “important” the other “half” – 41% – insisted “I do not care as long as it keeps me safe, dry and warm.”

Most respondents also were aware of the construction method of their own homes. It comes as no surprise that 85% of them live in homes built with bricks and mortar. 7% lived in Timber Frame and 5% lived in homes constructed with Structured Insulated Panels (SIPS). 5% of you were not aware of the construction type and nobody declared that they lived in a modular house.

We received lots of interesting answers to our question of how people would define MMC. Amongst them were:

  • “Multiple methods but one is pre-creating parts of house in a factory and then putting together like lego.”
  • “A quicker type of construction that is more economically friendly and cheaper that standard construction.”
  • “Pre constructed houses or large parts of a house factory made to make assembly on site quick and easy.”
  • “The application of materials and techniques developed as alternative to traditional brick construction that have been developed to reduce site construction time or environmental impact.”
  • “Often off-site, quality controlled and more sustainable than traditional methods.”

We also asked in the survey Which type of new build house would you buy”?

It brought a positive response from our point of view as 72% of people would choose precision engineered, highly energy efficient MMC and only 28% would go ahead with the traditional bricks and mortar. The people who would not choose MMC justified their reasons. They include:

  • “Risky as new to the market and not tested over the long term (60-70 years+).
  • Would be worried about mortgagability and think capital increase would be reduced vs bricks and mortar construction.
  • Put off due to issues with pre fab houses.”
  • “I believe it would be more expensive.”
  • “MMC is relatively new, and it isn’t fully known how long they will last, although a lot of manufacturer claim at least 60 years it isn’t yet proven. However bricks and mortar has been proven to last hundreds of years I would consider one however would like to see over the next 5 to 15 years how they weather and last.”
  • “Fear of the unknown.”
  • “At this point (I believe) the banks are behind the times and its much harder to get a mortgage on properties that are not standard construction. Plus I already have my eye in my dream house and it is made of bricks.”

When buying a new house what factors would be important to you? 

“Low utility bills/running costs” was the “winner” scoring 55.45%. People also considered as being important the “Quality workmanship (minimum snagging list)” – 54.46%. This was followed by High thermal performance at 50.50% Surprisingly “Attractive external/internal design” – 40.59% – came in ahead of the “Sustainable, environmentally friendly building” at 32.67%.

Which benefits of MMC are the MOST important to you?

 The most common answer was “Low utility bills/maintenance costs” with 30%. Secondly the “Sustainable, environmentally friendly building” with 23%. The third place was taken by Quality workmanship at 22%. Interestingly enough, the High thermal performance only collected 18%. It seemed that attractive external/internal design was not the priority for people as it reached just under 7%. 

Lastly we asked “What type of tools/resources would be helpful for people to learn more about MMC.”

“Building site visits” was the most popular – over 55% of people voted for this option, followed by video tutorials – around 53% – and the third place was taken by regular newsletters – 38%.

We will bear this in mind as we aim to continue to inform you about land development and MMC related topics, share knowledge and connect people to help each other in development.

The current Covid19 situation is also triggering the MMC industry. Mark Farmer, the government`s MMC champion said: “I have no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis will now accelerate some of the modernisation trends that the construction industry has been seeing in recent years.” An insulation specialist firm`s sales director, Mark Cooper stated: “The Covid-19 crisis is forcing construction firms to rethink their processes and may see them place greater emphasis on modern methods of construction. The UK is already desperately short of homes and the current crisis means we will have to work even smarter to address the growing shortfall. Using more streamlined methods with faster build times will go some way towards helping us catch up.”

OFF-market & OFF-site – the BEST of both worlds!

There are things that certainly put you OFF in land development such as huge timescales and bureaucratic processes. You wait for answers, acceptance from planning departments or confirmations from utility companies for ages and the list goes on… It may seem like a never-ending story which would cost you much if you use development finance and/or investors` funds. However, we believe a great ending to the story is achievable if you focus on a few details from the outset.

