Housing minister Esther McVey has named Mark Farmer, author of the influential Modernise or Die report and CEO of Cast Consultancy, as ‘champion of modern methods of construction (MMC) in housebuilding’.
Mark Farmer is known for his 2016 report the Farmer Review, also known by its subtitle, ‘Modernise or Die’, which identified key failings in the British construction industry. He brings 30 years’ experience in construction to the role and will provide independent scrutiny and advice to the government on how to increase the use of MMC in homebuilding. He will also be charged with developing the ‘Construction Corridor’ in the North and promoting wider innovation in the sector.
Farmer will also act as an ambassador overseas for the UK’s MMC activities in homebuilding, using international networks and trade opportunities to attract investment into an industry that could be worth an estimated £40 billion once mature.
It follows a major funding deal, as the Housing Minister announced the government was injecting £30m into ilke Homes, the biggest ever government investment in an MMC factory, as we develop a Construction Corridor in the North. This new, transformational funding will play a crucial role in the scaling up of production, bringing down production costs and allowing up to 8 homes, which will create less waste and be more energy efficient, to be built a day.
Mark Farmer: “I am delighted to have been asked to carry out this new role. This is a really important time for the construction industry and there is an urgent need to rethink how we build homes, delivering better quality, improved safety, carbon reduction and an array of exciting new career opportunities. I look forward to working with both industry and government to make sure we now accelerate the uptake of modern methods of construction.”
Russell Pedley, co-founder at Assael Architecture, who co-chairs the Urban Land Institute UK Residential Council with Mark Farmer, said: “Mark is the perfect ambassador for the sector and this welcome appointment shows ministers are really prioritising ways to build cleaner, better quality homes more quickly in factories. Modern Methods of Construction are a combination of offsite manufacturing and onsite techniques that provide alternatives to traditional house building, allowing homes to be built quickly, be more energy efficient and better designed. It can deliver high-quality housing at pace and it has been shown that some homes built using modern methods have 80% fewer defects and can reduce heating bills by to 70%.”