Dan Brown HLM Architects Head of MMC Delivery

Hi Dan, tell us about you..

Hello.

I’m an architect that’s recently joined the team at HLM from a main contractor role. This move follows 20 plus years in architectural and multidisciplinary consultancy in Sheffield, around the UK, and in Ireland.

Over the years I’ve worked with a variety of architectural design and construction firms, gaining widespread experience across multiple sectors. My career has seen me based in the office and on-site to successfully design and deliver schemes of various sizes, complexities and costs.

Working collaboratively with public and private organisations, leading teams from project inception to post-completion, has given me a really broad understanding of traditional and offsite construction, and how technology can complement creativity and research to balance environmental, economic and social considerations within architectural projects.

I’m a Fellow of the RSA, Chair and Trustee of the Sheffield Design Awards, Chair of RIBA Yorkshire Council and past President of Sheffield Society of Architects, as well as a member of the RIBA Chartered Member and Registered Member of RIAI.

Outside work, my weekends are often spent messing about on tractors on the farm, in boats in the workshop/on the water, and being sous chef at home.

‘Please tell us about your new role and what excites you about it’

As an associate, I’m part of the HLM leadership team. My appointment as Head of MMC delivery is to drive HLM’s ongoing integration and implementation of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and digital delivery across all studios and sectors. It’s great to join a practice that has committed to ‘Think: Offsite First’ and understands the benefits that MMC and technology can bring to projects in terms of quality, time, budget, environmental sustainability, and health & safety.

I’ll be working closely with the design, technical and digital directors to hone our strategic approach to MMC delivery. Through collaboration with internal and external partners, I plan to develop and implement Research & Development initiatives that will innovate in this arena. Some of this activity is likely to be particularly relevant in addressing emerging updates to legislative frameworks such as the building regulations.

I fully expect the outcomes of R&D to be incorporated into project work across the practice so anticipate involvement in the production of digital tools and in the delivery of training.

My ‘hands-on’ involvement in live projects will include reviewing what MMC Categories might suit the specific needs of site and scheme, either alone or in combination with other, more traditional construction.

I’m excited by HLM’s desire to strive to design creative, bespoke buildings that sustainably address user needs and client requirements whilst utilising common and repeatable components. I’m excited about developing relationships with contractors, clients, consultants and other specialists to help grow the MMC ecosystem.

‘How might the potential power of MMC be unleashed?’

Around the world, use of ‘modular’ and other types of MMC varies significantly but its potential to improve the impact and efficiency of the built environment is clear, and adoption and acceptance of MMC in the UK is positively evolving and accelerating, thanks in part to investment and commitment from government and businesses across most construction sectors.

Through continued learning from manufacturing industries and by targeted research and development, especially in relation to the platform approach to MMC which is being advocated for Government’s cross-departmental procurement, I believe that collaboration in the construction industry can help drive success in the delivery of ‘offsite’ projects.

However, great opportunities for further improvements remain, and it is important that proponents of MMC work together to address concerns and apprehension from some stakeholders in relation to perceptions that MMC will result in a repeat of issues which arose in ‘prefabrication’ of the past.

‘How is HLM leading the change?’

The refinement of the HLM MMC roadmap, based on a philosophy of ‘offsite first’, will encourage and assist clients, collaborators and colleagues to integrate MMC from the outset of a programme or project. Industry-wide updates to appointments and workflows should be agreed to facilitate timely development of designs to the appropriate level of detail to tie-in the needs of off-site manufacturing with ‘on-site’ works, which will always be required to some degree with building construction.

New digital tools which link BIM with factory-based fabrication will further help maximise the potential benefits afforded by the convergence of manufacturing and construction, including a reduction in cost & time, improvement in quality, sustainability and safety, and in addressing manual skills gaps.

 

I’m excited by HLM’s desire to strive to design creative, bespoke buildings that sustainably address user needs and client requirements whilst utilising common and repeatable components.

Dan Brown, Head of MMC Delivery

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