Let`s start with the LAND. Similarly like in property investment, if it is on the open market there is a high level of competition. Furthermore, we have been told by a very experienced developer, who operates nationwide, that most of the sites on Rightmove have already been trawled through by developers` spreadsheets and most probably the numbers did not stack up. Whether this is always the case or not we can`t confirm or deny… however, our experience is that land that is on the open market usually has a very tight budget for development. More often than not, this reduces the opportunity for a WIN-WIN situation. So, how can you satisfy all parties involved and make a decent offer to the vendor?

What really matters to vendors are certainty and speed. No doubt, they want to ensure that our offer meets with their financial expectations. Furthermore, they prefer to deal with a genuine buyer who is trustworthy and keeps their word after hands have been shaken on a deal. They may be approached by others who express interest in developing their land but, in the end, are afraid of doing so and taking on the risks or perhaps just lack time or knowledge.

How could we fulfil those expectations?

Whatever it is stopping the vendors from receiving the huge benefits of developing their land, there should be a solution and there is! So if you have a piece of land and you start  investigation to assess its potential, how do you mitigate the risk of you or your professional missing a detail or misjudging a situation that would detrimentally impact the end value or even render the whole project unviable?

Is it not worth digging a bit deeper to uncover opportunities and make it happen?

We are experts in finding a solution that achieves the maximum value for you. We negotiate a deal depending on your situation and the potential of the development whereby both parties can benefit. Simply, let us do the hard work to maximise the opportunity and mitigate the risk.

Why not take advantage of our expertise and our experienced team of professionals?

The beauty of OFF-market sites is: you start from a Blank Page. Setting up plans, actions, goals, agreements, terms and conditions based on your personal circumstances.

The land itself and planning conditions determines whether OFF-site construction methods, Modern Methods of Construction can be used, which then takes the development to another level.

The advantage of OFF-site manufacturing is based on speed and fixed production costs. The speed of on-site erection contributes to make the houses wind & watertight much quicker so it reduces the risks for you as a developer or our partner.

Last but not least, the other keyword is sustainability. Using sustainable materials and reducing wastage on site can help to address environmental issues and it also complies with the highest standards in the construction industry. 

MMC – must know about this!

If you missed our first presentation, “Building Better, Building Faster” in August for whatever reason – holiday, wedding or Love Island (?) and so on – not to worry! We put together a summary that would probably be useful for you.

Firstly, we shared our vision with the audience – check Winston Churchill`s quote on our Home page – as well as what can be achievable using Modern Methods of Construction.

The main issues the housing market is facing trigger the construction industry. How these issues can be solved?

“The 3 letters which influence the construction industry today and have the potential to solve the issues causing the housing crisis are: M M C” – this was one of the sentences being said at the Asana property meeting. This is not exaggeration. We talked about 4 different MMC methods and highlighted the benefits of these.

TIME: The speed of off-site manufacturing: reduced lead times. Speed of on-site erection: quicker progress to “wind & watertight” building. It could take a few days up to few weeks depending on the design and size. The whole development process can be reduced by HALF compare to the traditional way!

While the units or panels are being manufactured in the factory the developer can do the preparation works on site at the same time. By the time the foundation, utilities, roads are finished the structure of the building or whole volumetric modular houses are ready for delivery to the site and being installed as soon as possible.

COST EFFICIENCY: Fixed production costs provided by the manufacturers. Reduced development finance cost because the timeframe of a project. It takes less time to reach completion which means the cost of the borrowing is lower.

SUSTAINABILITY: Raw timber materials are sourced from well-managed, sustainable forests and have lower embodied carbon than other materials. Low wastage on site, less environmental impact on the local area.

Do you need to be an experienced developer to build sustainable, energy efficient houses? NO.

Do you have to deal with the same level of risk/stress as if you used traditional – bricks and mortar – method? NO.

We are convinced about the potential of MMC. Through our MMC developments we can ensure our partners achieve their goals by creating a multiplied win-win:

Landowners: Offering them creative solutions ie. JV partnership with profit share option.

Investors: High Return On Investment, 6 figures profit achievable. Reduced construction time, reduced risk level provide more control to the developer.   

