Top of the class for modern methods of construction

As the Department for Education gets set to launch a framework for off-site construction techniques, Senior Architect Lee Holmes investigates what modern methods of construction mean for the sector.

“Think of modern methods of construction (MMC) in school buildings and we immediately picture those prefab classrooms from the 1970s – antiquated from the moment they were built.

Fortunately, as today’s local authorities respond to a new demand for new school places, the picture is very different. While new legislation and regulatory guidance encourages components to be pre-designed, MMC is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Yes, it involves the controlled, measured and efficient construction techniques, the factory conditions and the repeatable mass production processes that benefit many other major industries. But it is also capable of giving stakeholders the bespoke identity, personalisation and adaptability required to create inspiring learning environments.

Stakeholder engagement will help everyone understand the nuances and adjacency requirements of individual schools, and help us create exemplar and enduring facilities. In short, we are on the cusp of MMC being the go-to solution for education accommodation; suited to the critical path, limited site availability and achieving compliance.

At Box, we’re helping lead the drive towards MMC-delivered accommodation – moving from the initial sticking plaster approach of infill classrooms craned in over summer, to the development of purpose-designed whole facilities, as local authorities and education establishments embrace the benefits of standardisation. As architects, we are taking the lead and adding value through a process of design, understanding and coordination.

I believe we will achieve this shift through industry-wide collaboration – creating quality architecture and inspirational spaces that encourage pupils of all ages to enjoy learning.”

“We are on the cusp of MMC being the go-to solution for education accommodation.”

Lee Holmes, Senior Architect, Box Architects