Mark Farmer named MMC housebuilding champion

6 November 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Mark Farmer

Housing minister Esther McVey has named Mark Farmer, author of the influential Modernise or Die report and CEO of Cast Consultancy, as ‘champion of modern methods of construction (MMC) in housebuilding’.

The news follows a series of announcements from the government, including a pledge to invest £30m in modular builder Ilke Homes, and plans to set up an MMC ‘centre of excellence’ in the north of England.

In Farmer’s new role, he will provide independent scrutiny and advice to the government on how to increase the use of MMC in homebuilding. He will also be charged with developing the ‘Construction Corridor’ in the North and promoting wider innovation in the sector.

He will also act as an ambassador overseas for the UK’s MMC activities in housebuilding, using international networks and trade opportunities to attract investment into an industry that the government claimed could be worth an estimated £40bn once mature.

McVey said: “I want to see modern methods of construction – the new gold standard of building - being used up and down the country to usher in a green housing revolution. That’s why it is such fantastic news that Mark Farmer has agreed to be our new MMC Champion – to really drive forward innovation, and to help the government deliver a new generation of green homes.”

Farmer added: “I am delighted to have been asked to carry out this new role. This is a really important time for the construction industry and there is an urgent need to rethink how we build homes, delivering better quality, improved safety, carbon reduction and an array of exciting new career opportunities.

“I look forward to working with both industry and government to make sure we now accelerate the uptake of modern methods of construction.”

Russell Pedley, co-founder at Assael Architecture who co-chairs the Urban Land Institute UK Residential Council with Mark Farmer, said: “Mark is the perfect ambassador for the sector and this welcome appointment shows ministers are really prioritising ways to build cleaner, better quality homes more quickly in factories.”


It is a little depressing for someone of my age, who worked in the construction industry in the 1960/80 in what as then known as industrialised construction section, often working with the BRE.
We as a company constructed many thousands of homes in both Timber frame and Modular timber frame construction.
Large precast concrete panel and precast brick panel construction, mainly in multi storey flat construction
Now 50 or so years on we appear to not have moved very far forward in this area.
I know they were not always viewed as perfect but it was a start!

John Lyons, 7 November 2019

There seems to be a big rush into steel frame, volumetric boxes, when timber frame is probably a greener, cleaner method of construction that still ticks all the boxes.
I have a vested interest, representing the Weinmann company who manufacture machinery for, admittedly, both markets, but is the government right to be seen to be pushing in one direction?
Let's now see a few articles on panelised timber frame production to balance the argument a little.

David Gildea, 7 November 2019

Fantastic news, can’t think of a better bloke to grip MMC and drive it forward, the industry needs a kick up the eighties, it’s time to move on.

Andrew Hinton, 7 November 2019

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