The Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) engineering-led approach to modular construction has been championed by Laing O’Rourke over the past few years. It focuses on reducing project cost and duration to help deliver public and private sector projects when budgets are of concern.

Teaming with Laing O’Rourke on eight secondary schools as part of the Salford and Wigan Building Schools for the Future programme, we furthered the DfMA application and coupled it with BIM. The BIM application not only allowed a closer and more collaborative design and construction process, but it also enabled Laing O’Rourke to fully utilise the 3D BIM model, linking in to the elements and components of the DfMA process and programme. The school could see an accurate schedule of installation right down to each day of construction.

The schools achieved BIM Level 2 which exceeds the self-set DfMA target of more than 70 percent offsite manufacture, and were the first whole school buildings manufactured in Laing O’Rourke’s new £100 million purpose-built factory in Nottinghamshire.

Our work included being part of a programme of continuous improvement, contributing development workshops including the following DfMA elements and BIM topics generated from lesson learnt meetings:

  • Development of a design team BIM protocol.
  • Development of a library of standard structural components, which has resulted in considerable time savings in the production of component drawings.
  • Use of a timeline to create 5D (programme) models which can then be used for construction planning, just-in-time deliveries and progress monitoring.
  • DfMA development including prefabricated service risers, prefabricated services horizontal distribution units and packaged plantrooms.