The UK is at a point where a lot needs to be built in a short time. Mega projects alone account for 77% of overall annual project value*. The problem is that mega projects are known to overrun on cost and programme. At the same time they're considered to be too unique to benefit from DfMA. So how can this gap between supply and demand be closed?
* Source McKinsey analysis
We have now found a way of delivering the benefits of DfMA at scale. The key is a system of repeating components that give sufficient flexibility to allow mass customisation, while working within the confines of architectural design. Crucially, our system also works with existing supply chain, procurement, manufacture, logistics and assembly processes.
Systemisation offers benefits for any large scale project or programme where there's the possibility of using a higher degree of standardised components, for example
Unique structures with standardised construction
Our system uses a small number of components that allow a huge amount of flexibility. They can be configured in an infinite number of ways, providing a vast range of solutions for site specific problems. Essentially, they offer mass agility, and the ability to work at scale.
Systemisation that works with the supply chain
We can develop workable, real world solutions that use existing components, capabilities and capacity. What's new is the way we've brought them together into kits of components or new construction systems. All the skills, techniques and components are already available, so there's harmony with the existing supply chain. As a result, it can be easily implemented by major contractors, project managers and manufacturers.
Concentrating complexity leaves scope for simplicity
Complexity throughout a structure can impose custom solutions that prevent systemisation – but we've found a way of dealing with it. Our approach is to concentrate all the complexity into single design elements. Each is unique, but can be made using the same set of components with the same cost, time and process. This could be CNC machining, laser or water jet cutting and additive manufacturing. The rest of the structure can then be standardised, with all the benefits that brings.
How do we do it?
Systems, manufacturing and delivery are central to the way we think.
With our heritage in Offsite, systemisation and standardisation have always guided the way we work. It fires our conviction that efficient, problem-free delivery should be designed in.
Even small projects can achieve economies of scale
Economies of scale don't have to be limited to major programmes. By sharing components and a supply chain, smaller projects like a primary school, can benefit through Platform based design. And just as demand is aggregated and scaled up, it is also extended over time as new projects start, offering ongoing support for the supply chain.