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Suits you, sir

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TECHNICAL & PRACTICE

In the second article on lean production derived from the automobile industry, we look at framework systems Car manufacturers have built in adaptability as a regular component of their manufacturing processes for some time. The concept of 'consumerpower' has derived from, and given legitimacy to, the misconception that consumption determines production, rather than the other way around.

Therefore flexible production has become a normalised perception of best business practice.

Obviously, people enjoy being given more choices in a range of consumer goods. Car manufacturers have standard platforms onto which the purchaser can plug colours, safety devices, alarms, bull bars, electric gizmos and personalised flashes.

Although we have a long way to go before we incorporate real meaningful choices into the concept stages of automotive manufacturing, consumers are well aware of this adaptive potential, and regularly ask for products more responsive to their needs.

Sir John Egan's plea that the construction market learn from the automotive sector compares chalk with cheese, but some construction professionals are trying to combine standardised automated platforms with variable additions.

Framework and LTS Architects have developed a system-build package which is suitable for a variety of uses: changing rooms, health centres, sports pavilions and classrooms.

These designs upgrade the prefabrication paradigm by challenging the inflexibility of generic production typographies.

The architect has developed a modular system of construction which, 'by its very nature, gives an infinite amount of flexibility in the size and layout of a project; labelling its product 'a family of designs'. The client is offered a wide range of variables and permutations, in terms of internal layout, external structure, fabric, insulation, windows, linings and colours, building in a catalogue of options. These range from the 'benchmark' standard to one or two 'enhanced' options, culminating (in some elements) in the 'green' option.

All are compliant with regulations.

Framework assures potential purchasers that inputting consumer preferences will not adversely affect the cost or period of production. At the moment these will be manufactured at about £600/m 2for the 'benchmark' model although as soon as larger mass manufacturing demand has matured, they expect costs to be even lower. Framework intends to launch a panellised system for a bespoke hospital project later this month.

Currently the car market is experimenting with removable panels, to allow fashion-conscious drivers to alter the external appearance and colour of their vehicles. Framework has made a useful contribution to the discussion on prefabrication and responsive designs, and maybe soon we can expect our building stock to have changeable externals as standard.

For more details contact Greg Shannon of LTS Architects on 020 7689 0070

TAILORING THE STANDARD FRAMEWORK BUILDING TO YOUR OWN NEEDS

SELECTION MATERIAL TYPE ADVANTAGES AND QUALITIES INSULATION Benchmark selection Mineral fibre Provides compliance with BS 5803 Pt3 1985. Does not produce HFC blowing agents Enhanced selection Cellulose Homatherm Made from recycled newspaper.Gives low fibre migration and off-gassing.

Biodegradable with no added chemicals Deep green selection Lambs'wool, Woolbloc Natural product now sourced from the UK. Added qualities of absorbing formaldehyde from the atmosphere ROOF COVERINGS Benchmark option Profiled aluminium Profiled aluminium roof sheet; 0.7mm thick PVF2 finishes roof sheet 0.7mm thick PVF2 finishes Enhanced option As above with mill finish Added sustainability by avoiding powder coating Enhanced option Polymeric sheet Synthetic rubber prefabricated in a single sheet.Excellent recycling qualities Deep green option Polymetric sheet/sedum Total green roof solution

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