MMC Strategy Review | Residential delivery


Rob Littlewood


The viability of residential development in the UK is increasingly complex and there is now more interest than ever by local councils to drive innovation and productivity growth through the use of modernised construction techniques.

Kings Meadow View is a mixed-use, residential-led redevelopment, located on the site of the existing Forbury Retail Park site in Reading.

As part of the outline planning application for the construction of up to 820 residential apartment units and 5,000m2 commercial uses, abrdn Investments wanted to provide Reading Borough Council with confidence around the future construction strategy. By adopting Modern Methods of Construction, the outline planning application would present a multitude of potential benefits that could be realised at a project, industry and societal level.

What we did

We initially assembled a Modern Methods of Construction strategy that responded to key value drivers for both the council and abrdn’s sustainable investment policies. This included a design evaluation to determine next steps to design for future manufacture and assembly (DfMA).

We evaluated the potential of several options for successful deployment of MMC across the development, which included options for both the buildings’ superstructure and fit-out through MMC Categories 1-6.

Our strategy also included an initial assessment of pre-manufactured value across the development, in addition to programme evaluation to support construction logistics and impact on labour movements and site access.

The impact

  • Confidence and clarity over the potential future delivery strategy for both abrdn and Reading Borough Council
  • A visible and defined structure behind any future adoption of MMC, capable of communication to the project team and stakeholders
  • A clear suite of options from which to evaluate specifics around their suitability, and how they work to achieve value drivers for the development
  • Clear identification of the value benefits the adoption of MMC would bring

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.