UK government seeks offsite construction expertise
The UK government has released a call for evidence for the latest prefabrication techniques, as it publishes the 2018 National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline.
The Construction Pipeline outlines a projected £600bn investment in roads, hospitals and schools over the next 10 years. To ensure efficiency in building these projects, ministers are encouraging greater use of more modern approaches to construction. This includes the manufacturing of components in factories using the latest digital technology before being sent for assembly on construction sites.
In particular, the call for evidence focuses around a ‘platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly’, or P-DfMA. A platform approach means that a set of digitally-designed components can be used on different types of buildings. For example, a single component could be used as part of a school, hospital, prison building or train station.
It is hoped that applying modern prefabrication techniques to building projects can boost productivity and reduce waste by as much as 90%. For example, a school that typically takes a year to build could be completed in just over 4 months.
The government reports that this manufacturing technique has already been used to great success in several infrastructure projects, including the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme. Parts of these bridges were developed in a factory, meaning they were built more efficiently than if traditional methods of construction had been used.
The government is looking to understand how to best adopt and embed a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly in its capital programmes, and how prepared the sector is to adapt to this change and support the delivery of this approach.
The call for evidence is open to everyone, with particular emphasis on construction, engineering, design and architectural companies of all sizes, as well as product suppliers, manufacturers, industry bodies, consultants and academics.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick said: “As the pace of technological change accelerates, we are stepping up our commitment to digital infrastructure and use of data to drive greater productivity and embrace new methods of construction.
“With £600bn of investment over the next decade, including the largest ever investment in our strategic road network, we are taking the long term action required to raise productivity and ensure the economy is fit for the future.”
The call for evidence closes on 17 February.
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