We spoke to Bruce Bell, Managing Director of Facit Homes, about their innovative approach to building houses with a focus on smart design and sustainability.
Can you tell us a little bit about how Facit Homes started?
It started with some questions that we asked ourselves: how can we make a house directly from the computer? How can we make homes better? How can we make homes more sustainable?
The concept of having a separate architect, builder and consultant to produce buildings is somewhat outdated – each party has their own agenda and on the whole do not deliver a good customer experience, value for money or any guarantee of end quality. We saw that factory produced or ‘prefabricated’ homes, whilst on the whole are good quality, tend to be standard building typologies, which is due to the nature of the factory (rent, bills, space, staff) – whilst these standardised homes are suitable for some sites, the UK market has conditions that often require a more bespoke solution. The difficult planning laws being one of the conditions. So we asked ourselves how we could integrate digital manufacturing technology into existing and traditional building processes? The aim was to achieve factory quality production without its limitations and expense.
The answer we came up with is the D-Process tm.
Could you explain what the D-Process is and how it works?
The D-Process is part design, part manufacturing: firstly the home is designed (to our clients exact requirements) on computer, in 3D, using a sophisticated information based system and in a very high level of detail. The home is designed as a series of manageable components akin to large wooden Lego. These virtual components are then fed into the system, which converts them into machine code. This is so that they are ready for our computer controlled cutting equipment to transform them into real components that are an exact match – the virtual is made real. No interpretation, no confusion, no mess.
What are some of the benefits of this method of building homes?
Quality, accuracy, performance and beauty.
How easy do you think it will be to regain materials from a Facit Home at the end of its life-cycle?
Our buildings are designed to last indefinitely, however if they should come to the end of use, the environmentally friendly materials can simply be extracted. For example, the cellulose fibre can be sucked out of cavities or the wooden element can be safely mulched for plant bedding or burned in combine heat and power plants. We remove as much of the concrete from our build process as possible through use of micro piles.
Is sustainability an important part of Facit Homes project, and if so how is it incorporated into your projects?
Sustainability is at the heart of every Facit Homes, achieved primarily through the minimisation of heat/ energy loss but also through the selection of low carbon materials and then the energy generation. Facit Homes have had a full, independent carbon footprint produced which shows that the energy consumed making the materials to build a 160m2 home (to the same standard of insulation) in masonry and concrete would have produced 47, 000kg of CO2 – that’s a lot of CO2 emitted before you have even opened your front door for the first time!
What does ‘smart design’ mean to you?
Smart design is inter-disciplinary, cross pollinated and truly creative thinking. For Facit Homes that means bringing architects, artists, industrial designers, engineers, computer specialists, builders & craftsmen together into one exciting and passionate company!
Digitales Lego für das Wohnen von Morgen
Wie kann man Häuser einfach besser bauen? Wie kann man sie nachhaltiger planen? Und wie kann man sie direkt am Computer entstehen lassen?
Diese und andere Fragen stellte sich Bruce Bell, der Geschäftsführer von Facit Homes und fand Antworten. In Fabriken hergestellte Fertighäuser waren ihm immer zu eintönig. Er wollte Häuser bauen, die unverwechselbar sind, die die Vorstellungen der Bauherrn widerspiegeln und trotzdem einfach herzustellen sind. Die Antwort: Der D-Prozess.
So heißt die Fertigungsweise, die Facit Homes berühmt gemacht hat. Die einzelnen Teile des Hauses werden digital konzipiert und dann in eine Art hölzernes Lego umgewandelt und so passgenau und ohne Abfälle produziert.
So erreicht Bell den Grad an Energieeffizienz, Nachhaltigkeit und Umweltfreundlichkeit, der die Gründungsidee seines Unternehmens war. Und wie bei Lego kann man immer wieder von vorne anfangen.