Adopting standardised, open source and automated design in the construction sector is the way to ensure we meet the government’s Construction 2025 targets for productivity and climate change, says architectural firm Bryden Wood.
Leading architects Bryden Wood has issued its call to arms for the industry to adopt a new style of operation that focuses on open source technology, automated design and efficiency.
Speaking at an industry briefing, Bryden Woods board director and head of global systems Jamie Johnston said that the future of the construction industry is about changing the way we think.
“This isn’t about automated brick layers or robotics. This is about changing the ways we do things,” he said.
Johnston compared construction to the automotive industry, which moved into mass production just 27 years after the first car was built.
“In construction we don’t get the same level of repeatability, in construction we waste a huge amount of time and effort with individual organisations coming up with their own systems, which are only slightly different from their competitors. Sharing a common approach would move us all forward much more quickly.”
He went on to say that it is time to “abandon” traditional sector separation in favour of a united approach.
“We need to abandon our traditional, entrenched view of working in sectors, only working across sectors with common sets of components usable across multiple building types do we get the scale and level of repeatability that would allow a manufacturing approach – the key is not working offsite but creating factory like conditions on site.”
“The standardisation of construction components would allow us to talk more directly to the supply chain, engage more with SMEs and make better use of existing capacity,” Johnston added.
“It would also give investors more confidence to invest in research and development. To achieve this, we would need to open source the components because so many people will need access to them.”
Bryden Wood is pioneering its own type of standardised construction that they have chosen not to copyright protect. The Platform model relies on a core assembled steel frame that can be scaled for use in anything from accommodation to hospitals and Heathrow terminals.
The frame, no matter the height or span, uses just 30 types of common bracket and does away with high level cranes. Instead using a repeating process of jacks and supports, installing empty floor panels above, and injecting concrete from below.
Johnston described the Platform system as a go between “of the construction world we know, and the manufacturing world we want to be“.
Project management specialists Turner & Townsend, working with Bryden Wood, have estimated that using a system like Platforms for construction could meet the government’s Construction 2025 target of a 33% reduction in cost.
Turner & Townsend are set to release the full details of their research into standardisation shortly.
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