Modern methods of construction and the ‘internet of things’

Modern methods of construction (MMC) and the Internet of things (IR4.0) are having a growing impact in both design and construction. We’ve seen an increase in prefabrication and off-site construction, shortening construction times and the drive for a more efficient use of resources. ‘Smarter’ buildings are leading to more service possibilities.

As far back as 2016, the NHBC found 98% of organisations questioned had used or considered an MMC approach, 75% for faster build reasons, 50% for improved build quality.

We are currently working on a new 22 storey BtR scheme in Sutton, South London. Working together with the Watkin Jones Built to Rent team, we have designed an offsite manufactured, sophisticated façade design, combining windows, bricks and panels, that overcomes site restriction issues.  This approach streamlines and shortens the construction process, minimises the potential for construction defects, improves build quality, durability and finishes, and reduces health and safety risk.

Are MMC better? Just like the automotive industry the construction sector should deploy technology with intelligence, but also have choice. The ‘artisan’ approach of time served skill & craftsmanship will still have a role to play as it has in some of our finest buildings in the region. Compare Bentley and McLaren to the Fords and Nissans in the automotive sector.

Will MMC solve the housing crisis? There is no quick fix, but this is one aspect that can really help drive efficient delivery.

On the Internet of Things, we learnt in our ground breaking research with Your Housing Group for the new Princes Dock Liverpool waterfront BtR Hive City Docks building how important infrastructure and functionality is for new 21st Century buildings. The next generation we are designing for expects wireless connectivity, information on demand and total efficiency as standard. Infrastructure is vital and our ability to future-proof tomorrow’s buildings and developments is key to everyone’s success.

Our 3D printer is our office contribution to the 4th Industrial Revolution, adding to the latest collaborative software and allowing us to rapid prototype concepts, test ideas and hone final designs.