Floors and walls were added using lattice slab and twin-wall elements and, of course, bathroom and toilet pods were all manufactured off site. In all, the building used some 12,000 precast units along with 3,000 other pre-assembled components such as glazed screens, wiring assemblies and air handling plant. As a result, LOR calculates the building was completed 20% quicker than could have been achieved with traditional techniques.
Both LOR and Davidson believe there is more to come from modular. “We are getting better at it all the time. For example we are now creating precast components which incorporate wiring ready to be connected,” says Davidson.
He concedes, however, that while companies like LOR can further the cause of off-site manufacturing, progress depends on the whole industry, including clients and subcontractors, making adjustments to the procurement schedule. He points out that car manufacturers, for example, would find it strange that various specialists traditionally concentrate their effort at different times in the design and construction process. “Lighting designers might need to think about light locations before the frame components are made rather than afterwards,” he says. “So we have to bring a lot of design forward to make the best use of DfMA.”
But here too technology is coming to the rescue. At Alder Hey 3D visualizations of wards were used early on, to ensure services were correctly placed. Davidson says: “It enabled us to take a nurse, doctor or patient representative into a virtual room at design stage — and then if equipment could be better placed we could make that adjustment as a result of their timely input.”
Words by Tony Whitehead
Article originally published on www.the-possible.com