Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in a reordered world

Burges Salmon will be launching their latest report at the Constructing Excellence Annual Conference on 12 December.  Burges Salmon gives a view on how the perfect storm of sector restructure and the advance of MMC will combine to reshape construction.

The organisations who lead construction, including funders and developers, will have very different roles by 2025; but it will be the progressive changes beyond 2025 that will provide the most significant opportunity for agile organisations to prosper.

Many aspects of our social and business lives are likely to change radically over the next few years. The way that we shop, work, travel and provide healthcare and education are all evolving and the test-bed projects happening now will lead to very different built infrastructure requirements.

Drawing upon our involvement right across the construction, infrastructure, development, energy, technology, government, mobility and finance sectors, we provide this look ahead to 2025 and beyond.

Big picture and big opportunity

Disruption and innovation work hand-in-hand. There are two massive forces acting as a catalyst for change in the delivery of construction projects:

  • the increased adoption and mainstream use of pre-manufacture or MMC, a ‘pull’ factor
  • the failure of the ‘traditional’ Tier 1 contracting model, a ‘push’ factor.


The combination of these ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, together with the demand for increasingly creative and innovative solutions, will take the delivery of construction into new areas. Funding and investment models will respond and new opportunities will emerge. It is 20 years since The Egan Report, but the reality is that now is the time to deliver Rethinking Construction and make these changes deliverable at scale1.

This commentary is not about the construction industry. It is about how a reordered world delivers construction projects.

There are huge opportunities for the agile. It is not just about data and technology, but also about how projects are structured and funded. Those brave enough to embrace these changes head-on will thrive, while those who aim only to ride the storm will surely fall behind.

The UK will not change in isolation. The construction products market is already effectively global. The delivery of construction solutions, in part influenced by MMC, will become much more global.

Only when Design for Manufacture and Assembly becomes the norm will the efficiencies of MMC be fully realisable. To achieve this, changes in the skills and training of all designers will evolve. The big wins will happen when the volume demand-side and the delivery-side can be seen to operate together.

Brave early adopters are out there, but change at this scale is not straightforward. Whether what happens in 2025 or beyond is seen as revolution or evolution will depend on your organisation’s creativity and agility – nothing else.

Visit the Burges Salmon website for a copy of the report.

1The Report of the Construction Task Force, Rethinking Construction (1998).

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