CIOB calls for increase in MMC in Ireland
CIOB has called for Irish Government to promote the development and expansion of MMC to help speed up the delivery of housing stock.
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has called for Irish Government to promote the development and expansion of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to help speed up the delivery of housing stock.
In a new report, published by TASC in tandem with CIOB, the world’s leading professional body for the built environment, the two organisations call for building materials and components to be pre-manufactured rather than being built on-site.
Construction experts say the expansion of MMC would not only speed up delivery of housing but would also tackle issues of quality and environmental impact within the construction sector.
Joseph Kilroy, Policy and Public Affairs manager for CIOB in Ireland, said: “Ireland’s housing crisis is well documented and is being felt by people across the country who are struggling to find quality and affordable places to live.
“By taking a fresh look at how new houses are built and increasing the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) we can build more homes more quickly and more sustainably without compromising on quality while reducing disruption for those already living near development sites. This method is already being used successfully in several other countries and it’s time Ireland followed suit.”
Key proposals in the report, called Modern Methods of Construction: barrers and benefits for Irish Housing, include:
- Use of social housing construction to drive MMC, which can also improve social housing construction. A stable and steady production system would enable manufacturers to plan, invest in relevant plant and machinery, and optimise the use of MMC. This, in turn, would bring down costs down and reassure funders and insurers.
- Greater standardisation of local authority designs for social housing, to assist and streamline efficiency of delivery and reduce production costs, to be progressed in conjunction with the LDA.
- Limit one-off housing to promote development within existing villages and towns, many of which have been in decline over the last 30 years, to assist standardised MMC strategies
- A review of height restrictions on timber-based buildings, utilising international comparative evidence.
Report author, Dr Robert Sweeney, says that expansion of MMC would not just speed up delivery of housing, it would assist on climate change targets and environmental safeguards.
“It would result in considerably less waste than conventional construction methods, enable construction to be carried out more quickly and would reduce disruption such as noise and truck traffic in local neighbourhoods” added.
Ireland has among the highest emissions per capita in the OECD and the EU. An estimated 37 per cent of these carbon emissions come from the built environment. Fourteen per cent of this is from embodied carbon arising from the production and transport of building materials such as concrete, as well as the maintenance, repair, and disposal of buildings and infrastructure.
The remaining 23 per cent is from the heating, lighting, and cooling of inefficiently designed and constructed buildings.
Dr Sweeney continued: “Construction time can be reduced by between four to six weeks, enabling a total reduction in project time of up to eight weeks. It could also help ease pressure on labour supply in the sector.
“There are some fire safety concerns with MMC which the government is currently reviewing. MMC would allow a shift away from cement towards materials such as timber and would promote a naturally occurring resource that absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.
“Development of additional training and skills to truly bring construction industry methods into the 21st century should accompany any initiative to expand the role of MMC, as a key driver in tackling slow delivery of both public and private housing.”
Ireland’s housing crisis is well documented and is being felt by people across the country who are struggling to find quality and affordable places to live.
Joseph Kilroy, Policy and Public Affairs Manager Ireland