Constructing the Fitzrovia, W1 – DfMA driving urban construction

Construction is in full flow for the structural solution of the Fitzrovia W1, an 87,000 sq ft 6-storey mixed-use hybrid frame development in the heart of central London.

Appointed by Kier as design and build contractor, PCE has implemented its HybriDfMA Frame System for the structural delivery. Doing so simplifies and streamlines the entire design, manufacture, and installation solution, allowing PCE to build safely, quickly, and to the highest quality.

 

Accelerated Assembly – Standardisation for Successful Installation

Standardisation is a key benefit to all of PCE’s HybriDfMA systems, covering all phases of design, manufacture, and installation. It removes ambiguity, reduces complexity, and increases predictability by creating a system that is much easier to plan, coordinate, and control. The Fitzrovia is testament to the benefits of PCE’s hybrid DfMA delivery.

Components, such as stair and beam units, arrive to site preassembled with temporary handrails, ensuring they are primed and ready for fast installation and safe access. PCE’s multidisciplinary team then install each level with pace and precision, enabled by the HybriDfMA Frame system’s standardised installation methodologies, repeatable components, and ‘smart connectivity’ for proven and reliable interfacing. Through establishing systems that leverage commonality, PCE are able to reduce complexities, improve consistencies, and create certainties. It also means PCE are able to achieve a lot more with a lot less; a team of just 16 operatives are able to install the structural solution with speed and precision. This is evident in the fact that the project is on course to be delivered faster than the agreed contract period.

Once a level is structurally complete, temporary works are stripped out. This allows safe and fast access for follow on trades and a faster fit out. Doing so means that not only will PCE complete the structural solution quickly, but the structure itself will become operational much sooner than would be achieved in a more traditional, fragmented approach. Importantly, a faster installation programme means less disruption to the local area. Given Fitzrovia W1’s central London location, reducing disturbance and the overall programme is a key consideration.

 

Manufacturing Diligence for Installation Effectiveness

The hybrid structure is comprised of a selection of repeatable components that make up the systems ‘Kit of Parts’. These ‘Kit of Parts’ components encompass of a variety of materials, including reinforced precast concrete, insitu concrete, and composite steel beams. In total, The Fitzrovia W1 will see over 2,100 units manufactured and installed. This includes brick-faced sandwich panels, stairs, landings, upstands, twin and solid walls, and recycled steel for the composite steel beams, as well as 5,000m2 of concrete in-situ flooring. In addition, there are in excess of 1,000 hollowcore slabs, reducing material usage, which helps contribute to a sustainable solution for The Fitzrovia. Many of the project’s components will be exposed, giving a clean as stuck finish to the concrete, including soffits, columns and other concrete elements. As such, diligence in manufacturing is key to ensuring PCE components look and perform to the highest standard.  Achieving consistency of quality standards is achievable through an offsite DfMA strategy. This approach means quality control is to a much higher level, reducing errors, delays and waste. This provides greater consistency and certainty of quality levels.

 

Digital Delivery

In addition to PCE’s systemised HybriDfMA Frame increasing certainty and predictability, PCE’s use of Ynomia, a digital asset tracking and insight management tool, elevates project certainty and control further.

State-of-the-art digital capabilities are used to comprehensively track, monitor, and control project progress. Using the latest low-energy Bluetooth tracking, the site team have visibility of when loads are due to arrive via an interactive 3D digital twin. Not only does this aid a just-in-time delivery strategy, key to the inner-city location, it also providers greater visibility and management of delivery schedules. This helps maximise efficiency of the site team, which in turn supports a faster installation programme. It also enables a ‘touch it once’ philosophy; with diligent planning, components can be installed into their final location directly from the delivery wagon. This saves time and manual handling of components, plus saves space with a holding yard not required.

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