Mace, which has been developing the idea for the past year, says it will make buying a building much like buying a car. Clients will be able to select predesigned buildings that can be modified as required using standard components.
Mace director Gary France said the firm wanted to build 15 of these offices, worth £75m, in the next two years. The out-of-town business park-style office, known as a branded office product, or BOP, is fully underwritten and will be built for a guaranteed maximum price. Mace says the BOP is the first in a series of generic building types that will include leisure centres and industrial developments.
Mace has teamed up with 14 partners for the project. The design specialists, including trade contractors, have developed designs using CAD technology to produce a common 3D model that acts as the template for design detailing.
Mace says its research has shown that it can reduce average lead times from 60 weeks to 40. France said that this should appeal to companies that want to build call centres quickly. He has been showing the product to developers and end-user clients and says it has attracted a great deal of interest.
Mace is developing software packages that will allow clients to inspect standard designs, superimpose upgrades and work out a final price.
Its partners on the office product are Llewelyn-Davies Architects, Ove Arup & Partners, Troup Bywaters & Anders, Astec Projects, Coverite Roofing, John Doyle Construction, Rowen Structures, Hotchkiss Ductwork, T Clarke, Sulzer, BDL Partitioning, Ruddy Joinery and PlusWall. France said: "Lots of people talk about partnering but this is partnering in the true sense."