Addressing the current challenges faced by the UK construction industry, this report assesses the potential of modern methods of construction in enhancing construction efficiency and sustainability. The report is based on a placement facilitated by the Energy SHINES project.

Authors: Nazifa Rafa and Rihab Khalid, University of Cambridge


Addressing both the housing crisis and the environmental challenge, Modern Methods of construction (MMC) offer a promising avenue towards sustainable housing development that have the potential for positive environmental and social impact. Addressing the current challenges faced by the UK construction industry, this policy brief assesses the potential of MMC in enhancing construction efficiency and sustainability. Based on an extensive literature review as part of a placement at the RIBA, it demonstrates that by emphasising prefabrication and off-site construction, MMC has the potential to significantly reduce waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs and improve the quality and energy efficiency of buildings.

Despite these benefits, barriers such as regulatory gaps, cultural inertia within the construction sector, and lack of consumer awareness hinder MMC’s widespread adoption. In light of current challenges, the study underscores the importance of developing standardised emission measurement methodologies, promoting industry-wide knowledge sharing, and policy support to foster the adoption of MMC, aligning construction practices with net zero objectives. It also emphasises the importance of holistic methodologies and integrated interdisciplinary research and development practices for green building and sustainable net-zero targets.

About Energy SHINES

This paper is an output from Energy SHINES – a project delivered through UKERC’s Whole Systems Networking Fund.

Energy SHINES was set up to facilitate partnerships between women Early Career Researchers from energy social science and humanities backgrounds and organisations in key non-energy sectors undertaking work towards net zero.

Access all publications from the project here.