Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) has published its second-year progress report showing encouraging results and key findings for the sector. 

AIMCH is a three-year research & development project aiming to help tackle the UK housing crisis by building new homes faster, to higher quality and more cost effectively by using panelised MMC systems rather than masonry methods. Its initial report examining house-building productivity was published in January 2020

Its latest report highlights several key lessons for the industry. AMICH said that one of the highlights is being able to achieve a weathertight, insulated and secure superstructure in just one day. It said that all advanced panelised MMC systems and lean construction solutions trialled so far have been successful and that early analysis is recognising the benefits of these advanced panelised MMC systems with the hard data to back it up.

Other outputs of the project in the last year include the completion of several studies and the publication of guides for industry:

  • Design standardisation and the development of product families;
  • Guide to creating a BIM housing manual;
  • Design for manufacturing & assembly (DFMA);
  • Designing a future factory .

Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH project director and Stewart Milne Group director of product development, said: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the project team has worked hard to build momentum and has delivered some important outputs which confirm panelised modern methods of construction (MMC) as a very real and viable alternative to masonry, over the final year, we hope to take this to a new level.”

Mark Farmer
Mark Farmer

New AIMCH chair Mark Farmer said: “Mainstreaming all categories of MMC is more important than ever. In a post-Covid world the sector needs to transform productivity, improve quality as well as improving the welfare of its workforce. We also need to find more sustainable ways of building in order to achieve a net zero-carbon built environment.

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“The AIMCH project has already made great progress across a number of fronts which will better enable greater MMC adoption across all parts of industry including   SME’s. The work done on design standardisation, panelised and sub-assembly system applications, productivity and carbon measurement and manufacturing process optimisation are all rich sources of knowledge for others to learn from and use.”

The project is a collaboration between Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments, L&Q, Forster Group, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC). It compares conventional and panelised MMC construction methods on actual building sites, and examines the impact scaling up panelised methods will have on the housebuilding industry.

The three-year project, which has been live since early 2019, has been trialling new digital design tools, manufacturing advancements, and near-to-market offsite panelised MMC systems, using lean site processes on live housing projects.

The goal of the project is to support the sector by delivering 120,000 homes for the same or less cost than traditional methods and built 30% quicker. The project has potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK each year.

Decarbonisation of the built environment is seen as a priority and the the project embarked on a study to measure and profile embodied carbon and whole life costing in the use of MMC systems across four housing types to current and near-zero carbon standards.  A strategy for a proof of concept, near-zero-carbon home trial was also developed with Barratt Developments.

The project also recognises the importance of SMEs and, through roofing specialist Forster Group, has helped accelerate take-up of its roofing technology, through collaborative learning and proof of concept trials with MTC and the AIMCH developers.

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