Industrialized Construction (IC)

Industrialized construction is an approach that aims to enhance performance, productivity, and certainty in the construction industry by reducing unnecessary variation.

It represents a shift from the current way of project based working towards a model that is characterised by common / standardised processes, mechanised production, and advanced technology.

By applying an industrialized approach, numerous longstanding issues can begin to be addressed, creating new opportunities for innovation and efficiency, including

  • Enhanced productivity and cost-efficiency through standardised processes and economies of repetition
  • Greater predictability and certainty in project outcomes, reducing risks and variability
  • Seamless data exchange and integration of digital tools and techniques throughout the development lifecycle
  • Improved quality and safety due to controlled manufacturing environments and consistent procedures, resulting in higher-quality buildings with fewer defects
  • Increased sustainability with reduced waste, better resource management, and promotion of circular economy principles
  • Adaptability to meet specific project needs while maintaining efficiency
  • Transformed supply chains featuring long-term relationships and collaborative innovation
  • Broader and more diverse workforce opportunities with stable employment, skills development, and training programs for new technologies and processes
  • Continuous improvement across multiple programmes and projects, fostering sector-wide learning
  • Improved industry resilience through reduced uncertainty and volatility, encouraging investment in innovation
Platforms are common, repeatable relationships, processes, and repeatable products, enabling a more productive, sustainable, and socially inclusive construction industry. One method for implementing industrialisation is therefore the use of platforms, in unnecessary variation while allowing for variation where it adds value.

At Akerlof we have always tried to adopt a broad definition of MMC – as contemporary innovations that include new technologies (such as digital tools and techniques), offsite manufacture and the use of efficient processes to deliver better outcomes.

We recognise however that much of the industry views MMC as synonymous with offsite, prefabricated solutions, particularly volumetric modular. We want to shift the horizon toward towards more fundamental and far-reaching transformation. To delineate when were talking about a wider, programmatic based approach, we adopt the term industrialized construction.

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change

This shift is characterised by: 

  • Systems Thinking: Encouraging a holistic, system-level approach to transform the entire delivery model, moving beyond the adoption of manufactured solutions within the existing project-by-project, engineer-to-order model.
  • Sector-Wide Impact: Seeking transformation at a sector level, beyond  discrete, individual projects.
  • Business Model Innovation: Enabling fundamental changes to business models and organizational structures in the construction industry, as opposed to incremental changes within existing frameworks.
  • End to End Focus: Extending focus beyond construction delivery to include standardisation and automation in all stages of a development lifecycle, including business cases, design, cost management, procurement, logistics, and maintenance.
  • Commonality and Repeatability: Placing stronger emphasis on common, repeatable processes, systems, and data across multiple projects and organisations, reducing unnecessary variation between projects.
  • Integrated Supply Chains: Aiming for deeper, more stable supply chain relationships, that foster long-term collaboration and continuous improvement through alliance based models
  • Continuous Improvement: Implementing a clear model for deployment and improvement at a programmatic level, across multiple projects, enhancing sector-wide learning and development.
  • Delivering Betters: Striving for improved productivity, sustainability, and quality through systematic, industry-wide changes.

Jamie Hillier

Partner
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With a penchant for tweed and jackets with leather arm patches, Jamie began his career as a quantity surveyor, before climbing the ladder to lead major projects for a Tier 1 contractor.

Eventually expanding his book collection beyond copies of SMM7, Jamie has interest in a broad range of subjects linked to delivering better outcomes for society and the environment.

His strategic insights on MMC and behavioural science have made their way into numerous government, industry and academic publications, including the Construction Playbook, Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030, the Platform Rulebook and the RIBA DfMA Overlay.

John Handscomb

Partner
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Construction is in John’s blood. Learning from his father who was a planner and project manager, John began his career by working on some iconic projects in both the public and private sector.

As a procurement expert and integrator of new ways of working, John has pioneered the integration of platform principles, DfMA processes and supply chain within over £5bn projects in the last 15 years, for some of the largest building programmes in the UK. Despite his considerable expertise, John keeps it simple, communicating complicated ideas with ease and helping to equip the industry with new knowledge and skills.

Outside of Akerlof, John enjoys his executive role with technology start-up ScanTech Digital, spending time with his family, taking trips down the football, playing a bit of golf with friends and the odd pint. 

Our name is shared with George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

His seminal paper, Market for Lemons, demonstrated the devastating consequences of making decisions under the conditions of quality uncertainty and unequal information between buyers and sellers, increasing the chance of buyers ending up with a ‘lemon’.

This 50-year-old concept continues to retain parallels within the construction industry.

Through our insight and experience, we can rebalance this information asymmetry on behalf of our clients, levelling the playing field to deliver better outcomes.