by: Mary-Anne Bowring/Property Investor Today
Rapidly growing area of the market
In one of the biggest signs yet that modern methods of construction (MMC) are going mainstream, NHBC, the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, has launched a new service dedicated to this rapidly growing area of the market. NHBC Accepts is described as ‘an all-inclusive, end-to-end service that will help to build confidence in innovative construction’, enabling MMC systems to be fast-tracked for NHBC warranty. Incorporated in the new service will be detailed and robust technical reviews at key stages, which will result in provision of a certificate (and acceptance for NHBC warranty), usage licence for a bespoke NHBC Accepts logo and website listing.
NHBC has been a long-standing supporter of innovation within construction and its experienced MMC team will be offering a personalised approach via various channels and dedicated touchpoints, ‘providing added value and confidence’. Richard Lankshear, NHBC’s innovation manager, said: “The case for innovative forms of construction has strengthened and, as housebuilding resumes, the drive to transform construction is accelerated.” He added: “We expect to see more innovative construction solutions emerge over coming years and NHBC’s thorough and rigorous approach to new MMC systems will help bring benefits to manufacturers, developers and builders.”
He said that all new homes across the UK that are covered by NHBC’s Buildmark warranty are inspected at key stages during construction by its ‘directly employed and highly skilled team’ of more than 350 inspectors. “An NHBC Accepts certificate is a way of demonstrating that innovative products or systems have already been reviewed thus reducing the risk of delays on site,” he explained. “NHBC Accepts will play a critical role in ensuring developers, manufacturers, lenders and consumers have faith and confidence in MMC quality as the industry delivers more innovative new homes for the country.”
A Step Forward
Mark Farmer, chief executive of Cast Consultancy and author of the Farmer Review of the construction industry, added: “I welcome the launch of NHBC Accepts. It’s a step forward that sees the UK market leader in warranty and insurance for new homes making its commitment to high-quality modern methods of construction clear.” How did the industry react? Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at property management firm Ringley, said that the (MMC) industry has made significant progress in recent years, thanks to government support and private investment.
“This acceptance from the NHBC will encourage further investment into MMC, which will be critical to greening Britain’s new housing supply,” she commented. “Institutional investment into alternative residential asset classes like Build to Rent and student accommodation has been key to driving the growth in MMC to date as MMC offers a number of qualities highly attractive to institutional investors such as quicker build time, improved energy performance and reduced waste and vehicle traffic on-site.” She added: “MMC gives institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers quicker access to greener, more sustainable and efficient assets that can produce the long-term income streams needed to match their liabilities.”
Joseph Daniels, founder and chief executive at eco housing developer Etopia, said: “This will be a really powerful force for better informing mortgage lenders and the wider financial services industry that homes manufactured in factories are not only fully insurable, but can often outperform traditionally built homes.” He continued: “Our own technology has been designed to exceed current building regulations and will ensure that, by using smart living technology, Etopia developments will deliver both better quality and exceptionally energy-efficient homes.”
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