Landsec worked with contractors who could run a site like a factory and manage the supply chain and assembly process. And manufacturers are being brought closer to the end-user by being more involved in the design process and offering up innovation and savings as they are able to standardise. On this build, the prototyping project team engaged with two of the UK’s leading main contractors, Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace, to analyse the ability of their existing supply chains and to adapt to automated construction techniques. Sir Robert McAlpine has used individuals from its plant hire business to provide insight into the automated construction machinery currently available and advise on modifications that can be made to suit the platform construction methodology.
This Office 1.0 demonstrator project is the first of its kind to use Platform-Design for Manufactured Assembly (P-DfMA) and a 'kit of parts' solution for a commercial office scheme, so it has been important to set realistic targets for what a successful delivery looks like. Benchmarked against Landsec’s typical costs, the project predicts a 9.5% reduction in capital cost against a target of 10%. And the lower floor height design meant the same feeling of space could be created inside for the same 'envelope', boosting the value of the property for the developer.
The efficiencies gained from using Platform-Design for Manufactured Assembly (P-DfMA) and 'kit of parts' approach on Office 1.0 has already demonstrated a reduction in embodied carbon of 19.4%. Internal utility equipment is also designed to work with the all-electric central plant, making use of LED lights, procuring 100% renewably sourced energy, and using high-efficiency heat pumps to bring down energy use by 73%.
The heating/cooling equipment has been designed to integrate with the superstructure, using fixings pre-cast into the concrete slabs, minimising the need to drill the slab to create supports for the services modules. This reduces the need to work at height and almost eliminates drilling and the dust it produces, creating a healthier and safer site to work on.
The kit of parts approach that has been applied to the structure and cladding, and the digital tools adopted will require 50% fewer workers on the install teams. Overall on the build, this equates to a 13.5% productivity gain. Once the scope of the kit of parts is expanded, Landsec expects to hit a target of 35%.
Over 60 apprenticeship opportunities were created on this build, and the team tied in training with a local school around 3D modelling. For dyslexic children who often show greater spatial awareness, showcasing these skills and opportunities could create a new confidence in pursuing a career in construction.
The project has drawn on material suppliers and manufacturers from across the UK. Examples include:
Steel from Corby and South Wales
Steel fabricated in Yorkshire
Steel reinforcement fabricated in Devon
M&E cassettes manufactured in Leeds
Sheet metalwork manufactured in Eastbourne.
The Platform-Design for Manufactured Assembly (P-DfMA) and 'kit of parts' approaches mean 50% fewer workers are needed onsite, making sites safer and more productive. The greater predictability around the build also reduced risks when working in restrictive site spaces. And with the heating/cooling equipment designed to integrate with the superstructure, there was less need to work at height and almost no drilling - or the dust that it produces.
Benchmarked against Landsec's typical construction, the projects predicts a 13% reduction in programme time against a target of 15%.
The project will be the world’s first office block built using Platform-Design for Manufactured Assembly (P-DfMA) and kit of parts in this way. This revolutionary approach to office construction will become the benchmark and best practice from which the whole of UK and global construction could follow, and should help to stimulate the UK economy.
The 19.4% decrease in embodied carbon emissions means this approach to office construction will support our target to be net zero by 2050 and allow us to build more sustainable working environments. Building services are also integrated within the platform design, enabling more efficient use of space, and the opportunity to increase the height of the perimeter glazing to improve daylight penetration onto the floorplate. Better daylight penetration is linked to increased productivity of users and reduced energy demand.