This case study explores the process of Wiltshire Council finding the required expertise and relationships to meet the commitment of the new build team
to build 100 new council houses per year, for the next ten years. To meet this commitment while ensuring quality, reducing maintenance costs, and
importantly improving the sustainability of the new homes being built, Wiltshire Council were keen to explore the possibility of using MMC.
Christine Brown, Residential Development Project Manager, for Wiltshire Council outlines the main barriers the council faced as:
- Being new to MMC, we had no established relationships in the sector
- Wiltshire Council had our own standard house types; did we want these translated into MMC accruing significant design costs, or would we buy designs “off the peg”?
- The volume required and the price of MMC meant a potentially lengthy and complex local government procurement process
After researching several MMC manufacturers, Wiltshire Council were drawn to a local provider with a track record of working successfully with the MOD
– Rollalong. The proximity of their factory meant lower “lorry miles”, reducing the carbon footprint of the delivery.
Rollalong were already working with Magna Housing Association to design and manufacture a suite of house types, like Wiltshire Councils own house types.
Several factors played a role in choosing the SWPA Offsite Construction of New Homes (NH2), and Offsite Project Integrator (OPI1) frameworks as the procurement route to access Rollalong and Taylor Lewis.
Wiltshire Council cited the main reasons as:
• The ease of access to manufacturers of offsite solutions, with proven and demonstrable project delivery
• The opportunity to procure Rollalong by means of a direct award based on designs and solutions already developed by another client, meaning that Wiltshire Council could learn from others
• Using an established portfolio of designs to deliver an initial project to get buy in internally to use offsite solutions and the opportunity to develop the bungalows.
• A collaborative approach with support from an experienced client and appointed company
• Access to the OPI1 consultancy framework (Taylor Lewis was appointed through a mini-competition) has been useful in assisting delivery of the project with access to experience and knowledge
Key to the success, of these relationships and projects, has been the involvement of the South West Procurement Alliance (SWPA), who were the procurement route for the existing relationship between Magna Housing and Rollalong.
Wiltshire Council was provided a simplified route to market; enabling a call off from the Offsite Construction of New Homes (NH2) framework for compliant access to Rollalong and the Offsite Project Integrator (OPI1) framework, for the expert MMC consultants Taylor Lewis.
In 18 months (via Zoom, throughout multiple lock downs!), Wiltshire Council have agreed shared house types that are now 100% of NDSS and, with the addition of PV, are effectively carbon neutral in operation.
Wiltshire Council are now in contract with Rollalong, who are manufacturing the units for the first 19 homes, five of which will be wheelchair-accessible bungalows, to be transported and completed on three pilot sites. The decision-making process, and the timescales for making key decisions with MMC, are very different
from traditional building as all decisions must be made before production commences. Delays in decision making can cause major implications for production and delivery, including the possibility of losing factory slots on the factory production line.
This project shows just how much social value can be incorporated through all stages of the procurement process, not just in achieving value for money through
the SWPA frameworks and the low carbon objectives but also in the local employment, within a nearby factory. The local supply chain has been used to subcontract m&e contractors, roofing contractors and groundworkers.
As a member of SWPA, Wiltshire Council have also been able to access the South West Community Benefit fund. This grant programme is run by SWPA and delivered in partnership with South West Community Matters, delivering grants to small community groups in each clients area.