Offsite prefabrication driven by DfMA

Offsite prefabrication offers several benefits across the construction industry ranging from faster project completion to improved construction quality. However, the true potential of offsite prefabricated building services is by using Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) principles. In this article, we’re going to discuss how offsite prefabrication driven by DfMA empowers offsite construction across the lifespan of a project.

Holding back offsite prefabrication potential

Offsite prefabrication has managed to transform how the construction industry looks at a project by offering numerous benefits. There are timescale and cost-saving benefits associated with choosing offsite prefabrication, as well as improved construction quality with less wasted material. It’s a modern method that helps manufacturers and construction specialists get the absolute best out of their work, leading to improved projects.

There is much more potential to unlock in offsite prefabrication services that is, often, being overlooked. For starters, offsite should be a consideration right from the beginning of a project to help shape the trajectory and overall aim of the work. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for offsite prefabrication being implemented during a project, rather than being a part of the initial planning phases. To help get the most out of this solution, it’s important to incorporate from the earliest possible planning stages. Projects need to be established, modelled and designed with offsite in mind to get the best out of it.

One of the best ways to go about this is through the implementation of DfMA, which aims to advance offsite prefabrication. This approach looks at advancing the design process that uses standardised components to more readily manufacture and assemble them. Using this approach enhances the numerous benefits that offsite prefabrication already provides – ranging from vastly reduced timeframes to greater productivity throughout a project.

The benefits that DfMA drive offsite fabrication offers

Research into the benefits of DfMA-guided projects demonstrates just how beneficial this approach could be. For example, using DfMA principles in a project could yield:

  • 20 to 40 % drop in construction timescales
  • 20 to 40 % drop in construction costs
  • 70% reduction of on-site labour
  • Improved quality of construction
  • Less waste

With these benefits in mind, it’s important to understand how to adopt these principles. In essence, DfMA looks to ensure the right products and components are used from the outset, coupled with precise assembly and manufacturing tolerances. It also considers the design of a structure, ensuring that it’s as easy to assemble as possible. Another important aspect is the digital tools, such as 3D modelling software, which helps meet the needs of offsite prefabrication. Designs are created digitally which creates clearly defined and well-detailed drawings and designs to perfectly align with what the project needs.

Precision is key for DfMA offsite prefabrication

One of the core principles for both offsite prefabrication building services and DfMA is precision. All of the structural components of a project are manufactured off-site before entering the site for placement. This approach ensures precision and streamlined coordination for all components. Without precision and accuracy, time is wasted remedying the issue and costs rise due to the reworking and possible refabrication of components. Failure to get precision right causes a number of issues and knock-on effects that seriously threaten the success of a project.

Thankfully, digital tools such as building information modelling (BIM) can offer content-rich models and renders to facilitate precision on a project. Generating accurate 3D models allows for advanced inspection of structures before they make it to the project site. This is an excellent way to instil confidence and ensure everything goes according to plan when it comes time for assembly.

These 3D models are an excellent resource for projects and allow for several different checks and balances that can be automated. Things like documentation, production schedules, project reports and more are automatically created with the data found in 3D models. This is a truly invaluable resource for a project and further cement precision and accuracy for a project that uses offsite prefabrication and DfMA principles.


It’s clear that offsite prefabrication provides projects with a host of benefits, but these benefits can be expanded upon with the guiding principles of DfMA. These principles can help throughout all areas of a project and should be adopted throughout, from the planning to the construction phase. This, alongside modern tools such as BIM and 3D modelling, ensures that projects are more accurate – unlocking the true potential of offsite prefabrication in the process.

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