Platform Design Open Call Questions and Answers

What is the Platform Design Open Call?

The Platform Design Open Call is a critical centerpiece of our programme to transform the construction sector. We are aiming to draw together the very best ideas and practices from across industry to develop a new ‘kit of parts’ which will be used to create the next generation of government new build projects like schools, hospitals and prisons.

The Open Call briefing event took place on 29 July 2019.

You can access the presentation slides here. You can access recordings of the sessions in the links below :

You can also watch our video introducing the Construction Innovation Hub and short videos explaining what is the Open call.

Links to important reading:

Links to trade press articles about the Open Call:

Who applied to the Open Call?

Businesses of all sizes with innovative products or services are strongly encouraged to apply to the Open Call.

What support can applicants expect to receive?

Successful applicants will get detailed support from world-class manufacturing, performance and digital experts from across the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), BRE and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) to develop and refine their products, technologies or services.

Can you provide details of the proposed superstructure solutions?

To help potential partners to understand the dimensions, boundary criteria and support mechanism when developing their potential solutions, the Hub will provide a physical superstructure for the proof of concept building.

To provide variety and flexibility for future solutions, the superstructure will be constructed from a number of different frame types. Two of these have already been pre-selected: 

  1. Bryden Wood Platform 2 Superstructure 
  2. SEISMIC Connector and Frame. 

The Bryden Wood Platform 2 Superstructure comprises: 
a) Prefabricated continuous steel columns 
b) Steel composite profile acting as permanent shuttering for the beams
c) Standardised, prefabricated connection brackets (to allow the connection between the columns and the steel profile beams)
d) In situ concrete slabs.

Figure 1: Bryden Wood Platform 2 Superstructure

The SEISMIC Connector and Frame is a universal bolted connection solution and a standardised steel section structural frame for school buildings built offsite designed by the SEISMIC (Standardisation of School Components) Consortium.

Figure 2: SEISMIC Connector + Standardised Structural Frame

However, we are aware that a number of consultants and designers have themselves developed alternative design solutions and configurators for the superstructure, and we strongly encourage them to come forward as well. 

Note: Our proof of concept building will be able to accommodate an additional superstructure solution if one comes forward that meets or exceeds the performance of either the SEISMIC or Bryden Wood solutions.

Grid sizes: Recognising that there will be a need for flexibility with dimensions and grid sizes as the wider transforming construction programme develops, for the purpose of this Open Call our proof of concept building will assume:

  • 8m long spans to a central corridor
  • 2.4m wide corridor
  • 3.2m floor to floor height.

Detailed dimensions of the proposed 2 storey proof of concept building will be provided in the detailed Platform Design programme brief.

What type of solutions are you seeking?

Through this call we are seeking solutions from industry which can integrate with the provided superstructure and perform the function of the following building elements:

  • Envelope
  • Mechanical, Electrical & Public Health
  • Fit Out.

All elements and components will be required to demonstrate how they meet existing standards and comply with Building Regulations and requirements for quality, safety, material traceability etc.

We anticipate that high scoring entrants are not likely to come from solutions that simply replace a single traditional on-site discipline with an off-site alternative.  We do however expect this process will deliver a number of collaborative approaches that for example, combine traditional fit out with mechanical and electrical solutions in integrated panels, such as incorporating energy generating features within a manufactured roof section.

Note 1: We anticipate that this process will bring forward solutions that offer professional services; design, construction management, logistics etc required to construct a building using a platform approach and will therefore not be limited to entrants who provide purely physical solutions.

Note 2: Whilst we recognise that both traditionally constructed buildings and full structural modular or volumetric solutions are likely to form part of the ecosystem for future buildings, this particular platform design call does not specifically target these elements.

How will the Platform be developed?

Businesses will see their innovative product/service incorporated into and widely showcased on a proof-of-concept building, which will demonstrate how these solutions can be applied across a wide range of UK government projects for vital new buildings. We aim to bring forward and help develop the very best from UK industry.

Building on the Infrastructure & Projects Authority’s recent call for evidence on a Proposal for a New Approach to Building, we will follow a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) approach, allowing new buildings to be configured from a pre-defined ‘kit of parts’, which are proven to demonstrate greater whole-life value, better safety and quality and which will improve the overall performance of buildings.