An alliance of housing associations backed by the National Housing Federation is searching for manufacturers to be part of its £600m modern methods of construction (MMC) framework.
The 25 housing associations in ‘Building Better’ will select three manufacturers to join the framework, through which they have committed to manufacture 800 homes.
The move comes five months after the alliance selected Procurement for Housing (PfH) to deliver the framework for ‘MMC Category 1 Construction Systems’, which covers pre-manufactured, factory-produced buildings delivered to sites.
The work is split into three lots – low rise houses, medium rise flats and a combination of both – with one manufacturer to be appointed to each lot.
PfH will conduct a competitive dialogue with interested manufacturers before the final specification is compiled.
The procurement process will conclude in spring and the alliance hopes five schemes will start by the end of next year.
Procurement on a separate ‘MMC Category 2 Construction Systems’ framework will begin next year and will cover pre-manufactured, panelised systems that are assembled on-site to form 3D structures.
Building Better’s members have a broader pipeline of 4,500 homes to be built using MMC over the term of the five-year framework.
Trina Chakravarti, project director of Building Better, said: “Offsite manufacturing will only work in social housing through meaningful collaboration. That means housing providers aggregating their demand so manufacturers can sustain their factories. But it also means the sector engaging with manufacturers and being open to the development process, rather than having a predetermined idea of the product they want.”
Steve Malone, CEO at PfH, said: “One reason why offsite construction has failed in the past is the lack of genuine partnership work with manufacturers at the procurement phase.
“Many social landlords approach suppliers with a fully formed idea of the home they want; but being so prescriptive doesn’t work in an offsite market that is still developing. We’ve designed a procurement process that allows honest discussions with manufacturers before a tender spec is finalised.”