STANDARDISATION & PREFABRICATION
Standardisation and prefabrication are currently a hot topic in the design and construction industries. Budgets are tight as are programmes, prefabricating and standardising elements assists each of these factors. Added to that is the drive for sustainability and innovation and increased efficiency.
From experience and analysing the vast amount of research and innovation currently being published and the pros and cons of programmes, we believe there are many opportunities for standardisation whilst still providing the individual approach and ‘genius loci’ which our clients desire.
Standardised elements can be as small as a window/door or a large as a room or sets of rooms with associated facilities. Ultimately, a standard kit of parts can be used in an infinite number of ways; it’s the varying use of the standard parts which allows for an efficiency.
A building constructed of standard elements does not need to be mediocre in design, it is the architectural skill, flexibility and use of the standard elements which allow the creativity of an award winning design. Watkins Gray have successfully used standard parts on a number of projects including Building Schools for the Future batches for Lewisham and Newcastle (envelope and façade).
With standardisation there is also the opportunity to rationalise areas and elements with a lean plan where the efficiency of modules can allow repeated areas/spaces to be standardised. This offers the opportunity for more creative spaces elsewhere. These are the areas which make a building unique and enable a scheme to respond to its context, brief and users.
We have developed an expertise working with restrained design briefs to achieve the aforementioned and enjoy the challenges the design briefs present.
Combining our ‘art and science’ philosophy with that of our cross sector approach we bring added value to the process of designing and delivering sustainable developments and effective regeneration. For us, design is providing the surroundings and tools for an inspiring environment which enables users to flourish, to make a difference and to take great pride in achieving this success.
We believe one of the next developments regarding standardisation is adaptability. In this fast-moving world, driven by technology, the use and maintenance of a building is likely to change significantly over the life of a building. Adaptability will therefore become more important. Exchange of components, by minimising the impact on the rest of the building - true plug-and-play - will become a new design requirement.