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Housing News: Initiative to Make it Easier to Build Prefabricated Homes Backed by the Government

Housing initiative approved
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new housing agreement to make it easier to build new homes using modern methods of construction (MMC) has been backed by the government. 

The initiative will see four of the UK’s biggest warranty providers develop a set of standards for off-site homes built with MMC, so their structural integrity can be reviewed. 

Structural warranties are required to secure insurance and mortgages on new homes, which are designed to protect buyers of new build homes from any defects with design and construction. People who self build their own home, similarly, have to take out self build warranties.

This new agreement will make it easier to secure warranties against prefabricated homes built using MMC, and the government believes it is an important milestone in improving confidence in MMC-built homes. 

The suggested standards will all be agreed by four of the largest warranty providers in the UK: the National House Building Council (NHBC), BLP Insurance, Premier Guarantee and Local Authority Building Control (LABC).

Why is This Housing Initiative Significant?

Modern methods of construction are having a sizeable impact on the way homes are built off-site. Each project utilises detailed planning and design choices to help reduce cost, construction time and to maintain sustainability. 

MMC can be a means of achieving more energy efficient homes, and has the potential for mass production of homes, which can help to increase the number of affordable homes in the UK. 

In August, a report from real estate advisor Savills suggested that the proportion of homes built using MMC over the next 10 years will rise from roughly 8% today to around 20%. 

But a problem facing the government is that different warranty providers use different MMC standards when assessing homes, which makes it hard for insurers and mortgage lenders to know exactly how the homes have been assessed. 

This new initiative, launched by the government’s MMC working group, will deliver agreed measures to assess the reliability of and durability of homes built off-site with MMC. Moreover, it will lead to principal insurers being able to share knowledge about the use of MMC. 

Jeff Maxted, director of technical consultancy for BLP Insurance, said this would “increase industry and consumer confidence in the quality and durability of new homes built using MMC”.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher added that the initiative has designed to see the UK “leading the world in the design of high-quality, low-carbon homes with the mortgage and insurance products needed to support them”.