Arcadis has joined forces with a consortium of partners, including Bristol City Council, to support a major new initiative that will explore innovative housing solutions across the city. Benefitting from £3m grant funding from Innovate UK, the project will look at how Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) can help to cut the costs of housing production and increase the speed of delivery.
The project is a partnership led by YTKO between Bristol City Council, the Bristol Housing Festival, the British Research Establishment and nine other leading modular housing companies. The brainchild of the Bristol Housing Festival, who are supported by both Bristol City Council and West of England Combined Authority, the project aims to improve the speed, cost and social value of nearly £78m of housing set to be built in the city over the next five years.
Arcadis’s role will be to help create a ‘toolkit’ for delivery, using a digital tool to aid urban planning and viability by building new sets of algorithms and data geared towards enabling MMC planning. This data will help MMC providers — such as project partners L&G Modular Homes, Modulous and ZEDpods — understand the timescales, production requirements and how they can make efficiencies to the delivery process. The data could also help Bristol City Council’s planning department compile a local plan for MMC delivery.
Using modern methods of construction to deliver new homes — whereby elements are built offsite in a factory environment and then transported to site and assembled — helps to speed up the construction programme and means homes can come to market far more quickly. It also provides greater cost certainty, since the factory environment takes away many of the variables associated with a traditional construction site.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Building enough affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges we face across the country, and as a city we are not afraid to explore innovative ways of delivering better value, high quality, homes.
“This project is only possible thanks to the collaboration of our many partners across the housing sector. I would like to thank everyone who played a part in securing this funding, and I am looking forward to seeing what exciting developments come forward as a result.”
Jonathan Moore (pictured), Digital Product Lead at Arcadis, added: “It is clear that traditional methods of housebuilding are not always delivering the volume of new homes we need. Finding new and innovative solutions to tackle supply-and-demand problems and help to solve many of the affordability challenges has to be a priority, and Modern Methods of Construction offers one such solution. Combining this approach with the use of data and analytics to help inform and streamline the planning process will only help to accelerate delivery and ensure we are building the right types of homes, when and where they are most needed.”
Header image of Bristol ©maryrose5/AdobeStock.