Designer's Perspective

“Architects will realise that we hard-bake traditional construction processes, developed over hundreds of years, into our concept designs, this document provides the information for the profession to drive new ways of building that deliver better cost, environmental, safety and time outcomes and consideration of how to transition through the RIBA stages.”

 Dale Sinclair, RIBAJ October 2016

Dale Sinclair from AECOM highlights the importance of DfMA at this stage of the construction process

Architects are key to seeing DfMA approaches adopted in the industry, they could be leading the way as they see the project first and can have more influence with the client at an earlier stage.

The overlay for the RIBA Plan of Work is aimed at increasing architects’ knowledge and understanding of offsite methods so that the ideals can be incorporated at the beginning of the design. Crucially, the overlay informs architects what they need to be doing at each RIBA stage to gain benefits from DfMA.

If the industry is to transition towards designing for manufacturing and assembling buildings we need consideration of new methods from stage 2 through to stage 4 of the plan of work. The biggest change is at stage 4, where architects need to redefine many of the details they currently use such as avoiding hot and wet works such as welding and screeding.

As well as delivering projects faster, lowering costs and improving quality, the use of DfMA techniques could also result in better operational and in-use outcomes. By consistently embedding DfMA into the Concept Design at Stage 2, architects might be able to drive the productivity gains necessary to deliver the UK Government’s Construction 2025 strategy and help deliver a new, safer, more sustainable construction industry. 

DfMA might not influence the appearance of a building, but,
if DfMA issues are carefully considered during the development of the Concept Design at Stage 2, it can significantly improve the construction outcomes.

DfMA approaches offer the prospect of a step-change in the increased productivity within the construction process. There are tangible quality benefits that move the industry on from the historical ‘snagging culture’ where the associated true costs of construction are not always measured to a value proposition over the lifetime of a building. Clients and procuring authorities are more than ever before recognising the need for innovative building techniques that are safer, cleaner and more efficient, and which minimise disruption, guarantee quality and cost, and save time.

Working collaboratively between constructors, manufacturers and the architecture, design and delivery supply chain, the industry needs to be driving a value-based agenda which would create the mechanisms to enable pre-design, offsite and modular design thinking to become the construction industry standard of the future.