End users: “future proof” home – warm, energy efficient house – dramatically reduced energy bills!

Would you like to be a member of the winning team? If you have similar aspirations and passion towards MMC we would like to hear from you and find out how we could work together.

Green Light for Green Belt?

Can we get green light on green belts for building “green” houses? This is one of the questions which triggered our mind recently and we thought we should have a look at this in detail.

In 2018, about 12.5% – 1,629,510 hectares – of England’s land area was designated as green belt. Developers are very cautious about investing in these as there is a 50-50 chance – or worse – of gaining planning permission… Is this trend about to change? There are movements to release more land for residential developments, let`s see what is happening in the North West.

Local authorities in the North West have built homes on 0.2% of their Green Belt land – according to Government figures* – which is below the national average.

0.2% of Green Belt in the region is currently taken up by housing, compared to a national average of 0.3%. (*Ministry of Communities, Housing & Local Government and covering authorities in England)

Manchester has the highest proportion of developed Green Belt in the North West. Of the region’s local authorities, Bury, Stockport, and Wyre have the highest amount of Green Belt developed for residential use at 0.5%.

Several Greater Manchester authorities will see chunks of land come out of the Green Belt if the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) is adopted. However, it seemed to be a controversial plan: thousands of people protested in Oldham against it. The mayor, Andy Burnham had to rewrite the document. The new version aims for slightly fewer new homes than previously, from 227,000 to 201,000. Around 15 green belt sites have been removed from the plan altogether.

On the other hand, there are signs of giving Green Light for Green Belt. For example, Warrington Borough Council’s Local Plan will see 18,900 homes built by 2037 of which 7,064 would be on green belt land. These include 5,000 homes in a new “garden suburb” near the M6 Lymm interchange, 1,600 on land near the River Mersey and 1,100 around Lymm, Culcheth and Burtonwood.

According to the statistics, planning committee members in the North West were focusing less on preserving the Green Belt, with a shift in priorities to providing more affordable homes. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) also uses its initiative to allow more lands available for development which is in their “Future Place” report:

“A process needs to be established for assembling sites and managing land development that is rebalanced in favour of the public interest and quicker delivery. Local authorities should be supported in engaging effectively with stakeholders in the land-assembly process, with compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) available as a last resort.”

It is necessary to apply more innovative ways of bringing land forward and incentivising the use of small plots using the following methods:

  • amendment of embedded planning conditions.
  • land vesting and stakeholder engagement (use of CPO as a last resort)
  • diversifying the market by allocating land for SME, community-led and custom-build developers alongside the majors

Formerly classed green belt areas are ideal for using MMC due to the following factors:

Off-site construction has the potential to deliver development more quickly, with reduced impact on the local environment, and to far higher standards than is possible with traditional building methods. It can also create improved working conditions, avoid seasonal disruption of site work.

Environmentally sustainable places will not only play their part in a low-carbon future but will provide a legacy which coming generations will be proud of. In our own time, homes in healthy, clean, resource-efficient neighbourhoods in the right places are more likely to attract potential owners or tenants by costing less to run from the start and retaining inherent value in the long term. Masterpeace focuses on finding a holistic solution that is in tune with the planners and local residents for greenbelt development projects. 

How are homes making footprints on our ecology?

The naked truth: UK is in ECOLOGICAL DEFICIT according to Global Footprint Network`s “National Footprint Accounts 2018 edition” Literally UK would need 4 times bigger land to maintain the population`s demand for goods and services. Unfortunately, this demand exceeds what the region’s ecosystems can renew. As a result, UK is importing, liquidating its own ecological assets and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Both the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity are expressed in global hectares (gha) – globally comparable, standardized hectares with world average productivity.

Let`s have a look at the details of the chart:

On the supply side, a state`s Biocapacity represents the productivity of its ecological assets including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land. These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions.

On the demand side, the Ecological Footprint measures the ecological assets that a given population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions.

