New report examines house-building productivity

A new research report aims to help the house-building sector use data to demonstrate the value of modern methods of construction (MMC).

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he report has been produced by Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Home (AIMCH), an Innovation Consortium set up to modernise house-building. It examines construction productivity metrics with the aim of helping the industry evaluate productivity and respond to future demands. 

AIMCH is a collaborative innovation project involving private, public and academic partners that was set up in 2019 to transform how the construction industry builds homes.  The report, which is the first output of the £6.5m project, was carried out by the University of Dundee in association with Whole Life Consultants and managed by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC). The £6.5m AIMCH R&D project is a collaboration between Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments, London & Quadrant Housing Trust, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, CSIC and Forster Roofing Services.

The literature review examined previous construction productivity measurement studies in order to make recommendations on eight key metrics from 66 reviewed: safety, productivity, quality, cost, time, predictability, efficiency and material waste.

Professor Malcolm Horner, research lead and chair of Whole Life Consultants, said: “The aim of the review was to aid AIMCH and its partners to understand the current measurement landscape and to influence the way in which partners choose to measure productivity. The key recommendation is that partners use this report and the guidance to evaluate and select the metrics objectively. Partners should look at metrics in terms of simplicity, widespread use, cost and how well they relate to their strategic objectives and conditions.”

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The research consortium engaged in dialogue with AIMCH partners throughout the review to ensure the final report delivered guidance that would support the faster delivery of high-quality homes, more reliably and at the same cost as masonry-built homes.

Simon Cross, who leads the measurement work for the Construction Leadership Council’s Innovation in Buildings workstream, said that the team was pleased that AIMCH project metrics of are aligned to the published Smart Construction Dashboard. “Aligning metrics across the housing sector will enable small, medium and large supply chain businesses to demonstrate the value of smart construction and respond consistently to future demands,” he said. “Measuring data in this way is a much welcomed and major leap forward for the housing sector.”

Alan Johnston, CSIC project manager, strategic programmes, said: “The report is the first output from the three-year AIMCH project and provides clear recommendations on productivity metrics for organisations.  Initially scoped as a piece of work that would inform and influence future AIMCH workstreams, we are delighted that it has the potential to deliver tangible benefits now to the wider construction industry, and indeed other sectors who have also shown great interest, including transport and infrastructure.”

Further research and development from the AIMCH project is planned over the next three years. The research will be trialled on live housing projects, with successful new methods then being commercialised and brought to market in volume.

This article first appeared in All Construction news.