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Developing temporary manufacturing facilities for residential building: a case of the modern flying factory

Young, B., Harty, C., Lu, S.-L. ORCID: and Davies, R. (2015) Developing temporary manufacturing facilities for residential building: a case of the modern flying factory. In: the 31st ARCOM Conference, 7th – 9th September, Lincoln, England, UK, pp. 1033-1042.

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The building industry is often berated for its short comings in meeting up with the demand for the provision of new housing. Addressing the need for new housing stock is a challenge that has led to debates among professional bodies, the construction sector, housing industry and government. The introduction of new manufacturing technologies is often offered as a solution, but the challenges of increasing the amount of off-site construction in residential building are well known and well-rehearsed. The modern flying factory (MFF) is a concept that involves the manufacture of specific components or modules in temporary off- or near- site locations using relatively simple and quick to set up and dismantle technologies and processes. The aim is to produce short batches and hence achieve some of the benefits of off-site manufacture on a much smaller scale than in dedicated factory environments. A case study of a modern flying factory being set up to produce pre-assembled utility cupboards for a large residential development in London is presented, involving participant observation and informal interviews with key actors on the design and operationalising of the process. The case reveals that although there are costs, efficiency and health and safety benefits to using MFF approaches, there are also challenges to overcome over the time required to set up and establish the process for relatively short runs, and in evaluating whether the MFF or traditional site based production is most effective for particular aspects of projects.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:42131

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