In the construction industry, Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA) involves improving quality through the application of efficiency.
Finding the most efficient way of delivering a project reduces the resources required (whether this is measured in cost, time, carbon, waste or labour) while increasing positive aspects such as health and safety, quality, certainty. A DFMA solution can be achieved to a higher quality at lower cost and in less time.
DFMA takes many forms, but the common factor is the application of factory (or factory-like) conditions to construction projects.
A DFMA solution starts by understanding the end product and draws upon the range of suppliers and systems available. Varying degrees of "granularity" can be added according to the project requirements. Volumetric solutions create as much of the finished product as possible in the factory, with on-site labour minimised. "Flat pack" or panelised create a kit of parts that can be quickly assembled on site. Often prefabricated sub-assemblies (M&E services, for instance) are deployed in conjunction with more traditional build elements.
For some situations, traditional build elements may be used but the site is effectively turned into a factory. Pre-packed "fit out kits" are delivered to the work face with everything needed for the work. Waste is virtually eliminated, along with the most common causes of delay on site, i.e. lack of materials, follow-on trades and reworking.
DFMA also allows for buildings to be deconstructed more safely, with components or even entire buildings able to be reconfigured or redeployed elsewhere. This is the ultimate form of sustainable construction.
A generic term applying to factory preassembled products (usually building services) that would otherwise be assembled onsite. A typical example is a hand basin fitted with taps and waste.
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