Embracing Modern Methods of Construction

The Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Ireland Conference 2024 brought together key industry leaders, highlighting the growing interest and advancements in MMC over recent years. Despite being a relatively young organisation, MMC Ireland successfully attracted nearly 400 industry professionals to discuss the future of construction. The discussions reflected a shared enthusiasm for innovation and a collective effort to address challenges and seize opportunities within the industry.

Standardisation and Early Design Efficiency
A major theme at the conference was the critical role of standardisation and repeatability during the early design stages. Steven Lennon of HLM Architects emphasised the UK Governments Department of Defence’s use of platforms and a kit-of-parts strategy, demonstrating how these practices yield significant efficiencies and benefits in construction. Similarly, Katie Rudin from Akerlof discussed the UK’s government-driven housing digital platform, highlighting the importance of leadership and industry collaboration in achieving these advancements.

Learning from Mistakes and the Role of Data
The conference stressed the importance of learning from past mistakes and adapting successful strategies from other regions. Trudi Sully from Mott McDonald encouraged attendees to adopt proven practices rather than reinventing the wheel, advocating a pragmatic approach to innovation. Kevin Masters of KPMG underscored the significance of data in providing transparency and evidence, emphasising meticulous measurement to support informed decision-making.

Overcoming Barriers to MMC Adoption
Several speakers addressed the obstacles to widespread MMC adoption. Martin Searson from NSAI highlighted the necessity for more standards to facilitate compliance and scalability. A conference poll revealed that 40% of the industry believes that improved resourcing at NSAI is crucial for streamlining the agreement certification process. Declan Wallace of Evolusion Innovation called for reducing bureaucratic red tape, while Paul Tierney, CEO of MMC Ireland, reassured attendees of the government’s commitment to listening and collaborating with the industry. Pia Feeney of EY echoed the need for an ecosystem-wide approach.

The Multifaceted Benefits of MMC
The advantages of adopting MMC are extensive and varied. These methods offer greater predictability, shorter construction periods, reduced site labor reliance, and improved working conditions. From a sustainability standpoint, MMC reduces waste, utilises alternative materials, and minimises transportation needs. Additionally, quality is enhanced through better production conditions and accuracy. Financially, MMC offers cost reductions due to less site time and earlier design freezes, minimizing changes and associated expenses.

Innovation and Collaboration for a Sustainable Future 
Innovation in the construction sector is essential for building a sustainable and resilient industry. The National Development Plan and Housing for All initiatives underscore the importance of adopting innovative practices to improve delivery outcomes. Moving forward, collaboration between government, industry, and academia will be vital in overcoming challenges and harnessing MMC’s full potential. The future holds significant opportunities to transform construction practices, making them more efficient, sustainable, and responsive to emerging needs.