• Outputs

    Outputs

DESIGN STANDARDISATION AND PRODUCT FAMILIES

Standardisation is critical to an effective industrialised housing approach.  The automotive industry has shown how standardisation can be leveraged to derive significant business benefits, such as lowering costs, increasing productivity and improving quality.

Within WP5, led by the AIMCH developer partners, the team undertook studies of existing housing portfolios to better understand the level of current standardisation that exists and how best to design solutions, that yields greater future standardisation, by developing common components/sub-assemblies or design parameters.

An early part of the work delivered, was to manage the differing developer attitudes, approaches, ideas, supply chains and brand characteristics relating to standardisation.

The work delivered a standardisation methodology and ranking system, leading to detailed studies of key areas of standardisation interest, by each of the AIMCH developer partners. This included suggested standardised components or sub-assemblies, known as product families. These were completed for the following high impact areas:

  1. External apertures – windows & doors
  2. Staircases & landings – excluding handrails/newels
  3. Wet rooms – bathrooms, ensuites and WC’s
  4. Service cupboards – electrical/utility areas and hot water storage spaces.
  5. Storey heights – considered within the DFMA guide to panelised MMC systems

These product families will be developed further, through collaborative engagement with supply chains and the creation of industrialised kit of parts, suitable for use within future AIMCH housing designs & in the creation of Industrialised Housing Pattern Books.  

Finished housing development
CAD drawing
Project team meeting

summary

The AIMCH Design Standardisation and Product Family Report, was developed by the AIMCH developer partners. This provides insight to the detailed information developed over 18 months, providing a methodology and framework for others to use when seeking to drive housing standardisation.

The key objectives were:

Develop a down selection methodology to determine the standardisation opportunities and how to prioritise these.

To identify the high impact areas, where standardisation and product families can yield greatest benefit, without impacting home purchaser or construction processes.

To produce detailed standardisation/variability studies of these areas, using the AIMCH developers housing portfolios and specifications.

To provide recommendations and suggest standardised product families which can be adopted in future housing designs and supply chain engagement.

 

Journey

AIMCH utilised the experiences for the developer partners, Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments and London & Quadrant Housing Trust, as well as Manufacturing Technology Centre automotive experiences, to develop a standardisation approach. 

The standardisation approach was focused on the following key areas:

  • Selection Process

    A key challenge for the AIMCH developer partners was a methodology to derive the most effective things to standardise. All partners had wide ranging views, believes and perceptions, which made it difficult to establish a common approach and methodology for selecting things to be considered further.

    The project developed a down selection methodology and scoring system to evaluate standardisation opportunities.

    The MTC provided non-partisan facilitation, using previous methodologies and tactics derived within the automotive industry. This led to several workshops, hosted by MTC, where developer information was shared and discussed in a collaborative way.

    These workshops led to the creation of a long list of 18 standardisation topics. All topics had merit, but it was clear a means to filter these was needed. This led to the following down selection process:

    1. Set selection criteria definitions.
    2. Assemble list of product families to be standardised.
    3. Scoring of the product families.
    4. Shortlisting of critical product family concepts.

    Setting the selection criteria was important. This derived 13 key selection criteria, including commercial benefit, consumer impact, ease of implementation and build certainty. Linked to this was a scoring scale to evaluate impact for each criterion. A matrix was developed.

    The conclusion to the down selection process resulted in 5 key areas of Design Standardisation:
    1. External Apertures – Windows and Doors
    2. Service Cupboards – Electrical/Utilities Areas and Hot Water Storage Spaces
    3. Storey Heights – Considered with the DFMA Guide
    4. Wet rooms – Bathrooms, En-suites and WC’s
    5. Staircases and landings – excluding handrails/newels

    These were then developed in much greater detail through Detailed Standardisation Studies and Product Family Recommendations.

  • Standardisation Studies

    A significant part of this work package was the completion of detailed standardisation studies. These were undertaken by the AIMCH developer partners using their current housing portfolio ranges. The developers worked innovatively together to share information. 99 homes were analysed in total.

    The Design Standardisation Studies focused on:
    1. External apertures – windows & doors
    2. Service cupboards – electrical/utilities areas and hot water storage spaces
    3. Storey heights – considered with the DFMA guide
    4. Wet rooms – bathrooms, en-suites and WC’s
    5. Staircases & landings – excluding handrails/newels

    The studies involved detailed evaluations of the standardised opportunities identified within the down selection process. Each developer focused on studying at least one area.

    The studies investigated the influencing factors and constraints, around the issues of achieving coalescence of standardised outcomes. Often this is limited by external factors out with the developers controls such as differing building regulations.

    The AIMCH developer's were at varying levels of housing portfolio design maturity. The cross section of expertise was highly beneficial in recognising the differing developer challenges in embracing, leveraging and implementing design standardisation.

    The studies were most illuminating. They highlighted the lack of standardisation that exists within a developer, between developer and as an industry. It also highlighted how the evolution of housing portfolios overtime have created high levels of variability.

    The studies concluded with specific recommendations on standardised product families and governance measures for each area studied. The concept being a kit of standardised common parts or sub-assemblies, that can be individually or collaboratively procured and integrated into future housing designs.

    In doing so, this approach to standardisation, can yield significant commercial, business and housing delivery benefits, without detracting from brand values and consumer appeal, whilst also complying with UK regulatory variations.

  • Product Families and Recommendations

    A significant part of this work package was the completion of Product Family Recommendations.

    The recommendations focused on:
    1. External apertures – windows & doors
    2. Staircases & landings – excluding handrails/newels
    3. Wet rooms – bathrooms, en-suites and WC’s
    4. Storey heights – considered with the DFMA guide

    The work produced specific recommendations on standardised product families and governance measures for each area.

