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Special Collection

Modern methods of construction: beyond productivity improvement

Collection launched: 05 Jul 2022

The aim of this special collection is to examine the assumptions underpinning the prevailing ‘presumption in favour’ of modern methods of construction (MMC). Contributions provide evidence about the externalities which lie beyond the narrowly-defined construct of productivity.

The definition of MMC remains problematic, but an emerging consensus is that MMC is best understood on the basis of pre-manufactured value (PMV) – i.e. the proportion of offsite construction as a percentage of the total measured works. But as yet there is little research which extends beyond the traditional drivers of time, cost, quality and productivity. Much of the research which does exist comprises opinion surveys on levels of adoption, and perceived barriers to implementation. What remains largely unexplored are the temporal externalities which extend beyond the construction phase. Little evidence exists on the implications of MMC for the material fabric of the built environment. There is also a recurring reluctance to learn the lessons of the past. This is of particular concern within the context of housing, although it applies equally to other sectors.

This special collection explores the implications of MMC for the performance and longevity of buildings, and their ability to respond over time to shifting societal and occupant needs. The durability and adaptability of buildings are of central importance for resource consumption and for the achievement of a net-zero carbon economy. Particular concerns relate to environmental performance and occupant wellbeing After London’s Grenfell Tower fire, there are also significant concerns regarding the implications of MMC for fire safety.

Guest Editor:
Stuart D. Green (University of Reading)