Rowallan Castle Estate MMC Build

Modular building gets referenced a lot by government as a solution for building more housing more effectively, but how does that relate to self build?

NaCSBA member MMC Build is a team that offers professionals services, such as project managing, and works exclusively with modular projects. As a specialist, MMC Build is ideally placed to share the benefits of the model, helping you decide if it is the right choice for your self build.

What are modular homes?

Also called prefabricated homes, modular builds are factory fabricated in sections, with the system quickly constructing the house’s structure once on site.

At this stage the homes are erected to weathertight stage, and in most cases this shell is then handed over to the self builder to commission the remaining trades. However, some companies will also take the house to completion, so it’s important to ascertain at what point the home is handed over to you when researching firms.

The benefits of modular homes

Working in the modular field means that MMCBuild is able to relate to the wider benefits of building with MMC, and put that into the context of self build. These include:

Cost savings

Building in a factory is an efficient process in terms of materials (usage and purchase), labour and streamlining, and this can make these homes cost effective. However, while standardised design makes this more affordable in a speculative market (ie regular housing at scale), for one-off homes this saving can be eroded. So discuss cost implications of complicated designs with your modular provider early on. While a single modular home might not be as cheap as a whole estate of modular homes, it often stands up very well when compared to other self build models.

Speed of construction

Modular homes are quicker to build than traditional homes, and are especially quick on site due to the factory lead-time. This means there is less disruption locally due to a prolonged build, and less vulnerability to bad weather, which is ideal for self builders. On-site assembly is completed in weeks rather than months, but short on-site times need to be weighed up with lead times for busy companies.

Design flexibility

Most people tend to think that MMC homes must be identical for the method to work, but modular homes have a wide range of design options. Modules are customised and arranged in various configurations to create unique floor plans. They can also be clad in a variety of materials to give different aesthetics, including brick or brick slips to give the appearance of a traditional ‘brick-and-block’ build. However, as with all self build, simple designs are cheaper to build.

Energy efficiency

Modular homes are specifically designed to be energy efficient. They use energy-efficient materials and components, and the factory fabrication ensures they are airtight and keeps waste to an absolute minimum.

Quality construction

Again, the controlled factory environment ensures precision and a carefully-monitored process.

Overall, the modular construction allows for speed and efficiency, the reason why government likes MMC so much, as it holds great scope for getting more homes built quickly. In the self build arena there are many companies operating as modular providers, and MMC Build’s Rhys-Evans Edet has the following advice for self builders:

“Do your research to find a reputable modular home builder with experience of the UK market. For example, Dan-Wood House sells 1,000s of modular homes a year across Europe, and delivers many of these in the UK.

“Experience of building in the UK means that the company will be familiar with working to UK building regulations and standards, as it’s ultimately your responsibility as a self builder to ensure your contractors are building to the correct standards.

“Also, check that professionals, such as consultants and follow on trades, are familiar with the build method. Most modular companies will be able to share contacts that are trusted for the build out of the home.”

Rowallan Castle Estate (image) in Scotland includes modular custom build homes, as well as other plot opportunities. MMC Build is working with the enabling company to provide project management and health and safety for the site.


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