    Through supply chain engagement, further benefits could be realised through optimised window production, raw material optimisation, handling and protection, with a view to reducing cost, waste and transportation.

    These product families will be developed further, with supply chains and the creation of industrialised kit of parts, suitable for use within future AIMCH housing designs & in the creation of Industrialised Housing Pattern Books.

  • External Aperture Recommendations

    The work concluded be recommending the dimensions most readily suitable for standardisation. This led to a 3 tier standardised system approach. Tier 1 (Green) being the Top 10 most used dimensions, representing at least 71% of window openings needed in a conventional commonly derived house design. The Top 10 all fall within a common suite of parameters that provide reasonable coverage and compliance across the UK.

    Tier 2 (Amber) sizes impact to a lesser extent but offer a wide range of standardised sizes, to suit a wider range of parameters. Tier 3 (Red) are outlier sizes, which attract technical and commercial implications.

    The report goes on to evaluate external door openings. A key finding was the potential to derive a common single front/rear door brick opening size.

  • Staircase and Storey Height Recommendations

    The study assessed the current state of variability within opening widths, depths and height clearances of stairwells. Stairwell openings are driven by internal layouts, floor to floor heights, clearance values and handrail/newel preferences, as well as regulatory requirements.

    All AIMCH developers work to varying floor to floor heights, due to differing joist depths, floor make ups and internal ceiling heights. This is a challenge, however there is strong potential to coalesce around a common floor to floor height, including a small tolerance provision to allow flexibility in joist depth.

    Stair manufacturing supply chains were engaged, on dimensional optimisation and coordination from a manufacturing perspective.

    The work concluded be recommending the opening and floor to floor height dimensions, most readily suitable for standardisation, across the AIMCH developer partners and the wider housing industry.

    The study highlighted the potential for a set of modular common stair parts within a staircase design that has potential for unilateral adoption across the staircase supply chain and by developers.

    A key conclusion from the research study, was the critical requirement to have a common floor to floor height. The study coordinated panelised MMC systems such as timber frame, common plasterboard sizes and timber engineered joists, to determine a common floor to floor dimension suitable for floor joists ranging 235 – 241mm.

  • Wet Room Recommendations

    Wet room layouts are driven by internal layouts, spatial requirements, sanitary ware, fitted furniture, developer specifications/finishes and brand preferences, as well as regulatory requirements.

    The study reviewed actual wet room layouts, configurations and sizes components across the AIMCH developers. All the AIMCH developers have a high degree of variation in wet rooms. This is a significant challenge to overcome, however there is strong potential to coalesce around a common range for wet room layouts, configurations and sizes.

    The recommendations culminated in a suite of wet room layouts and configurations. The studies identified 4 common bathroom layouts, 4 common en-suite configurations and 3 common cloakrooms. The study focused on the dimensional setting out, layout configurations and spatial design to allow flexibility in fit out and door orientation of standardised wet room designs.

    Standardised bathroom and en-suite pods, have commercial promise, albeit viability and technical challenges remain. These could be prefabricated as industrialised sub assembly solutions and could be adopted in an industrialised housing design of the future.

    A hybrid pod and panelised MMC construction method could be feasible. However further considerations are needed, for example, additional floor area to cater for one, two and three side pod locations and floor levels to cater for pod base designs, as well as service connections points and fire integrity of the main superstructure.

    Cloakroom are less likely to be commercially viable as prefabricated sub-assembly pods, due to the simplicity and cost effectiveness of current conventional construction methods.

    In the longer term, through AIMCH housing design and further supply chain engagement, optimised pod production and volume procurement, should reduce cost and achieve a commercial tipping point, that fuels mainstream adoption of this hybrid MMC construction method. This work will be taken forward within the AIMCH supplier sandpit selection process during 2021.

Onsite assembly
CAD station
CAD drawing

 

Principal OUTCOMES

The AIMCH Design Standardisation and Product Family Report, was developed by the AIMCH developer partners. This provides insight to the detailed information developed over 18 months, providing a methodology and framework for others to use when seeking to drive housing standardisation and create product families.

The key outcomes were:

1
A down selection methodology to determine the standardisation opportunities and how to prioritise these.
2

Identification of the top 4 high impact areas, where standardisation and product families can yield greatest benefit, without impacting home purchaser or construction processes.

3
Detailed standardisation/variability studies for external openings, stairs, wet rooms and service areas, using the AIMCH developers housing portfolios and specifications.
4
Product family recommendations and suggested standardised product families, which can be adopted in future housing designs and supply chain engagement.

Conclusion

Standardisation is a subject often discussed but difficult to tangibly realise. The down selection process provides a clear way to assess and select standardisation opportunities. 

The detailed standardisation studies delivered in collaboration between the AIMCH developer partners, is thought to the first of their kind, marking a step change in attitude, towards industrialised thinking and working together to solve the challenges of standardisation and deployment of product family solutions.

The standardisation recommendations derived, form a robust basis to engage the supply chain and develop future industrialised housing ranges that drive further benefit.  Technical and commercial challenges remain, but as the automotive sector have shown, embracing standardisation and developing platform designs, can be game changing.

AIMCH partners are already seeing business opportunities where this work can be exploited within their businesses. Through the creation and exploitation of industrialised housing designs of the future, that embrace standardisation and MMC, AIMCH will deliver more high quality, appealing, cost effective homes. 

These product families will be developed further, through collaborative engagement with supply chains and the creation of industrialised kit of parts, suitable for use within future AIMCH housing designs & in the creation of Industrialised Housing Pattern Books.