News

Constructing Excellence and Mark Farmer in innovation push

10 November 2019

National industry body Constructing Excellence is to become the newest delivery partner of the £72m government-backed Construction Innovation Hub.

With an extensive network of national and regional members, which cuts across sectors and the supply chain, Constructing Excellence will be supporting the delivery of the Hub’s transformative programme, which aims to change the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected within the built environment.

Announcing the new partnership at the Construction Leaders’ Breakfast in London, Construction Innovation Hub programme director Keith Waller said: “The Construction Innovation Hub and Constructing Excellence will be working closely to harness the energy and enthusiasm which is already out there in the sector, so we can drive the large-scale transformation we so badly need, delivering better outcomes not just for the sector, but for wider society and the environment.”

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.– Esther McVey

Co-chair of Constructing Excellence, Mark Farmer (above), said: “This partnership between the Construction Innovation Hub and Constructing Excellence demonstrates the need for the entire industry to collaborate on this agenda and support the development of solutions that we can take forward and implement and will genuinely positively disrupt our industry. 

“The Constructing Excellence movement has a key role to play in ensuring that these solutions can be and are adopted right across the industry.”

The news comes as housing minister Esther McVey 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” as part of a series of announcements to boost offsite. This includes 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 claims 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.”