MMC Cost Management | Viability and certainty in residential


Rob Littlewood


The Lock Street scheme consists of 61 residential units for the open market on the outskirts of Sheffield. Akerlof was introduced to establish a commercial position in the aftermath of the pandemic and the economic shock arising from the war in Ukraine.

This scheme was originally designed to be built using traditional construction methods. However, the scheme was unviable. Akerlof was introduced to review the scheme, explore a Light Gauge Steel alternative, and develop the delivery solution.

In conjunction with the design team, we completed a design and delivery review, concluding a hybrid CAT 2, 3, and 5 MMC design could be delivered quicker and cheaper than the traditionally designed alternative.

What we did

Akerlof guided the client towards an established set of value drivers for the project. In doing so we worked alongside the design team to develop an MMC strategy aligned with the overarching value drivers.

This resulted in the agreement of an aligned procurement strategy to integrate Cat 2, 3, and 5 MMC into the project. We engaged the market through the process to provide predictability and certainty in the revised delivery method and subsequently procured the project in accordance with this alternative approach.

The impact

  • The establishment of a viable scheme in a residential market characterised by a challenging labour market, rising input costs, and regulatory reform
  • Predictability of project programme, increasing investor confidence
  • Faster overall delivery timeline, circa 15% quicker than the traditional alternative
  • Upskilling of project team

Don't just take our word for it...

The team at Akerlof is always proactive in driving things forward and isn’t afraid to promote new ways of doing things to deliver a better outcome. In a world where the operating environment is evolving rapidly, and becoming ever more complex, they present information clearly and concisely, which help us make the right decisions at the right time. I look forward to future collaborations between us.

Emma Thompson, Empire Property Developments

Jamie Hillier


With a penchant for tweed and jackets with leather arm patches, Jamie began his career as a quantity surveyor, before climbing the ladder to lead major projects for a Tier 1 contractor.

Eventually expanding his book collection beyond copies of SMM7, Jamie has interest in a broad range of subjects linked to delivering better outcomes for society and the environment.

His strategic insights on MMC and behavioural science have made their way into numerous government, industry and academic publications, including the Construction Playbook, Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030, the Platform Rulebook and the RIBA DfMA Overlay.

John Handscomb


Construction is in John’s blood. Learning from his father who was a planner and project manager, John began his career by working on some iconic projects in both the public and private sector.

As a procurement expert and integrator of new ways of working, John has pioneered the integration of platform principles, DfMA processes and supply chain within over £5bn projects in the last 15 years, for some of the largest building programmes in the UK. Despite his considerable expertise, John keeps it simple, communicating complicated ideas with ease and helping to equip the industry with new knowledge and skills.

Outside of Akerlof, John enjoys his executive role with technology start-up ScanTech Digital, spending time with his family, taking trips down the football, playing a bit of golf with friends and the odd pint. 

Our name is shared with George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

His seminal paper, Market for Lemons, demonstrated the devastating consequences of making decisions under the conditions of quality uncertainty and unequal information between buyers and sellers, increasing the chance of buyers ending up with a ‘lemon’.

This 50-year-old concept continues to retain parallels within the construction industry.

Through our insight and experience, we can rebalance this information asymmetry on behalf of our clients, levelling the playing field to deliver better outcomes.