Traditional builders wanted for MMC framework

Grant Prior 2 weeks ago

Social housing clients are looking for a raft of traditional contractors to join a new £800m modern methods of construction framework.

The Building Better alliance of housing associations and councils was set up to increase the use of MMC in social housing.

It is now working with Procurement for Housing (PfH) to develop the £800m framework which will run over four years.

Traditional construction firms in 10 different regions of England and Wales will be appointed, offering their services as lead contractor on MMC projects.

The ‘Integrated Traditional Build & MMC framework’ is being designed in response to calls from social housing providers for a compliant way of involving trusted, local contractors on MMC projects, where elements of traditional construction are often still needed.

A growing number of MMC manufacturers are supplying only their systems – rather than taking the principal contractor role –  so housing providers want to bring in local, trusted construction firms who can lead offsite projects.

To shape the framework, PfH and Building Better have spoken to SME building firms across the country, gathering feedback on how an agreement would best work, including ways to make the procurement process more straightforward and to develop the most effective contracting environment.

The framework will cover the construction of housing, apartments, and extra care homes and there will be a regional lot structure. A contract notice will be issued in March 2024, with successful bidders appointed in the summer.

Tony Woods, Technical Manager – Construction & Sustainability for PfH said: “We’ve been talking to traditional contractors to find out how they’d want to work on MMC schemes and, interestingly, many of their requests are the same as those from offsite manufacturers.

“Both want to be engaged early in the process, before set designs are in place. Both want a more transparent way of working with wider use of ‘pain and gain’ agreements and a simpler, more collaborative contracting environment. This feedback is now being used to design our integrated framework.”

Trina Chakravarti, Director of Building Better said: “Increasingly, our members want a blend of different construction methods on their MMC projects.

“Traditional SME construction firms have a huge amount of expertise, and we’re keen to harness this through the framework. Using a collaborative approach means that manufacturers can concentrate on delivering their product, traditional firms can take control of the building process and we can offer housing associations and councils a wide range of construction solutions.”

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