DfMA - The need to think differently about the role of the design team.
DfMA is about embedding efficiency throughout a product’s life-cycle, including design; production/manufacturing process; transportation to site; and assembly on site.
It is estimated that 70 – 80% of product development and manufacturing cost is determined in the design stage.
This principle also applies in construction and importantly, from an industrialisation perspective, it must be recognised this issue is not just about building or infrastructure design, but also about:
- designing efficient processes that will apply throughout the manufacturing process
- transportation to site
- Assembly on site.
Many call this Design for Manufacture and Assembly or DfMA. Add to this the use of standardised designs, modular construction and digital engineering through tools such as BIM and we can see why the construction sector is currently experiencing a revolution in its approach to design.
Thinking about design for assembly not construction
As designers, we need to consider changing the word “Construction” at Stage 5 of the RIBA Plan of Works to “Assembly”. This subtle shift changes how we need to embrace offsite construction and “hardwire” offsite thinking at Stage 2 Concept Design. If we try to “retrofit” DfMA and offsite techniques later we will not fully realise the full benefits
The need to hardwire DfMA at Stage 2.
As well as delivering projects faster, lowering costs and improving quality, the use of DfMA techniques will also result in better operational and in-use outcomes. There is no downside. By consistently embedding DfMA into your Concept Design at Stage 2, you will be able to drive the productivity gains necessary to deliver the UK Government’s Construction 2025 strategy and be part of a new, safer, more sustainable construction industry.
“To get the benefits of a DfMA approach you need to embed it into the design process really early on. The most efficent use of offiset technologies is where you talk to manufacturers right at the start and then hardwire DfMA in to the design process - ideally no later than RIBA stage 2.”Tony Hall, Technical Design Director, Levitt Bernstein
The designers role in critical if the industry is to embrace offsite construction.
We are delighted to be working with a range of leading architects and design practices to develop learning and upskill the design community through the Design Hub of BuildOffsite.
Buildings need to suit specific uses, users and locations. This has been a barrier to harnessing the benefits of offsite manufacture and mass production.
Design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) changes this. It enables the mass-customisation of solutions already used by other industries to become commonplace in the built environment industry.
By harnessing new digital design processes and aligning them with offsite manufacturing facilities, new and profoundly different design processes will be generated. This will enable the design team to contribute to the UK Government’s Construction 2025 strategy ambitions of 50% faster delivery, 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions, 50% improvements in exports (reducing the trade gap) and 33% lower costs – all by 2025.