Traditional builders wanted for £800m MMC framework

Procurement for Housing (PfH) is putting together a new framework, expected to be worth £800m over four years, on behalf of Building Better.

Building Better is an alliance of housing associations and councils, backed by the National Housing Federation, set up to increase the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) in social housing.

With a growing number of MMC manufacturers supplying only their systems – rather than taking the principal contractor role – housing providers want to bring in local construction firms who can lead offsite projects.

The Integrated Traditional Build & MMC framework is being put together in response to calls from social housing providers for a compliant way of involving trusted, local contractors on MMC projects, where elements of traditional construction are often still needed.

Traditional builders will be appointed for 10 different regions of England and Wales, offering their services as lead contractor on MMC projects.

The framework will cover the construction of housing, apartments, and extra care homes and there will be a regional lot structure. A contract notice will be issued in March 2024, with successful bidders appointed in the summer.

PfH technical manager Tony Woods said: “We’ve been talking to traditional contractors to find out how they’d want to work on MMC schemes and, interestingly, many of their requests are the same as those from offsite manufacturers. Both want to be engaged early in the process, before set designs are in place. Both want a more transparent way of working with wider use of ‘pain and gain’ agreements and a simpler, more collaborative contracting environment. This feedback is now being used to design our integrated framework.”

Building Better director Trina Chakravarti said: “Increasingly, our members want a blend of different construction methods on their MMC projects. Traditional SME construction firms have a huge amount of expertise, and we’re keen to harness this through the framework. Using a collaborative approach means that manufacturers can concentrate on delivering their product, traditional firms can take control of the building process and we can offer housing associations and councils a wide range of construction solutions.”

Building Better also has an MMC Category 1 volumetric framework that launched in July 2021. In May 2022 it launched a MMC Category 2 dynamic purchasing system.

For further information about the Integrated Traditional Build & MMC framework, contact Tony Woods at Procurement for Housing (PfH)

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