NG Bailey – Pioneering New Offsite Manufacturing Techniques

NG Bailey has been championing offsite manufacturing techniques since the 1990s. Now in its centenary year, the company is a partner in the Construction Innovation Hub’s Platform Design Programme – the largest ever Government-backed research and development programme in the industry.

The Construction Innovation Hub is playing a key role in supporting the UK Research and Innovation’s Transforming Construction Challenge which seeks to create a more sustainable and productive sector by targeting a built environment with better whole life performance; exploiting digital and manufacturing technology to accelerate the change.

Working alongside partners from the Construction Innovation Hub and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, NG Bailey is volunteering time and expertise to support the development of innovative solutions to support the transformation.

Paul Aulton, Regional Director of Engineering at NG Bailey explained: “NG Bailey is contributing its expertise to help develop a standard range of plantroom and riser solutions.

“The aims of the Platform Design Programme are very much aligned to our ambitions to continue to push the boundaries and develop new offsite construction solutions, particularly as we are now in our centenary year it would be a major step forward for us, and our industry as a whole, to see manufacturing-led approaches being more widely adopted.”

Platform design in action at The Forge

The Forge is an innovative office development for Landsec in Southwark, London; it is the world’s first large scale office building to be designed and constructed using a ‘kit of parts’ led solution built on a platform design for manufacturing and assembly (P-DfMA) structural frame.

Landsec has ambitious targets for the construction of The Forge – they’re aiming for the construction and operation of the 139,000 sq ft development of two nine-storey office buildings to be net zero carbon – a first for the UK.

Following a competitive tender, NG Bailey became involved with the project in December 2019 when they were chosen to work with Bryden Wood Technology, multi-disciplinary design consultants for the project; to develop a mechanical and electrical (M&E) kit of parts, which they were subsequently appointed to manufacture and install.

The parts are now in production at the company’s specialist Offsite Manufacture facility in Bradford with onsite installation set to begin later this year.

Graeme Brady, Engineering Manager at NG Bailey led on the detailed design for manufacture of the M&E kit of parts, he explained: “We were already working on developing our own kit of parts within NG Bailey so there were clear synergies in our approaches. As well as being an exciting project, it also has been extremely collaborative between all partners. Working with Bryden Wood, we’ve designed five Cat A M&E cassettes in various sizes including pipework, fan coil units, and ceiling modules along with ductwork kits. They’ve been designed in such a way that they can be replicated on each floor of the building – and of course, can be taken forward and used on future projects.

“Absolutely nothing has been left to doubt on this project – the project partners have worked together to build a prototype model of the building at the Construction Platform Design Research Centre in Ropley, a facility jointly developed by Bryden Wood and prototyping specialists Easi-space. This means we already know exactly how the M&E equipment integrates into the building, what it looks like from a design point of view and crucially, how long takes to install.”

The approach has removed circa 20,000 operative hours from the project and will deliver substantial carbon benefits by avoiding 35,600km of vehicle movements, which saves six tonnes of carbon alone. This is the equivalent to the carbon sequestered from 276 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. Offsite techniques also dramatically reduce waste materials both onsite and in the factory environment.

Neil Pennell, Head of Design Innovation and Property Solutions at Landsec, comments on the impact The Forge is set to have on the industry: “The Forge is setting new industry standards for sustainable and cost-effective construction. The platform DfMA approach we have taken to design and construction will transform how offices are delivered in the future. What we learn at the capital’s most innovative construction site will shape the way we approach future projects and help change the industry for the better.

“NG Bailey has been a long-time advocate of the benefits of offsite industrialised construction and it has been great to have their expert team working with us from the early stages of the project, helping to bring our vision to life.”

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