According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), an influx of modern methods of construction (MMC) is predicted to decrease the additional labour requirement of meeting the government’s aim of delivering 300,000 homes per year.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) commissioned CITB and Whole Life Consultants have completed an analysis on the impact that MMC could have on upcoming workforce requirements. CITB said that, “limited information is available on the impact on MMC on the overall workforce skills requirements.”
The report, titled “The impact of modern methods of construction on skills requirements for housing”, reveals that the increase in modern methods of construction usage could weaken labour requirements from an extra 195,000 workers by 2025 to around 158,000.
CITB evaluated the changes to the workforce for panelised and volumetric offsite home building using opinions from industry experts involved in MMC housebuilding regarding the effect on labour demand for delivering a standard house using modern methods of construction. After collating the data, the results were used to calculate the change in workforce demand due to varying levels of progression in modern methods of construction.
The analysis proved that an increase in usage of MMC could potentially damage the number of additional workers needed.
In the case of higher levels of MMC for example, 50% of housing output, estimates show that 80,000 manual workers would be likely to be based off-site.
CITB said, “there is also the need to upskill existing workers to cover the site management, integration, onsite placement and assembly that will be increasingly required for MMC.”
The study revealed some of the struggles that the industry faces, such as the short-term need to grow and develop workers to deliver homes with the current construction methods and the long-term goal to maintain onsite workers whilst increasing the MMC workforce.
CITB’s report showed that, as construction methods are constantly modernising, the future for onsite workers is unstable.