A Design Approach for Better Construction

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Design for Manufacture and Assembly

Most automobiles and consumer goods that you use are made using DfMA. DfMA is catching on in modern methods of construction (MMC), thanks to modular construction’s assembly-line approach. But what is it, after all?

Simply put, DfMA is a design method that simplifies production and assembly of factory-manufactured goods—ultimately reducing time, waste, cost, and labor, while increasing quality and efficiency.


Better Speed

Prefabricated components reduce on-site work and coordination, resulting in fewer roadblocks.

Higher Reliability

Fewer components and simplified operations bring down project complications.

Improved Safety

A factory-controlled environment reduces work-related hazards compared to a traditional construction site.

Lower Assembly Cost

Optimized labor, material, and coordination save time and money.

Reduced Waste

Smartly chosen materials and precise quantities help reduce construction waste.

A Seamless Transition

and faster turnaround time

Superior Quality

and viability

Power of Manufacturing

Over the past two decades, the construction sector’s annual productivity growth has merely increased 1% on average compared to 3.6% for the manufacturing industry.1 An efficiency boost has become crucial for this trillion-dollar industry in this day and age.

Good news is, industrialized construction is quickly emerging as a winning method to build. So, every developer should understand and make the most of it.

1. McKinsey & Company

This Methodology Combines Two Concepts

Design for Manufacture

DFM deals with choosing the most cost-effective materials and processes to simplify operations.

Design for Assembly

DFA is a product designing approach that ensures smooth and easy assembly of products—while reducing assembly costs and minimizing operations.

DfMA in Construction

For an industry as fragmented and antiquated as construction, a streamlined methodology is a welcome approach. DfMA can be achieved through BIM, which is already a powerful medium to collaborate, manage, and visualize a project.

BIM’s involvement also means that all project parties—including the architect, engineer, modular manufacturer, contractor, and developer—know the exact details of the project.

It’s best to adopt DfMA (and hence, modular construction) early in the design stage—as this article explores in detail.

An Example

  • Imagine a structural wood panel (such as OSB) being used at a traditional jobsite. A sub contractor will need to manually measure and cut these panels into specific blocks and parts—right at the jobsite—and the remainder goes to waste.
  • Conversely in manufactured construction, material usage is planned right from the design stage. The designer creates Revit models of these boards with a cut-list generated for each module, which is used to pre-cut the boards in exact dimensions.
  • These pre-cut boards are batched together, and each batch corresponding to a specific module is sent to the right place in a modular factory for assembly.3
  • Thus, simplifying the process and planning materials right from the design stage help reduce waste and leave little room for errors.

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