The resultant piece of work

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Chapter 5

Conclusions and Recommendations

Research Method

The research method has proven successful, producing a wide range of literature on the subject. Analysis of the literature has provided a means to meet the aims and objectives of the paper by evolving the issues. The resultant piece of work has thus been found to be relevant and original.

Conclusion

The central research question posed for this dissertation was: “How significant are the drivers and potential barriers to an increased adoption of Modern Methods of Construction?”

Fundamentally, the study has shown that the drivers and barriers to increasing the adoption of modern methods of construction vary widely. The significance of the issue is largely dependent upon the person's location within the industry and the size of the organisation. Many of the issues are closely related and dependent upon one another and, due to a lack of consensus around a large proportion of the issues, there is much confusion within the industry, as to whether MMC's are advantageous.

It was found that the construction industry is still lacking in a number of key areas and had failed to meet the goals set out in the Barker Report of 1998, for example time and cost certainty on projects. Another industry short fall where established in the form of the lack of new housing which it was found is failing to meet demand by a significant margin (Market Transformation Programme, 2008).

Work produced by Goodier (2006), ODPM (2003) and Pan (2006), amongst others; indicate that increasing the adoption of MMC's is necessary to combat the issues facing the construction industry, due to the associated advantages of the methods. These advantages include improved quality, a shorter duration on site and fewer defects.

It was established that MMC's have been a historical part of the construction industry with many historical precedents of past forms of Innovation and use of methods of construction which are now deemed modern. Due to heavily publicised past failures, such as the post war prefab, a negative opinion within the industry has formed. The research has found that the largest barrier to increasing the usage of MMC's in the UK is this negative image, however work produced by Pan (2006) found that this negative perception is less of an issue for the public than was first suspected. It has been found that actors for within the industry, housebuilders, designers and contractors for example, are important in eliminating the negative annotations which have been attributed to many as a fear of the unknown. The solution has been found to be increasing knowledge within the industry, with the use of education and more published, unbiased, literature.

Work performed by Venables (2004) has shown that the industry has displayed growth in the early part of the 2000's, with much of the literature forecasting growth in areas of the MMC industry in the near future. Many of the studies, for example Goodier (2006), Pan (2006) and Venables (2004) have found enthusiasm within the industry to adopt MMC's, however actors, such as suppliers, within the industry have emphasised that barriers, such as increased cost compared to traditional methods, are limiting the up-take. Although this may be the case, it has been discussed that this is due to the risk adverse nature of the industry.

As mentioned earlier, the primary barrier to the industry adoption of MMC's has been established as negative perceptions. Other barriers however, have also been suggested to contribute to the currently low levels of use in the UK. The skills shortage has been identified by nearly all of the literature as a major barrier, and is having a significant impact on MMC'S usage, however there is much debate as to whether increasing the adoption of MMC's would actually ease this problem or exacerbate it. Education has again been posed as a means by which the problem can be eased along with challenging people perceptions.

It has been found that as a consequence of addressing one of the barriers, such as changing people perceptions, other barriers are lessened. For example if people perceptions change, than it has been suggested that there will be a larger volume of people interested in entering work in an MMC factory. This is likely to result in an exponential increase in the adoption of MMC's, because once one issue is addressed, such as the negative perception and the take-up increases, so will effects of the issue of higher cost be reduced.

It has been found that the drivers and barriers to an increased adoption of Modern Methods of Construction are incredibly significant. The potential advantages to be gained by the industry are far reaching, directly addressing many of the goals set out by 'The Egan Report 1998' and the low output of new housing. Notwithstanding this, there is still a large prejudice against MMC's, which is due to not only the physical barriers, such as increased cost, but also the psychological barriers, in the form of negative perceptions and the fear of the unknown. The nature of the construction industry itself can also be attributed to the lack of MMC uptake despite the apparent advantages, due to the risk adverse disposition of the sector.

References and Bibliography

References

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Reports

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