Öppen - Lean Thinking, Prefabrication, Assembly and Open Building Thinking - All Applied to Commercial Buildings

John Rich1

1John Rich RIBA +44(0)20 7544 8532 [email protected] Öppen Ltd, Regent’s Place, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BT, UK. www.oppen.co.uk


Describes the origin of the Öppen system buildings, how the system has developed and future possibilities. The system combines: lean thinking, all the way from briefing, through design, to construction; prefabrication and assembly of large components; and open building thinking for future adaptability. The first built example was a university research laboratory where the use of the system reduced the construction cost by 40% below the budget. The constructed building, now in use for five years, has proved fully adaptable. The second example to be built has recently been tendered. Against an identical building with traditional construction, the Öppen system building was cheaper and 50% quicker to construct. Most commercial buildings are from the ‘design one, build one’ mould, whereas many aspects of Öppen system buildings will be common from one building to the next, thereby enabling continuous improvement. Derivatives of the Öppen system are being developed for other types of building, such as schools and laboratories. The Öppen system does not aim to be suitable for all building typologies. It is aimed squarely at the mid-market: buildings that will be used for many years, for clients who need good value, robustness and adaptability.


collaboration/collaborative; lean construction; standardisation; customisation; open building; adaptable; Öppen.



Rich, J. 2012, 'Öppen - Lean Thinking, Prefabrication, Assembly and Open Building Thinking - All Applied to Commercial Buildings' In:, Tommelein, I. D. & Pasquire, C. L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, California, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

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