• Outputs


AIMCH: Transforming how we build homes

Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) has been a three year housing innovation project set up and delivered by leading industry and academic partners.

The project is a collaboration between Stewart Milne Group (SMG), Barratt Developments PLC (BDW), L&Q, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST, formerly Construction Scotland Innovation Centre) and Forster Group (FG). It has been managed by Limberger Associates.

Its goal has been to tackle challenges in the housing sector using industrialised housing techniques like digital working, standardisation and offsite construction and advanced manufacturing to transform how we deliver homes across the UK.


achievements - year one:

  • Research report on MMC productivity measurement, to inform methods and metrics
  • Onsite monitoring to set benchmark for productivity
  • Data mapping to develop digital business enterprise system
  • Partners reviewed house types to find opportunities for standardisation and standardised product families
  • Installation of trial homes with advanced panelised MMC build systems on a live Barratt Development/Homes England site near Warrington
  • Identified robotic and automation technology opportunities in three key manufacturing operations, to produce panelised timber MMC build
  • systems
  • Examined bills of quantities for various UK house types and developed regional cost benchmarks for commercial viability
  • Established AIMCH profile, stakeholder engagement and regular communications across the construction industry

achievements - year two:

Despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, the project gained significant momentum in its second year. Several outputs were completed, two new workstreams were added and activity continued across the entire project. In fact, the pandemic only accelerated the need to transform the way homes are constructed. AIMCH offers a real opportunity to innovate, recalibrate and exploit outputs as recovery continues.

Monitoring on 42 plots, recording more than 100,000 operative observations and collecting 500,000 pieces of data to evaluate masonry, open panel timber frame and advanced closed panel MMC methods

  • Barratt completed advanced closed panel timber frame units, including novel pre-tiled roof systems and scaffoldless erect MMC construction, achieving a weathertight, insulated, and secure superstructure in one day
  • L&Q completed trials on seven of nine onsite MMC initiatives
  • Study began to measure and profile Embodied Carbon (EC) and Whole Life Costing (WLC) of panelised MMC systems across four housing types to current and near zero carbon/energy standards, compared to conventional construction methods
  • Guide to Creating a BIM Housing Manual produced, providing a framework for developers to transition to 3D digital working
  • Developed methodology for and carried out housing standardisation studies, determining standardisation opportunities specific to housing
  • Created product families and concept recommendations for engagement with supply chain and use in future industrialised housing pattern books
  • Completed requirements mapping, analysis and vendor engagement for development of a digital business Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System suitable for Offsite Manufacturing (OSM)
  • Created a Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) Guide for Timber Panelised MMC Systems to optimise housing designs suitable for panelised MMC systems
  • Developed an advanced factory modelling tool (mathematical, 2D & 3D) to configure different solutions for future MMC factory investments
  • Completed proof of concept trials and progressed design solutions for advanced MMC robotic manufacturing work centres for panelised sheathing insulation, and window fitting, suitable for offsite factory applications
  • Analysed regional build costs for all construction methods across all areas of England and established full monetary values, £ per square feet and percentage differences
  • Captured detailed requirements and evaluated solutions for a proof of concept Augmented Reality (AR) as part of an advanced roof tiling solution to assist in selection, orientation and installation of roof coverings and Solar PV technology
  • Developed innovation challenges and supplier sandpit selection process for engagement with supply chain sector to identify potential solutions for advanced MMC, standardisation and zero carbon future technologies
  • Developed strategy for proof of concept near-zero carbon home trial with Barratt Developments PLC in conjunction with AIMCH
  • With a lifting technology partner, developed and trialled a novel, demountable roof beam system for lifting pretiled roof structures
  • Undertook and completed several fire tests, including BS 8414 full-scale testing, to evaluate panelised timber MMC systems and non-masonry façade solutions, future casting new technology and fire safe MMC systems
  • Presented at several high-profile events to disseminate ongoing learning and progress
  • Kept AIMCH up to date to promote shared learning, and undertook several stakeholder engagement meetings with key sector influencers
  • Connected through press and social media channels, as part of wider industry benefits and awareness
  • Mark Farmer appointed as AIMCH Chair in December 2020 on the retirement of Sir Edward Lister.

achievements - year THree:

  • AIMCH named MTC’s Collaborative Project of The Year 2022
  • AIMCH winner of the Innovation of the Year (Transition to Net Zero) award at Homes for Scotland 2022
  • Barratt Developments PLC, at Salford University, completes and opens to stakeholders the UK’s first zero-carbon prototype home of the future
  • Completed final analysis, conclusions and recommendations to inform investment in Digital Business Enterprise System (ERP), highlighting benefits and return on investment case
  • Developed a scaled-down digital business enterprise system proposals for SME offsite manufacturers
  • Stewart Milne Group (SMG) commits £750k investment in new ERP system for panelised MMC manufacturing and installation on site
  • Forster Group commits investment to deploy new ERP system for their roofing technology and growing business
  • Studies completed on robotic production processes with preferred technology partner. Recommendations developed to inform case for investment on new MMC production lines and robotic work centres
  • SMG commits £8.3m investment in new, world-leading robotic production lines for production of wall and floor panelised timber MMC building systems
  • Completed mathematical modelling and factory simulation, developing blueprints and recommendations for future MMC factories based on hub and spoke principles, to inform future investment case
  • SMG commits to building new 100,000ft2 panelised MMC factory to service growing demand for open and closed panel MMC systems, based on Future Factory blueprints and simulation developed by AIMCH
  • Supplier sandpit process successfully concluded, feedback given to suppliers and final report published on AIMCH website
  • Selected suppliers remain engaged with AIMCH partners beyond the project, significantly benefiting the housebuilding industry
  • Completed proof of concept trials for an advancedroofing system using augmented reality technology (AR) for future market introduction
  • Completed and published whole life carbon assessments for common house type suite, comparing masonry and panelised timber MMC methods, engaging stakeholders to share learnings
  • Completed and published whole life cost assessment, reviewing capital and repair and maintenance whole life commercial outcomes, comparing masonry and timber panelised MMC systems
  • Completed and analysed data captured from site productivity studies to evaluate the productivity benefits of a range of MMC solutions used on trial homes as compared to masonry built homes. Published final report findings
  • Completed Affordable Homes pattern books for exploitation on AIMCH developer future projects, maximising standardisation, DFMA and BIM principles
  • Developed a pre-configured affordable homes pattern book for third party developers through Donaldson Timber Systems (formerly Stewart Milne Timber Systems), for market introduction summer 2022
  • Completed end of project dissemination event at Future Build to share learnings and outcomes with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Maintained industry engagement through speaking opportunities at industry events, press and social media channels
  • Committed to retention and update of AIMCH website for two years after project end, ensuring documentation and collateral are available to industry as a legacy value.



This project has potential to impact the 35,000 homes delivered each year by AIMCH partners across the UK and more. Industry engagement and participation, information sharing and dissemination and active publicising of findings and results is helping to ensure housebuilders, suppliers and stakeholder influencers across the industry can adopt and benefit from results.

The ultimate goal of the project is to support the entire housing sector as it strives to deliver the UK Government’s new homes targets. That includes transitioning to zero carbon housing while reducing costs, improving quality and building homes more quickly and with minimal defects.

AIMCH was conducted across eleven work packages. The final report summarises key achievements over each of the three years, summarises the individual work packages and their conclusions, shares industry learnings and demonstrates industry engagement.