• Outputs

    Outputs

Advanced MMC prototyping - supplier sandpit activity

AIMCH work package 6 (WP6) focused on advanced Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) prototyping. It was led by Barratt Developments with significant contributions from Stewart Milne Group (SMG), London & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q), Forster Roofing and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

This two-year work package included a ‘supplier sandpit’ activity. Suppliers across the chain were invited to submit promising MMC and Net Zero Carbon components, products and systems to be assessed for use in trials. The aim was to identify and support development of products and systems likely to support the future needs of the housebuilding industry.

summary

The initial proposal for the sandpit process was created by Barratt Developments and agreed with WP6 partners. It invited submissions from across the supply chain in three main categories:

  • Advanced Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Solutions
  • Standardisation
  • Zero Carbon

As responses began to come in, the level of interest and number of submissions added two further categories:

  • Future homes
  • Off-site manufacture/Pre-manufactured value

Every submission – including submissions from project partners – was reviewed and evaluated against a scoring matrix. Those that made it through the initial stage were workshopped with proposers and project partners before being rejected or progressed to stage two. At the time of writing (April 2022), 66% of the initial submissions remain in review or in progress.

The project has created a unique range of near-to-market systems and solutions that could significantly impact AIMCH goals: to increase the numbers of high quality, functional and appealing net zero carbon homes, safely, efficiently and affordably.

 

JOURNEY

Once the initial proposal for the sandpit process was agreed it was promoted via aimch.co.uk, with support from Construction Product Association (CPA) and other AIMCH stakeholder supporters.

The agreed format and content were launched in May 2021 with three initial challenges:

  1. Advanced MMC solutions: Proposals for MMC products/systems to improve (e.g.) productivity, resource, waste, and quality, delivering homes more reliably and at lower cost.
  2. Standardisation solutions: Proposals for standardised product families/components offering near-to-market, scalable, technically robust/proven and commercially-viable solutions to complement partners’ housing designs and be easily implemented into operations.
  3. Zero carbon solutions: Proposals for commercially viable and adaptable products/systems that support the journey towards net zero carbon, for example by improving thermal efficiency, reducing embodied carbon, and helping to achieve 100% carbon reduction for our homes.

Due to the number of submissions received and the breadth of interest in the project, two further challenges were added to help categorisation:

  • Future Home
  • Off-site manufacture/Pre Manufactured Value (PMV)

These two additional categories were particularly relevant, given the more demanding requirements driven by upcoming regulatory standards and changes in affordable housing policies. They also supported the increased scope of the AIMCH project that came from Barratt Development’s commitment to building a net zero carbon demonstrator in conjunction with Salford University.

Suppliers submitted proposals via a pre-qualification questionnaire. Submissions were then assigned to appropriate challenges and a member of the partnership team for assessment and progression as appropriate.

38 submissions were received during 2021. At the time of writing (April 2022), 66% are still live and being progressed by AIMCH partners.

 

OUTCOMES

Submissions still under review or being progressed against each category:

Advanced MMC solutions

Of ten entries, three are being progressed:

  • Lightweight metal roofing system
  • Enhanced insulation
  • Pre-fitted plumbing solutions

Standardisation Solutions

Two submissions were received, which is demonstrates the challenges of standardisation. One remains under review, relating to the supply of window and door systems.

Zero Carbon solutions

Of ten entries, two are still under review and five are being progressed. The high level of interest in this category shows a rapid transition towards the efficient, integrated, and renewable energy solutions demanded by new building regulations, government policies and the buying public.

Future Home

Of five submissions, two are under review and one is being progressed, all relating to underfloor, skirting board and IR heating solutions. Two are in trial in Barratt Developments’ zero carbon house.

Off-site manufacture/PMV

Of 11 entries, four are under review and seven are being progressed. The level of interest in these solutions is reflective of AIMCH partners’ drive towards higher levels of off-site construction and higher PMV.

 

Conclusion

The Supplier Sandpit project elicited submissions from across the supply chain, almost a quarter of which are still under review, and more than 40% are being actively progressed.

The review and progression process will continue beyond the end of the AIMCH project in April 2022, which could lead to implementation of some solutions, or incorporation into future R&D and demonstrator projects.

The Future Home category is likely to expand significantly as house-builders and suppliers develop solutions to meet future regulation and government policy changes. Through engagement with supply chain and creation/exploitation of future industrialised housing techniques, AIMCH intends to meet these changes and deliver zero carbon homes safely, efficiently and at an affordable cost.