Building Better appoints PfH to establish offsite construction framework

An alliance of housing associations has appointed Procurement for Housing (PfH) to develop a offsite manufacturing procurement framework with the aim of building at least 500 homes.

Building Better, the National Housing Federation-supported alliance of registered providers working to speed up modern methods of construction (MMC) in the social housing sector, has selected the procurement provider to create a framework that will overcome barriers in social housing around offsite construction.

PfH will start work immediately on the ‘demand-led’ framework, which it is hoped will offer social landlords additional construction capacity and help them meet their new build targets.

Helen Greig, project director at Building Better said: We wanted a procurement partner with a strong understanding of delivering complicated frameworks that also had experience in modern methods of construction. Procurement for Housing have a loyal membership-base of over 900 housing providers and a strong understanding of the issues facing the sector and how to overcome challenges through collaborative procurement.

“We’re looking forward to working with PfH so we can raise the bar around modern methods of construction in the social housing sector and create a framework that delivers on quality as well as price.”

Building Better was set up through the NHF’s Greenhouse innovation programme in 2018 and currently comprises 25 registered housing providers, including the North West’s Halton Housing which recently joined the alliance’s board.

The providers aim to help the affordable housing sector realise the potential of offsite manufacture – which currently represents only 3% of the UK construction market – by buying homes from offsite manufacturers.

The consortium says that embracing modern methods of construction will help housing associations build homes more quickly and reduce their operating costs.

PfH’s offsite construction framework will be informed by Building Better’s research, which has indicated that greater collaboration and standardisation are key to developing offsite supply.

PfH will aim to develop a framework that gathers widespread commitment from social landlords. This will help them develop strong partnerships with their supply chain, allow better value for money and lead to more energy-efficient homes.

Steve Malone, managing director at Procurement for Housing said: “One of the biggest challenges around offsite construction has been that social landlords often express an interest and there are small developments but you need a regular, consistent flow of work, in a standardised format, to make offsite construction economically viable.

“We’ve always known that offsite construction has to be demand-led, not framework-led to work in social housing. Our collaboration with Building Better is all about harnessing demand in the sector and shifting modern methods of construction from a cottage industry to the mainstream.”

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