News comes as government departments team up to look at modern methods of construction
Government is assembling a £1.2bn framework for the provision of temporary and permanent modular buildings primarily for use in education and healthcare.
It comes as a cross-department working group on modern methods of construction (MMC) is looking at how best to build more of the government estate using the initiative.
The government wants the industry to embrace MMC, with the prime minister telling companies in May that it can “drive innovation and higher standards in the construction sector”.
But take-up has been slow as contractors lack the cash or margins to invest in new methods.
Now central government, by far the largest single construction client in the UK, is looking at how it can stimulate change.
Contractors have until 17 December to throw their hat in the ring for a shot at any of seven lots to provide modular buildings – three of which are for non-education or healthcare-related buildings.
By far the largest lot, at £522m, is for the provision of permanent modular units for education.
The seven lots in the modular framework – with value
Lot 1. Purchase of education-related modular buildings – £522m
Lot 2. Purchase of healthcare-related modular buildings – £72m
Lot 3. Hire of education-related modular buildings – £44m
Lot 4. Hire of healthcare-related modular buildings – £24m
Lot 5. Hire or purchase of non-education and non-healthcare related modular buildings of capital cost up to £750,000 or hire cost of up to £150,000 – £182m
Lot 6. Hire or purchase of non-education and non-healthcare related modular buildings of capital cost up from £750,000 to £3.5m or hire cost from £150,000 to £700,000 – £106m
Lot 7. Hire or purchase of non-education and non-healthcare related modular buildings of capital cost greater than £3.5m or hire cost greater than £700,000 – £250m
Six government departments, who attend a working group alongside industry figures, have agreed to work together to scale their spending power and ensure value-for-money would be achieved if they added a mandatory MMC component to their procurement.
The working group is headed by Anna Evans, technical services director at the Ministry of Justice, with support from Alex Lubbock, head of digital construction at the Infrastructure Projects Authority.
Building understands that the Infrastructure Project Authority (IPA) has settled on a ‘kit’ of prefabricated components which could be used in construction of schools, barracks, prisons and residential buildings.
The IPA has asked the industry for its views on how best the government can implement design for manufacture and assembly in its capital programmes. Firms have until 17 February next year to send in responses. The IPA said the analysis would be used in next year’s Treasury Spending Review.
The six departments in the MMC working group
Ministry of Justice (Chair)
Department for Transport
Department of Health and Social Care
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Joined later)
Infrastructure and Projects Authority (Not a department; reports to HM Treasury and Cabinet Office)