Schmidt, Mohyuddin & Austin, DSM 2008, Stockholm.pdf (134.29 kB)

Using DSM to redefine buildings for adaptability

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conference contribution
posted on 24.03.2010, 16:53 by Robert Schmidt III, Syed Mohyuddin, Simon Austin, Alistair Gibb
As a society we suffer from the inclination to ignore the causes of problems and instead deal with the effects; this disposition to find a ‘remedy’ rather than a prevention bolsters our tendency to resist change. The current challenge which besieges the resilient construction industry, sustainability, finds a remedy on a project basis by lionizing buildings rather than addressing the actual haphazard construction process which continues to endure. We have instilled over time a bespoke industry of onsite construction requiring an array of sub-industries to deliver a skilled workforce and various raw materials at a particular site creating a unique prototype every time. Several influential, government-back reports have argued for more joined-up production, exploiting the underlying common processes [1]. One initiative held by the Adaptablefutures group looks to exploit the initial design chain of events to imbue adaptability into the building’s lifecycle. This group is working with GSK (GlaxoSmithKline), a multi-national pharmaceutical company, to address their need to cut the construction time of their facilities from 24 months to 13 weeks. This project, Newways, looks to redefine the overall method of how buildings are assembled by standardizing all elements and creating a catalogue from which to design. Figure 1 shows the proposed system of parts (900), components (90), and assemblies (30) initially to be used for three types of their facilities (laboratories, primary and secondary production). The GSK facilities are needed in a very tight sequential timeline, and the use of standard design and construction methods creates an extensive period of overlap, creating a high level of risk due to the uncertainties of starting construction prior to knowing exactly what is needed. Shorter construction time means less risk and more control enabling the deferment of critical investment decisions, lower capital costs, and the ability to reconfigure facilities quickly during design.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


SCHMIDT III, R. ... et al, 2008. Using DSM to redefine buildings for adaptability. Proceedings of the 10th International DSM Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 11-12 November 2008.


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