UNLOCKING INNOVATION IN CONSTRUCTION TO BE THE BEST IN THE WEST
Tackling the housing crisis is a priority for all local authorities, but in the West and South West of England public sector housing represents the fastest growing area of construction, with Bristol City Council alone committed to building 2,000 new homes every year.
Offsite, low-carbon, housing is seen as the solution to building high-quality homes at this scale and pace, but there are major challenges to unlocking these types of modern methods of construction (MMC) in a rapidly evolving marketplace.
Developed in partnership with YTKO, the Bristol Housing Festival, Bristol City Council and nine modular housing providers (and backed by Innovate UK), the solution was to build a database which could allow local authorities to analyse the marketplace and define their requirements before procuring against a dynamic purchasing system (DPS).
Constructing Modern Methods lead, Philip Stott, said: “Several local authorities have found that they want to use these new offsite systems for meeting their housing needs but have no idea where to start.”
He continued, “There is a huge variety of offerings in the marketplace from panel systems to full homes arriving on backs of lorries and they all have strengths. Our database helps the user in the local authority to understand this market quickly and then provide a robust, and importantly compliant, procurement process so they can tender against the values which matter to them.”
The Dynamic Purchasing System combined with the CMM tool will enable social housing providers to input their specific requirements and match them against an extensive list of approved offsite suppliers to provide an affordable housing solution without having to have spent many months researching the market.
Founder of The Bristol Housing Festival, Jez Sweetland, said: “The Innovate UK project provided an essential context within which to work with Bristol City Council and the support of West of England Combined Authority to address some of the operational barriers to MMC and to co-design a solution to help meet the region’s strategic goals in terms of sustainable, affordable high-quality housing delivered at pace.”
SWPA, the South West hub of the London Housing Consortium (LHC) has long standing experience in offering frameworks and other procurement solutions for the public sector and has in recent years built up a portfolio of expertise in MMC solutions through traditional construction and offsite frameworks. Working together with CMM and developing a procurement solution provides the opportunity for many new and emerging MMC/offsite suppliers to engage with public sector organisations. It is hoped that these will come forward from the whole of the South West region supporting and boosting the local economy.
Mary Bennell, Director at SWPA, added: “this is much more than just launching another procurement solution for offsite/MMC housing. It is about driving real innovation in how we create outcome-led procurement, something which the Government is keen to implement in its recently published Playbook.”
“Working with Constructing Modern Methods has been fantastic as we are able to offer Local Authorities a complete solution package so they can actually create a proper strategic approach to finding their offsite contractor to meet their housing needs.”
“The size of the procurement DPS reflects the scale of ambition in the region and we expect to see at least £1.1bn of MMC housing delivered over the next 8 years.”
MMC/offsite construction companies, housing associations or Local Authorities wishing to be involved in the consultation can contact firstname.lastname@example.org