Key to driving forward the Inspiring 5050 agenda is understanding the wider issues affecting the housebuilding industry and how these will shape the future of the sector as it evolves. Inspiring 5050 spoke with James Stanbridge of Robinson Manufacturing to discuss modern methods of construction and the benefits of utilising innovative technology for housebuilding.

Modern methods of construction focus on off-site construction techniques meaning that a significant amount more work is carried out off site within a factory environment as an alternative to traditional building methods. Whilst described as modern, these techniques have been in existence for a while particularly in the post-war era when demand for housing was high but quality was low. However, subsequent advances particularly in the area of sustainable technology mean that modern methods of construction have the capacity to deliver better quality of homes than those by traditional methods.

Robinson Manufacturing are a major supplier of timber products to the house-building industry, including roof trusses, floor joists and timber frame panels. Head of Timber Frame, James Stanbridge shared his thoughts on the future of Timber Frame solutions as well as the many of the benefits with Inspiring 5050. This included a greater opportunity for innovation, improved quality and energy efficiency as well as the improved safety aspect of work being carried out in factory-controlled environments providing potentially less exposure to risks such as working for height. The 2017 Government White Paper: Fixing our broken housing market expressed support for the contribution which MMC is expected to make with the suggestion that it could lead to a 30% improvement in the speed of new home construction as well as a potential 25% reduction in costs.

Of particular importance is the sustainable aspect of timber frame and the part this will play as the UK focuses on its legally binding target of Net Zero by 2050. Modern methods of construction were endorsed by the Government in the 2021 Build Back Greener Strategy, outlining how all sectors of the economy would work towards the 2050 goal. With the housebuilding industry a major contributor to carbon emissions the use of timber solutions will play a key part in reaching this milestone. The use of Timber Frame is already considerable in the construction of new homes in Scotland with Time for Timber reporting it as the preferred method for 83% of new home building.

In an industry which has tended to progress less rapidly than other sectors when it comes to new ways of working whether that be through technological progress or workforce make-up, challenging the traditional and encouraging innovative methods to support further progression should go hand in hand to drive the industry forward.