Last edited 31 Oct 2019

MMC draft text layout

The construction industry is on the verge of another industrial revolution, one that is expected to incorporate the expanded and widespread use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

However, over the last thirty years there have been numerous terms associated with this paradigm, and some of the terms attributed to MMC imply completely different meanings from their past usage. Some definitions have altered because of changes in technology, the construction profession or the general manufacturing sector, others have simply gone in or out of style.

As more stakeholders become involved in the construction industry’s transformation, the need for a common language becomes increasingly important.

This glossary of construction terms provides a baseline for that language, providing definitions for commonly-used MMC terms. It is a supplement to existing industry-specific vocabulary and incorporates and references existing industry-standard definitions where those already exist.

It is published on Designing Buildings Wiki to allow wider and ongoing collaborative development and discussion.

[edit] How to use this glossary

Click the ‘All articles’ tab to see a list of all the definitions in this glossary.

To add terms, register then click ‘Create an article’. When you have finished make sure you tick the MMC category at the end of your definition.

To change editable definitions, click ‘Edit this article’.

To suggest changes to articles that are not editable add a comment at the end of the existing definition.

To propose new definitions or to send feedback, email [email protected].

Find out more on the HELP page.

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is a wide term, embracing a range of offsite manufacturing and onsite techniques that provide alternatives to traditional building.

MMC ranges from sub-assemblies to entire buildings being constructed from factory built volumetric modules. MMC results in a range of subtypes that includes: volumetric construction, pods, panelised systems, sub-assemblies and components and site-based MMC.

It is classified by a seven category framework spanning from offsite and near-site pre-manufacturing to site-based process improvements and technology applications:

Category 1: Pre-manufacturing: 3D structural systems

Category 2: Pre-manufacturing: 2D structural systems

Category 3: Pre-manufactured components: non-systemised structure

Category 4: Additive manufacturing

Category 5: Pre-manufacturing: non-structural assemblies and sub-assemblies

Category 6: Materials innovation

Category 7: Other

Active building

Advanced building material

Artificial intelligence

Augmented reality

Building information modelling

Circular economy

Common data environment

Design for manufacture and assembly

Digital construction

Digital twin

Gemini principles


Industry 4.0



Life cycle

Manufacturing readiness level

Modern methods of construction

Modern methods of construction definition framework

Modular construction




Pre-manufactured value

Project 13

Smart construction

Technical readiness level


Wearable technology

Whole-life costing

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