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Sun June 20 2021

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O’Rourke in prefabrication drive

30 Aug 12 Laing O’Rourke is working to establish offsite prefabrication as its core strategy for all of its building and civil engineering projects.

Some 83% of construction work for 122 Leadenhall Street is planned take place offsite
Some 83% of construction work for 122 Leadenhall Street is planned take place offsite

The strategy called Design for Manufacturer and Assembly (or DfMA) produces precast and preassembled buildings and their component parts – from columns, beams and walls to sleepers, cladding and building systems – to a cost, time and specification with which traditional construction processes cannot compete, the company says.

In an expanded mission statement, the company says: “Through greater application of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) as our core delivery methodology, we will be lean and agile as a business, in line with our vision. This will enable us to provide solutions that extend over a greater proportion of the client value chain.”

At least 83% of the ‘Cheesegrater’ – the 224m-high tower planned for 122 Leadenhall Street in the City of London – will be constructed offsite. Components up to 26m long will be delivered to site on a ‘just in time’ basis and lifted into place.

While Laing O’Rourke is by no means the only major contractor seeking project efficiencies through off-site processes, its DfMA project is the most tangible of seven key objectives set by the group executive committee.

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The full list of key objectives is:

  • Establish DfMA as our core delivery approach
  • Increase sector-specific engineering expertise
  • Implement efficiency and cost-effectiveness programmes
  • Invest in and grow our human capital as a direct employer
  • Improve our safety and sustainability performance
  • Sustain our home market position
  • Expand in higher growth international markets

Dr Phillip Cartwright and Dr Gavin Davies of Laing O’Rourke’sEngineering Excellence Group say: “People think about DfMA in the context of buildings, but there is enormous potential to introduce it beyond civil engineering and construction. It is completely foreseeable that modular assembly could inform the build of facilities for electricity and power generation and other utilities. Laing O’Rourke has already, for example, applied DfMA to large water-retaining tanks, which have traditionally been constructed by pouring concrete in situ, requiring a longer installation period and a larger team.”

However, the company is closing its closing its Bison concrete products factory in Scotland and downsizing operations at its main plant in Derbyshire.

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