Actis Insulation offsite manufacture

Actis backs Mark Farmer’s assertion that Covid-19 crisis will see acceleration in MMC

The Covid-19 crisis has seen pretty much every organisation across the world catapulted into a swift-moving learning curve – from video conferencing to grappling with online technologies.

And the speed of change over the past few weeks may be the trigger to propel the construction industry into placing more focus on offsite manufacture, believes insulation specialist Actis.

Its views echo the sentiments of the government’s MMC champion Mark Farmer, author of the seminal 2016 Farmer Review of the Construction Labour Model, which called on the industry to ‘modernise or die’.

As a few housebuilders return to site this week – with strict social distancing measures in place – industry leaders are collaborating (online) to see what lessons can be learned from the ongoing crisis, and how they can be prepared for future unexpected events of this magnitude.

Mark Farmer, a panellist at one such event: How does UK construction learn and move forward during this unprecedented time of Covid-19, shared his thoughts on Linked In.

“I have no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis will now accelerate some of the modernisation trends that the construction industry has been seeing in recent years. This market shock is unlike previous economic cycles which have dictated more flexibility and short term thinking in business models that have inherently led to greater loss of control and weaker structural resilience.

“In a world ahead where C-19 recurrences and other possible future pandemics will now have to be routinely planned for, a new breed of contractor, specialist and consultant will need to appear.”

Actis UK and Ireland sales director Mark Cooper added: “The Covid-19 crisis is forcing construction firms to rethink their processes and may see them place greater emphasis on modern methods of construction.  

“The UK is already desperately short of homes and the current crisis means we will have to work even smarter to address the growing shortfall. Using more streamlined methods with faster build times will go some way towards helping us catch up. 

“Timber frame homes are around 20% quicker - and cheaper - to build than their traditional alternatives, quality is far better controlled, and their thermal performance is often superb.

“Mark Farmer is passionate about encouraging industry to innovate, collaborate and invest in research and development.

“Innovation and collaboration have become some of the watchwords of the current crisis. On a personal level, local communities and families have been bonding over Zoom, taking care of vulnerable neighbours and clapping for the carers. Many businesses have found innovative ways to adapt. Pubs have become community shops, wholesalers have amended their business models to cater for the domestic market for example. And all in amazingly quick time.

“And in the same vein, the construction industry will have to adapt – not just in the short term, but to cope with a new future.

“We have seen more and more businesses coming to us for technical advice in recent weeks, as they use this period to plan their next projects and look at how they can adapt and deliver homes in a more efficient and effective manner. We have plenty of tools, as well as one-to-one expertise, which many are finding invaluable – especially in these trying times.”

 Actis offers a range of technical tools and advice which can help with planning. Find out more about them here.