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MMC is back on the agenda, as the UK construction industry strives to increase production in line with Government pressure, and housebuilders adopt greener and new sustainable methods of construction to play to the environmental, social and corporate (“ESG”) narrative.
MMC has had to negotiate various hurdles of post-completion funding, due to lenders concerns and perceived risks over durability and saleability; however, NHBC have now launched a new warranty scheme that could be a game changer, NHBC Accepts.
NHBC is the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, with its Buildmark product. This week it has launched a new MMC comprehensive review service for UK construction industry “NHBC Accepts”. This new service is designed to follow the entire MMC process for high quality manufacturers tracking the building with complete transparency with the certain manufacturers in accordance with construction industry recommendations made by Housing Czar, Mark Farmer, as author of the Farmer Review, with the input of valuers and funders . It goes beyond the existing Buildmark programme as it follows the product and processes right back to the factory floor, as opposed to starting at the building site, and in that respect there are some overlaps with existing certifications such as BOPAS (Build Offsite Property Assurance Scheme, being an assurance accreditation scheme that follows the processes and systems of manufacturing rather than being an actual warranty).
NHBC are the first warranty providers to assess whether MMC products reach the recommended standards and to combine that with a warranty, which will have its own kitemark. The product is aimed at increasing confidence in new homes built using MMC and is very positive news for the industry as a whole but also for lenders seeking security in the social housing sector.
What does this new service offer and how can it help the social housing sector?
- Data – NHBC will publish the technical requirements for acceptance, to provide transparency of the key issues that manufacturers must demonstrate, with a searchable database enabling the consumer to check which systems have been accepted;
- Quality – it will provide detailed and stringent technical reviews of component parts at key stages before they arrive on site as well as demonstrating that they meet standards for the correct design and installation and components are expected to last for at least 60 years;
- Approval – Accepted manufacturers that meet the requisite standards will be able to use a bespoke NHBC Accepts logo for homes covered by the Buildmark warranty, as well as offering a website listing;
- Comprehensive – The service should bring MMC in line with the standards set for traditional build which will give comfort to anyone buying or lending on MMC built homes;
- Confidence – It will allow lenders, funders, investors and valuers to see the rigour applied in assessing the suitability and performance of MMC systems, and to the sign-off of the finished home;
Would funders need a separate assurance scheme now that NHBC Accepts incorporates this?
The outcome of this should move closer to encouraging more lenders to consider the issues related to using MMC as loan security and particularly in the social housing sector, allowing more funders to be comfortable with accepting these units into charge.
“It’s a step forward that sees the UK market leader in warranty and insurance for new homes making its commitment to high quality modern methods of construction clear” – Mark Farmer