Housing footprint

Housing is the sector that makes up the largest proportion of our individual footprint. In the UK, our homes account for 27% of our carbon emissions – from gas and electricity use to household appliances. This includes the physical footprint of the house as well as the impacts of supplying energy services, such as the forested land that would be required to sequester the CO2 that is emitted by heating and electricity provision.

The biggest predictors of a large footprint are having a higher income and a large house. This can be addressed, in part, by installing energy efficiency measures such as draught-proofing and insulation. For example, by insulating cavity walls we can cut heat loss by around a third. 11 million houses in the UK that could have cavity wall insulation have yet to install it…

Actions to reduce carbon emissions has been slow, with 21 million homes currently below EPC C rating… WWF UK is working to secure effective energy efficiency and renewable heat policies. In the run up to the Clean Growth Strategy, they successfully campaigned to get the Government setting a target to bring all homes in England and Wales to EPC rating C by 2035.

The Committee on Climate Change recently stated:

“From 2025 at the latest, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid. They should be heated using low-carbon energy sources, have ultra-high levels of energy efficiency alongside appropriate ventilation, and be timber-framed where possible.”

Modern Methods of Construction can help address environmental issues that we are facing today. Individuals and as an organisation we made it our primary objective to provide energy efficient, sustainable homes and it also complies with the highest standards where future changes in the construction industry will be adopted today.

We will publish a Blog in the future about the different construction methods which can help reducing carbon emissions and leaving a smaller footprint on our environment.

KO – “knock-on” – effects of BrrrrExit

What is happening now is making history. According to BBC, the UK leaving the EU is the biggest “story” in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It is shaking the EU and UK too but nobody really knows what consequences this historical change might bring to Great Britain.

This blog was not written to speculate on the political implications but rather to summarise the possible ripple effects of leaving the EU on the construction industry and HOW it can be mitigated.

According to the most recent Market /Cips UK Construction Purchasing Managers` Index the building trade has suffered a significant slowdown in activity due to uncertainty around Brexit. Similarly like the UK property market, this stagnation is caused by the delay in making decisions, with companies being unwilling to commit to a project due to economic concerns. The added complication of skills shortage and higher project costs looks likely to aggravate the housing crisis, rather than proactively accelerate to achieve the government’s plans.

The Import and Export of Building Materials

Freedom of movement of goods within the EU after Brexit is problematic. The potential of leaving the EU without a deal, risks losing tariff-free access to the single market. Without such access we would see a further rise in construction costs.

This could be mitigated by the government if they issue a UK public procurement policy stipulating the use of British companies and products only; this could enable some cost savings on any imposition of tariffs and duties. 

Skills Shortage (Centre for London report)

An ageing workforce – 12% of workers are estimated to leave the sector within the next 9 years (equivalent to 36,000 workers)

Low apprenticeship take up: The number of apprenticeship starts in construction, planning and the built environment in the capital has declined by almost 50% in the five years to 2016.

A reliance on EU workers:  One third of workers on construction sites in London from overseas. Reduced migration resulting from Brexit is likely to be a compounding factor. With EU workers choosing to migrate to countries that are easier to access such as Germany, this shortage of labour will likely result in British workers insisting on higher wages. Therefore the cost of housing projects would increase too. Will limiting immigration have a knock-on effect to the construction industry?

According to NHBC Foundation research carried out in the industry the concerns over skills shortages were given as the main reason encouraging the use of MMC. Other reasons are a wish to increase build speed and housing output and to improve quality.

In light of these pressures, the report suggests that offsite housing construction and manufacturing could help to achieve faster delivery on-site than traditional construction – with schemes completed in about two-thirds of the time.

It also suggests that offsite construction could help to shift the workload from constrained construction sites to the more controlled, safer environment of factories, reduce local environmental impact and help to diversify the workforce.

It is high time to “literally” demolish walls, making a path for innovative, “Brexit-proof” construction methods.

How deep is your love?

We love MMC! Don`t you miss out on something?

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) deserves a Blog on this webpage at least, but to be fair it should probably hit the headlines of the 6 o`clock news on all national televisions!

