The consortium, led by YTKO, BRE and Bristol City Council, and containing nine leading MMC housing providers, will not only seek to develop new processes to deliver cheaper, better quality, more inclusive MMC housing; it will also develop the tools and resources to help local authorities across the UK drive MMC housing developments. To complement this approach the nine modular partners are all developing their own new approaches across sites in Bristol and the South of England and in doing so, creating an ecosystem of local supply chains that use MMC for social housing builds.
Bristol City Council and YTKO have engaged communities and groups which often remain disenfranchised from this type of programme. In the West of England, YTKO has engaged nearly 40% of all its beneficiaries from BAME backgrounds and over 67% are female. Furthermore, the project will engage Housing Associations such as Ashley Community Housing which works exclusively with residents from refugee backgrounds.
The test sites are creating affordable homes that support minority communities or those with diverse needs. Modulous has led sites such as The Bear in Lewisham that has created 33 affordable half way homes over a replacement Church and community facility; Greenacre Independent Living in Faversham with 12 assisted living homes for those with autism where the acoustic performance is particularly important; and Romney Avenue in Bristol which will be a BCC Housing Scheme.
In addition, some of the nine demonstrator sites are actively recruiting for a more gender and skills-diverse workforce by promoting the alternative working environments of MMC, flexible shift patterns and opportunity to learn new skills and qualification.
And as part of the legacy from this project, the consortium has committed to improving opportunities for diversity within the construction sector and YTKO’s CEO, Bev Hurley CBE, has formed and chairs an All-Party Parliamentary Research Group into social value in construction.
The minimisation of embodied carbon and energy in use for housing are key targets for this project and will be monitored as part of the project. Metrics being measured include thermal performance of the new homes, reduced waste on site and reduction in site traffic.
One of the aims of the project is to support, and work closely with, local supply chain partners to ensure they have fair and transparent access to market opportunities in MMC, so they can benefit from the new processes, not risk being displaced by them. By stimulating the MMC-based housing sector, this project will help create jobs. It will also address skills shortages in the wider construction sector and drive local growth.
Totally Modular are also running a design competition with the University of West of England Architecture school in February 2021 to encourage the students to consider MMC solutions and to demonstrate the use of standardised modules to create emergency accommodation on housing allocation sites across Bristol.
Bristol City Council is addressing barriers that block the mainstream use of MMCs at council level. This demonstrator will develop a council change model that can be replicated by other local authorities and enable better demand and supply capacity management. It will be supported by a digital toolbox that captures and shares data from the demonstrator project which other local authorities can use, to help their decision-making. Councils can then take these learnings into housing procurement to ensure that future contracts are awarded based on value, not just low cost.
Together YTKO and The Bristol Housing Festival are also working with a number of procurement framework providers to create a procurement solution which ties into the optioneering tool. This has already received additional engagement from four other local authorities.
The manufacturing processes tested on these 9 demonstrator sites will support Bristol City Council's commitment to ensure ensure social good comes out of its procurement of new homes. With YKTO and BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, the council is building better quality places to live - homes that support a community and improve the life and wellbeing of the household, as well as being more sustainable, more affordable to run and maintain, and use less waste and embodied carbon at design stage and throughout the life of the building.
The partners also plan to use the project findings to re-contextualise the conversation around MMC and analyse the whole-cost performance data for the builds. The University of the West of England and help the partners analyse this data to create a complete picture of residents’ benefits and improved health, wellbeing and ROI performance.