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Product and Process Innovation

Just as social and political needs are changing, so construction and engineering must break away from traditional processes. Governments, developers and end-users are demanding safer, more cost-effective and sustainable solutions – delivered faster and to a higher quality.

Laing O’Rourke is revolutionising how we evolve towns and cities within challenging constraints – driven by our investment in and development of our ‘Design for Manufacture and Assembly’ (DfMA) approach.

As pioneers of ‘offsite construction’ we have driven this concept far beyond its earliest iteration. Once little more than the production of precast concrete components, today we are delivering an extensive range of modular solutions through our sophisticated manufacturing capabilities. These products range from columns, beams and sleepers to smart walls and building systems – all provided to a cost, time and specification with which traditional construction processes cannot compete.

Through early engagement in the design process, our DfMA approach allows us to address construction and engineering challenges before work begins on site – instilling confidence in methodologies, programme and budget.

Using automated processes to manufacture construction components in a controlled offsite environment, DfMA allows us to calculate materials requirements with absolute precision. This way, the industry’s most sustainable construction solution allows us to eliminate waste from the outset - and return would-be waste back into the production process. By taking work off site - reducing onsite activities - the construction process becomes inherently safer.

Already clients are experiencing the benefits of DfMA – on projects ranging from schools to hospitals, luxury hotels in city-centres and mining infrastructure in remote areas. Enhanced thermal efficiency dramatically reduces energy consumption – and total lifecycle costs are also cut as the superior performance of DfMA components limits the need for future maintenance work. These innate advantages will drive us ever closer to the vision of zero-carbon construction.

We believe there is enormous potential to move this approach far beyond the building sector, applying modular methodologies to large-scale infrastructure schemes – informing the construction of power generation facilities and other utilities. Already we are pioneering this high-tech approach on the delivery of cryogenic tanks in Australia’s Northern Territory.

While these principles have been common practice in sectors such as energy and aerospace for well over a decade, they are relatively new to construction. Should it become the process of choice though, we believe it will transform our industry – for good.