A family run development business like ours is amazed by the MMC technologies available today for providing sustainable, environmentally friendly homes. Our point of view on MMC is strong and during the last few months has become stronger and clearer. We visited several MMC sites; timber frame-, SIPs- and modular factories which gave us the boost for developing land using these methods in the Northwest. For more information visit our “Inspiration” – page.

More and more factories, suppliers and developers stepped into this market which is – undoubtedly – emerging. Several modular projects have been completed around the Northwest, such as Trinity Way in Manchester, New Islington or Widnes. At other locations, such as Skelmersdale and Sheffield – we visited sites where timber frame or SIPs panels were used.

The government housing accelerator, Homes England, has also recognised what a significant role the MMC can play in the new-build industry. Their aim is to help more people in England to access better homes in the right places. The following list of priorities can be found in the Homes England strategic plan:

  • providing investment products, including for major infrastructure
  • unlocking and enabling land
  • supporting modern methods of construction (MMC)
  • addressing the barriers facing smaller builders

Among the organisation`s “2018 to 2020 priorities” there are also referrals to the MMC:

  • incorporate MMC outcomes into our contracts, both for land and investment
  • support pilot projects where there is developer interest in testing MMC to learn lessons and understand costs
  • Encourage developers to use MMC and increase the capacity of the off-site manufacturing industry, including through our provision of development finance
  • develop and implement a consistent approach to measuring the impact of MMC in partnership with industry

It does not come as surprise that MMC has a major role in the long term priorities too:

“unlock surplus local authority land with capacity for up to 32,000 homes, by investing in infrastructure and enabling works through our Local Authority Accelerated Construction programme – in return, we will seek to secure commitments from local authorities to progress sites at pace and encourage the use of MMC”

Homes England also realised that not only the quantity but the quality is achievable by using Modern Methods of Construction.

We must embrace change to improve productivity and reduce the impact of the declining workforce. MMC has the potential to be significantly more productive than traditional methods of construction and greatly increase the pace of delivery. It can also improve the quality of construction, address labour and materials shortages and deliver a number of additional benefits such as improved energy efficiency and health and safety. As a result, developers are already introducing MMC.

Masterpeace Developments is proud to be in the “right boat” and believe that people around the North West can enjoy the benefits of MMC in their dream home provided by us. We are more than happy to have a conversation with you as a potential partner or investor in our next project. We are happy to share the love of MMC and bring other professionals on board for this purpose.

Tie the knot in (Master)peace!

This word, “Engagement” is the foundation of Masterpeace. It became reality in April 2018 when Tunde gave up her corporate job. Our property portfolio income allowed Tunde to be in the property business full time. Not long after, the “penny dropped” for us in terms of what is our future would be in property. 

Tunde`s vision started to become crystal clear. She had always desired to build eco-friendly, bespoke homes since she got introduced to property in 2012. The idea seemed to be out of our comfort zone at first but the circumstances and our attitude have changed since then. It enabled us to familiarise ourselves with property developments and to begin building the business.

The housing shortage in the UK is in favour of developments but not only for the traditional way of bricks and mortar. Following research we realised that with Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) we can fill those gaps on the market which the big nationwide developers did not touch in the past but their “appetite” is constantly growing for these innovative methods nowadays. This was the moment when we tied the knot with the MMC developments.

The next step was to create our brand for our new company. We were fortunate to work on this while we were in California on holiday in September. The name “Masterpeace” and was finally chosen during our stay in the “Sunshine County”.

On top of this, something else happened that would also make an impact on our future: I proposed Tunde. We got engaged on the beach by the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Romantic scene with a lifetime commitment, another knot was tied. 

We are engaged to Peace in personal life as well as in business, so our mission is to Master it day by day. There is no doubt, a warm and peaceful home is vital for living a happy life. Masterpeace homes are created for those who do not accept mediocracy. Instead, they take a leap forward to live in Masterpeace and to be proud of standing out of the crowd. We are pleased to hear from you if you would like to get to know us a bit more or would like to work with us. Masterpeace is the right place for like-minded people who believe in win-win solutions and growing together.