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Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)

  • Posted on 11th October 2018
  • Category: Structural Engineering

As efficiencies in both structure and programme are sought, modern methods of construction (MMC) are becoming more attractive to developers and are being considered and utilised on a growing number of projects. This article will discuss a selection of the methods that are available in the market place.

The key to successful integration of these methods is early decision making and early appointment of the specialist subcontractor. This allows the principles to be adopted from a suitable stage in the design process and gives the design team enough time to complete all the necessary coordination.

Light Gauge Steel Frame

  • This is a structural framing system whereby external and internal walls are formed with load-bearing lightweight steel sections.
  • The panels can be fabricated off site and craned into place. The floors are generally metal deck in-situ slabs.
  • The system can be used for up to 15 storeys.
  • Suppliers include Sigmat.

Positives

  • Speed of erection on site.
  • Lightweight structure therefore some saving on foundation loads.

Considerations

  • Repetition in floor layouts is essential.
  • Traditional brick cladding is not preferred due to loading of the light-weight frame, however it can be accommodated by increasing member sizes.
  • Careful planning of programme is needed, e.g. bathroom pods would need to be craned in as each floor progresses.

Precast Flat Panel System

  • Floor and wall units are prefabricated off site and craned into place once foundations have been constructed.
  • The panels will be load bearing but can also include services, windows and doors, as well as factory-fitted cladding, including brick slips/full width bricks.
  • Suppliers include Hurks (Byldis).

Positives

  • Factory quality finish and accuracy.
  • Speed of erection on site.

Considerations

  • Repetition in floor layouts is essential. Cellular/modularisation of the layouts is preferable for this form of construction, whereby internal party walls are also used as load bearing elements.
  • Coordination of all elements and disciplines is required early in the project – much earlier than a traditional RC build.
  • Careful planning of programme needed – e.g. bathroom pods would need to be craned in as each floor progresses.
  • The bearing of the precast slab onto the wall panels may limit service zones at the building envelope, particularly affecting external venting requirements. The panels tend to be thicker than traditional builds, so a small reduction in floor area is to be expected.

Our experienced structural engineers can advise on the most appropriate methods of construction for your project.