We have partnered with a number of clients to enable the Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) methodology to simplify elements of the construction process through the use of BIM and modular drawings, to manufacture parts of the building off-site – in a way that balances cost, performance and quality.
This DfMA approach when applied in the building and construction arena, requires a change in the relationship between design and construction. The design should focus on the methods by which the project is to be delivered, using off-site manufactured components where possible and planning for efficient logistics and assembly of these components on-site.
One way the DfMA approach can be managed effectively is through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM is the process of producing a model of an asset that contains information about the asset. With BIM, the downstream DfMA activities (such as procurement, fabrication, transport, and installation) through which projects are delivered on-site will be more comprehensively linked to upstream activities (such as briefing, options appraisal and concept design). This will greatly enhance the common understanding of the project by all stakeholders.
Using fewer parts, removing the need for unique parts and decreasing labour costs all reduce cost, with the off-site manufacturing process also unaffected by weather conditions.
A decrease in assembly time due to standard assembly practices being enforced, including stacking up components of the assembly in order and self-aligning parts needed no adjustment.
Off-site solutions can be considered early on in the project planning phase with the aid of the BIM process helping to deliver specifications for prototypes so they can be extensively tested.
Pre-fabricated elements are made off-site and go through a great degree of quality control making them more consistent, with remedial works therefore taking less time.
Parts handling can have an impact on design scheduling and so the design should strive to reduce the possibility of parts becoming entangled or needing specialist tools for assembly.
Health and safety issues can be more effectively controlled in a factory environment.
DfMA can be of benefit to sites with complicated logistics, and limited space and access such as airports or city centre locations.
Projects that involve repetitive elements in their structure, such as schools, can benefit significantly from DfMA as it can limit build time on site.
DfMA can relieve skill shortages through the need for less investment in labour than traditional on-site processes.
Simplifying manufacturing activities: DFMA optimises and simplifies the manufacturing process, especially through the use of modules in the product design.