For the past few years, ‘going green’ has become a hot topic of conversation. With recent protests around the country and the UK government announcing a ‘climate emergency’ in May this year, it’s hard to ignore the responsibility for change across all sectors. With all eyes fixed currently on Westminster and elections, innovating to reduce social and environmental impact has somewhat faded in the background.
However, a recent announcement by ministers is set to get the wheels in motion.
On 24th October, Housing Minister Esther McVey stated that a ‘new centre of excellence’ for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) would be launching. This project, alongside funding deals worth £38.2m to six local authorities, would help to speed up house building across the country.
World-leading construction methods
This innovative step is pegged to give the north of England a positive boost and potentially make the region a world-leader in the creation of greener homes.
McVey also met with industry professionals including developers, businesses and academics to discuss her ambitions for the project.
Esther McVey said: “The benefits are clear. Some modular homes can be built in a factory over a week. And assembled on site in a day. Industry has told us some homes built using modern methods can have 80 per cent fewer defects and heating bills up to 70 per cent lower. Homes built using modern methods can be of higher quality, greener and built to last.
I want to see a housing green revolution in the north of England, where the first industrial revolution began. With our emphasis on safety, quality and beauty, we could be the global leaders in housing standards.
And if we get it right, once the industry matures it could be worth an estimated £40 billion to this country.”
Boosting skills and the local job market
The Minister also visited Factory 2050 that is part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Here she met several apprentices that are working towards Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering qualifications using the latest technology that will innovate the future of the construction industry.
Dave Sheridan, Executive Chairman at ilke Homes, said, “By ramping up offsite manufacturing in the UK’s northern regions, a range of digitally skilled employment opportunities can be created for areas that are experiencing some of the worst unemployment rates in the UK.”
This significant boost to the local economy will no doubt attract more people to the area. Further solidifying the north of England’s status as a hub for development and innovation.
Consultation and planning will no doubt follow this recent announcement. However, it’s an exciting and positive step towards reducing social and environmental impact across the construction and property sectors.