Laing O’Rourke’s Centre of Excellence for Modern Construction in Steetley, Nottinghamshire
Laing O’Rourke is aiming to deliver 90% of construction work on projects inside its factories by 2025.
Currently, the group’s goal is to manufacture 70% of a project’s components offsite, part of its ‘70:60:30’ strategy, which also targets 60% productivity gains and 30% programme improvements through use of design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA).
“We’re now driving towards 80% of our work being factory manufactured,” said head of infrastructure Declan McGeeney. “The Grange hospital in Gwent was in the high 70s. Ray [O’Rourke, group CEO] wants 90% to 95% by 2025.”
McGeeney, who revealed that Laing O’Rourke’s manufacturing facilities have been able to operate at full capacity for most of the covid lockdown said several work packages could become more ‘factory-friendly’.
“Structures is one,” he said. “We enter projects later than we would like, which can make it harder to change structural elements. Cladding is not consistent across industry. Finishes tend to be done quite traditionally.
“Getting digital embedded right from tender is key so we can build the project virtually before we reach site.”
McGeeney said he sensed a “marked shift” in attitudes to offsite, with factory environments making it easier to implement social distancing and clients seeing it as a way of de-risking projects.
“We have to plan for any second wave of covid so our projects are not impacted,” he said. “We have more offsite enquiries coming in. Some clients have asked us about redesigning a project to suit DfMA or to prefabricate elements like the structure, the lift shaft, the MEP.
“Even our competitors are asking our businesses about how to embed offsite within their business. Some 50% of turnover at [subsidiary companies] Crown House and Expanded is outside Laing O’Rourke, so we have a chance to shift opinion in the market.”