MMC Ireland is a new industry body established to develop Ireland’s offsite and other modern methods of construction. It will achieve this by sharing sectoral knowledge and insights and engaging with state and industry bodies to facilitate adoption.
2022 saw the launch of MMC Ireland, an industry collective established to represent companies involved in the planning, design, procurement or delivery of offsite and other modern methods of construction (MMC) in Ireland. Construction in Ireland, and indeed globally, is in transition, and innovation and collaboration will be vital in building a more effective and sustainable sector. MMC Ireland, as an industry representative body, has the ability to collaborate with all key stakeholders and governmental bodies, facilitating the exchange of technical and project learnings.
The Irish government has strongly committed to enabling a more efficient and sustainable approach to building design, construction and operation. Under the ambitious National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework, offsite and other MMC have a vital role to play. This is particularly important for the post-pandemic recovery of our built environment, economy and communities.
More than three years in the making, MMC Ireland is a collaboration of industry talent and experience, working in partnership to ensure successful industry delivery of these national ambitions. But the industry needs a roadmap from the government, showing how existing procurement processes can be aligned with the ongoing housing needs of the nation. Offsite and other MMC will be a critical part of the delivery plans, and not just as an emergency response.
As the single largest buyer of construction services, the state has a massive task ahead in terms of aligning its procurement processes with the increasing demand for housing, healthcare and educational buildings and the ever-increasing capabilities of the offsite and MMC sector in Ireland. The industry is rising to the challenge and needs to be aided by the state through a regulatory framework that supports on-the-ground delivery. While this started to happen as part of the state’s Covid-19 response and as a part of its response to providing quality accommodation to people displaced by the ongoing war in Ukrainian, offsite and other forms of MMC have much to offer beyond emergency response. They are the way forward for efficient, effective delivery of the built environment.
MMC Ireland is focused on the recognised seven categories of MMC, namely: volumetric modular, structural panelised, offsite components, additive manufacture, non-structural assembles and sub-assembles, offsite building material improvements and onsite process improvement.
Together, the almost 40-strong membership is looking at ways to enable a significant increase in housing delivery of all types and tenures right across the country.
Critically, 54% of Ireland-based companies using offsite and other MMC do not believe the right skills are currently available, according to research carried out by the Construction Professionals Skillnet earlier this year.
MMC Ireland acknowledges this as a challenge facing MMC adoption. The organisation has a number of working groups, including an Education/Skills Group that is currently identifying critical knowledge and skills gaps across the various disciplines that can be addressed either through collaborating with existing state and academic facilities or through delivering industry-focused CPD.
As many MMC Ireland members operate in markets other than Ireland, there is a sense that the Irish industry needs to upskill beyond current standards and technologies and regain the global leadership position that it held two decades ago.
MMC Ireland membership
The genesis of MMC Ireland can be traced back to a gathering in 2019, where the chairman of both Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems, John Fleming, inspired the industry with a vision of ‘Rebuilding Ireland through Modular Construction’.
Today, many of Ireland’s best-known construction brands are among the members of this integral industry body, including C+W O’Brien Architects, Evolusion Innovation, Horizon Offsite. O’Dwyer Steel, Glenveagh, Cairn Homes, Clancy, NorDan Vinduer, Peppard Investments Limited, John Sisk & Son Ltd, Xtratherm, Errigal, Arc Engineering Ltd, Vision-Built, John Paul Construction, CarlowBuild, Actavo, Framespace Solutions, ABM Design and Build Ltd, Procon Modular, LMC Group Ltd, Mac Zero Modular Buildings, Hines Ireland, HLM Architects, Saint-Gobain Ireland, Platt Reilly, CPAC Modular, Rothoblaas srl, PETRUF Consulting Structural Engineers, Steelframe (part of Montane Developments), Visor MMC, Instaspace and Greenspan.
The over-arching objectives of the body are to develop and promote Ireland’s MMC sector, nationally and internationally, in order to build knowledge and awareness of the benefits of offsite and other MMC. This work has already started through the coming together of the sector over the past year.
MMC Ireland members have committed to sharing sectoral knowledge and case studies to better understand the current obstacles to adoption. The intended outcome will be a more developed supply chain with a strengthened capacity.
Another important facet of the organisation is exploring how best the industry can feed insights to the state to ensure a regulatory environment that addresses common challenges relating to product and system testing, certification and quality. Where possible, MMC Ireland members are actively engaging with governmental and sectoral bodies, work groups and task forces to share knowledge and project learnings, with a view to assisting with the development of greater efficiencies in procurement policies.
The resourcing of state departments, state agencies and academia to support MMC and emerging technologies for the built environment has been welcomed by the industry. And in the proud tradition of the three-legged stool, the robust voice of industry will need to be captured and included in any meaningful conversation about the future of construction. It is a voice the organisation is ready to use together.
MMC Ireland members are already working to gather insights and identify common challenges or obstacles to MMC adoption.
For 2023, the MMC Ireland team will continue to work closely with stakeholders from the public sector, the private sector and academia to ensure those insights feed into relevant policymaking for the successful growth of offsite and other MMC in Ireland.
By coming together, MMC industry leaders are already sharing best practices and exploring data-driven ways of benchmarking performance, all with sustainability and the circular economy at the fore.
General membership of MMC Ireland is now open to organisations involved in the design, procurement and delivery of offsite and other MMC in Ireland.
Further information is available at www.mmcireland.ie
MMC Ireland Members’ Board
The MMC Ireland members’ board comprises Declan Wallace, Evolusion Innovation; Pat Kirwan, C+W O’Brien Architects; Tony McLoughlin, Glenveagh Properties plc; Eoin Waldron, Castle Modular; Ger Fahey, Horizon Offsite Ltd; Richard Walsh, O’Dwyer Steel; and Kevin Loftus, Cairn Homes plc.
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