Digital Design and Offsite Construction

Construction in the UK stands at a crossroads. As Mark Farmer put it in his landmark report, the industry must modernise or die. Ramboll, with Scandinavian heritage dating back over 70 years has a proud history of harnessing latest technological innovation to design and deliver world-class solutions.

Dalston Works, London. Pushing the boundaries of what is possible in offsite construction

Martin Feakes.  Ramboll

Martin Feakes

Head of Buildings, London
T: +44 7436 588 570
Ramboll. Alan Pauling.

Alan Pauling

Head of Rail UK
T: +44 7946 486 001
Mark Pniewski. Ramboll

Mark Pniewski

Head of UK Building Specialist Division
T: +44 7436 274 650
Simon Benfield. Ramboll

Simon Benfield

Director, Bridges UK
T: +44 20 7631 5291

Transforming design, engineering and construction, today

It’s not about innovation for innovation’s sake. By combining new offsite construction techniques and digital design capabilities with decades of engineering knowledge, we offer new and better ways to meet the most pressing challenges faced by the UK construction industry:

  • Time compression and improving productivity
  • Improving onsite safety
  • Improving sustainability

Harnessing digital, to get further faster

Rapid advances in computational design and the ability to access and use data are creating opportunities to revolutionise the process of design, engineering and construction. Add to this our extensive practical engineering experience and we’re creating solutions that deliver real client benefits, fully integrated with existing design and build process.

Our engineers have developed a suite of advanced digital tools to revolutionise the way we design, plan and build. The suite includes: EVOLVE, ITERATE & OPTIMISE and EMPOWER. They allow us to rapidly step through the concept stage, speed up detailed design and improve buildability for the onsite phase. We do this whilst enabling clients to easily join us on the design journey.

EVOLVE digital design tools

Created to solve real life engineering and construction challenges, the EVOLVE tools allow us to model and analyse multiple design options faster and earlier in the process. This has led to an improvement in the quality of solution, due to wider option exploration.

ITERATE & OPTIMISE digital design tools

These digital tools allow us to rapidly evaluate different structural options for example, based on specific site constraints and usage plans, we can optimise framing arrangements and maximise the efficiency of building foundations. These tools provide clear visualisation of quantitative design data supporting earlier decision making, which further de-risks the design, earlier in the process.

EMPOWER digital design tools

Our industry leading dynamic dashboard reporting provides improved transparency and flexibility for both clients and the design team. Demonstrating robustness of the proposal in concept, price and programme, better informed value decisions can be made, earlier in the process.

This technology led approach is paying dividends across all sectors. In addition to buildings, cities and major infrastructure projects we design gantries for the UK’s road network in a fraction of the time it used to take. We now design 95% of all new gantries, underpinning Highway England’s commitment to delivering a Smart Motorway network.

Moving to a bright, offsite future

While the UK construction industry is now talking about offsite construction as a means to building our way out of the housing crisis we’ve been quietly walking the walk. In Scandinavia offsite construction is considered normal. It is faster, cleaner and safer, and by moving the construction into a specialist factory environment, means skilled labour can be efficiently deployed. Critically, considering offsite construction early in the design process is where we can demonstrate to clients’ real value from the benefits it creates:

  • Faster – Typically offsite buildings are built 20% faster than traditional build. Our digital design capabilities directly hook into the manufacturing process, improving accuracy and saving time.
  • More sustainable – Offsite construction techniques such as Modular Steel mean fixtures and fittings can be done in the factory environment, so fewer ancillary trades are needed onsite, less wastage onsite, and less space is required. Offsite construction techniques, such as CLT, are inherently sustainable. In fact, the timber used for the recently completed Dalston Works, the world largest CLT building, grew in under three hours* and is carbon negative for the first few years of its usage.
  • Safer – Because there are fewer staff and ancillary trades people onsite. Specialised staff perform highly skilled tasks using latest technology away from the site, in a factory environment.

There is a range of offsite and onsite techniques available to suit every project and it’s vital that all options are considered early in the design process. Our unrivalled experience and expertise in utilising all forms of offsite construction allow us to deploy:

  • Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)
  • Precast concrete
  • Modular steel

And if traditional onsite construction is the right solution, that’s what we’ll use.

* Based on the forest in which the wood for Dalston Works was sourced: With one cubic meter of wood mass grown every second in German and Austrian forests, less what is lost during production processes, Dalston Works was effectively grown in under three hours.


Dalston Works completed

Dalston Works

Dalston Works (previously known as Dalston Lane) is the largest Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) project globally, using more timber than any other scheme in the world by volume.

Judges on a site visit to the Bermondsey Dive Under for the London Awards 2017. Image courtesy of ICE London

Thameslink: Bermondsey Dive Under

Rebuilding a vital section of the Thameslink rail line at Bermondsey Dive Under included track and infrastructure work, with sustainability and urban regeneration aspects. Value engineering and detailed design by Ramboll, in collaboration with main contractor, Skanska, and Network Rail, delivered significant cost benefits.

Image - Paulina Sobzcat

CitizenM Hotel, Tower Hill

Tower Hill is a flagship location for CitizenM’s London offer, comprising a 370 bedroom hotel offering “affordable luxury” above Tower Hill underground station, in the setting of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Aluna. Copyright The Aluna Foundation. Image Wagstaffs

Aluna – Time and Tide for Everyone

Aluna is a breath taking and monumental Moon and Tide Clock and public waterfront space. Located at a spectacular location on the intersection of 0° longitude and the historic Greenwich Peninsula waterfront – at the point where time and tide meet – Aluna is a new world-class landmark for London.

Ramboll gantry 3D model generated with an innovative design engineering process

Gantry product design for smart motorways

Innovation in digital gantry design has been pivotal in the development of Highways England’s Smart Motorway Programme (SMP). Ramboll provided the step change needed to deliver the quantity and quality required through automating the design process.


240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291

Company registration

Company registration

Ramboll UK Limited. Registered in England & Wales. Company registration no. 03659970. Registered office: 240 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NW

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