We’ve coined the term “system flipping” which describes a new approach to architectural design. Our revolutionary and unique approach is built from years of experience in our sector and represents a huge leap forward in opening up the possibilities in offsite construction to developers and manufacturers. Find out what it is and how it can add value to your project.

What is System Flipping?

One of the first major hurdles in construction is developing a site that will be accepted by planners. Once a site has planning consent the value of the land increases. The concept of “flipping” a site is based upon the process of developing land out to achieve planning and then selling it on to a developer or builder to deliver the scheme. Flipping a site is relatively low risk since you don’t have to carry the burden of actually building out the scheme, that’s someone else’s responsibility. Additionally, the developer or builder who buys the site, with planning already granted, doesn’t have to go through the pains of dealing with the planning authorities or carry the risk of planning not being granted.

Since developing land does carry some risk due to the UK’s rigid planning system, the actual technical content of the design at this stage is very low and developed out using traditional construction approaches since it’s quick to do. Consequentially lots of sites get planning without a thought for the optimal approach to actually deliver it.

How does it differ to traditional design?

A lot of manufacturers of offsite construction systems get a lot of projects passed to them, post the planning stage, by developers enquiring “can this be delivered using your modules”. The answer is normally a flat “no”, or a “yes, but…”. If it’s a “yes, but” this usually means that a planning amendment will be needed due to an increase in roof height or increase in footprint etc. Does the developer really want to pay more money, take more time and expose themselves to the risk and the planning system again??

So, “System Flipping” as we’ve coined it, is developing sites quickly and at a low cost, all the way up to planning submission, with as many offsite construction methods in mind as possible, alongside the traditional approach. This means that once planning is granted, the scheme won’t need to be resubmitted for planning amendments as it can already be built using modular, panelised or traditional methods!

How will it increase the uptake of offsite construction?

Lots and lots of schemes are turned away by offsite manufacturers because they don’t fit their system! There will of course be other factors such as site access and logistics that will come into the equation but many schemes are rejected for such reasons that the geometry just doesn’t suit a particular offsite system.

When we start using system flipping as an approach from the outset, we’ll see an increase in the number of schemes being accepted by offsite manufacturers and that can only be a good thing for increasing uptake of offsite construction.

How will it drive cost efficiencies for the client?

Firstly the client will have more options. They won’t be restrained by a particular construction method from the start, so they will have more flexibility in terms of their delivery options and costs. Modularize also work with a number of modular manufacturers to standardise their approach and ultimately this is how we will unlock more benefits in terms of combined buying power. The idea being that standardisation of modular manufacturers will allow less variation in module costs and in general the overall prices should drop. Also, if the developer has multiple sites and all their resources are deployed and busy, they still have the option of using offsite construction to develop other sites simultaneously which means a quicker return on investment for all the project stakeholders.

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Want to know more?

Let’s talk through your specific project requirements and see how system flipping can benefit your site to wipe out unnecessary constraints.