Combining off site manufacturing and on-site construction, Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is a broad term, but quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing areas in construction.
Recognising the importance of Modern Methods of Construction
The growth of MMC can be credited partly to the focus from the government, whose ‘Planning for the Future’ paper specifically mentions MMC as a means of delivering their ambitious plan of building 300,000 new homes every year.
But the upward trend for MMC was crystallised with the onset of the pandemic, as it has become clear that the sector needs to adapt and find new, innovative ways of working. Concerns around social distancing means that it makes sense to do more work in a spacious, easier-to-control environment like a factory, rather than a potentially tight construction site.
The last year has highlighted the demand for smarter construction practices, the need to replace outdated processes and to quicken the speed of change. At the end of 2020, the government published The Construction Playbook, detailing how government and industry should work together to deliver public sector works in a more efficient way.
Although the document pinpoints the public sector, the message contained within The Construction Playbook is relevant industrywide: the important role that the construction sector needs to play in reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. As an industry, and as each individual firm, we should be looking at our resources on every project to identify ways to decrease waste and improve sustainability.
To have any impact on reducing carbon emissions, architects, clients and contractors need to work together to understand the lifecycle of the building materials and the impact they have on the building’s overall carbon footprint. This should include the manufacture, transportation, build and maintenance of the material, right through to end of life.
Using steel, and steel frame structures (SFS), can be an effective way to reduce carbon emissions on a project. Produced largely from recycled materials, using steel can reduce waste by being put to re-use or recycled for another purpose at the end of its use.
With over twenty years’ experience installing site fixed lightweight steel framing to meet architectural designs across all types of building structures, we know the benefits it can bring to a project when compared with traditional brick and blockwork:
Better for the environment:
- Lower amounts of construction waste.
As SFS is pre-engineered, there is considerably less wastage on site when compared with other materials such as timber.
- Recycled product.
Helping to meet government legislation, steel sections are 100% recyclable. Any wastage on site can be recycled, and any end-of-life steel has the potential to be re-used. Steel can be produced with zero carbon emission.
- Energy efficient.
Precision engineered products improve airtightness and can reduce the building’s overall energy costs.
- Durable and long lasting.
Requiring little to no maintenance, lightweight steel framing can withstand exposure to weather and climates that brick would not survive.
A cost-effective option:
- Reduction in build time.
Being manufactured off site means less labour is needed on site, and often means earlier access for follow on trades. Generally, installing SFS can be up to 60% faster than a traditional build.
- Lightweight but high strength.
The lighter construction means a reduction in foundation materials and costs. The lightweight nature of the material also means that transportation is easier and more efficient.
- Less wastage.
Due to precision manufacturing, there will be less wastage and minimal re-work requirements with SFS, so costs are likely to be less than traditional methods.
Looking to the future, the benefits of SFS are clear. Used for both commercial and residential construction, the strong, low maintenance and energy efficient structures can contribute to a more sustainable construction industry.
Commenting on his experience working with SFS, Tony Hill, Managing Director says, “At Eden Facades, we’re proud of the strong relationships and collaborations we have built up within our supply chain, and specifically within this discipline, that enables us to deliver effective solutions for our clients. As a company, we embrace innovation and by using MMC where possible we can in our own small way help to shape the future of construction.”
If you have a lightweight structural framing project you would like to discuss with us, or to talk to us about our experience installing SFS, please contact us on 01268 744 199 or email email@example.com