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Housing Corporation boss blames architects for bad prefab

A Housing Corporation chief has said architects are causing a wave of badly designed pre-fabricated schemes.

Speaking at the Thames Gateway Forum yesterday (24 November), Clive Clowes, the corporation's head of procurement, said Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) were not at fault for the 'mediocre' quality of projects which were coming through.

Instead, Clowes pointed the finger at architects for failing to push the design agenda forward.

MMC, another term for pre-fab, has been hailed as a possible solution to meet the vast housing demand in the Gateway area. The number of developments using offsite production and prefabrication techniques is expected to increase ten-fold by 2020.

Clowes said: 'I think the design issue is a myth. The CABE report showed there was no evidence of a link between design quality and MMC.'

He added: 'It is not the modern methods that are driving mediocre design. It's architects and clients who are driving it.'

At the same forum, Robin Nicholson, of Edward Cullinan Architects, spoke out about the current trends in architectural education and the lack of focus on MMC.

He said: 'All architects train to do is design new, one-off buildings. We need to be taught to design and redesign MMC schemes.

'There also need to be some experiments into working across disciplines.'

by Richard Waite

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