Lords committee wants full response before end of May

The housing minister has requested more time to respond to a House of Lords’ committee’s report into modern methods of construction (MMC) amid ongoing industry failures.  

In January, the Lords built environment finished its inquiry into the topic, finding that the government’s attempts to promote MMC were “in disarray” and in need of a more coherent strategy. 

The committee began its inquiry after the closure of L&G Modular and the collapse of House by Urban Splash and Ilke Homes, and its findings have been followed by further industry exits. 

ilke Homes installation at site in Hull

Ilke Homes is one of several MMC firms that has collapsed into administration in the past year

Beattie Passive and Lighthouse both recently filed notices to appoint administrators, while Modulous was liquidated in late January. 

In his interim response, housing minister Lee Rowley welcomed the report as “extremely helpful in articulating the areas of future focus and a number of key questions which absolutely do need further consideration by Government”. 

But he said that in light of recent announcements of modular firms going into administration, he would “like to give further detailed consideration to the development of MMC policy and how best this department can support the sector”.

>>See also: Government ‘can’t subsidise modern methods of construction forever’ warns housing minister

“Inevitably, that will take some time,” he added, asking for the committee’s permission to withhold a full response until late spring.  

Committee chair Lord Moylan accepted the government’s response but asked Rowley to confirm exactly when he intended to respond in full.  

Moylan suggested that this would ideally come “ahead of the Whitsun Recess”, which begins on 24 May. 

The committee’s report had called for the government to publish a comprehensive strategy by no later than the end of February. 

It also recommended that MMC requirements within the Affordable Homes programme be more targeted at category one and two MMC and asked the government what had become of the government’s MMC taskforce.  

Announced in the March 2021 budget with the purpose of taking forward work on data and standards, no chair was ever appointed to the taskforce and it has never met or spent a penny of its allocated £10m.