The Value in Breaking Things


The team at Holmes Solutions have a great job – they get to design, make and break things. While that sounds like great fun, the real reason they break things is to save their clients’ money. This is especially relevant for manufacturers of prefabricated systems.

Tim Porter, PrefabNZ board member and Holmes Solutions project director explains: “design standards are based on assumptions and approximations to allow for the worst case scenario. Which is fine for a traditional build using on-site methods. Off-site construction provides better quality and reduced uncertainty. This means the assumptions in the code invariably lead to over-engineering and waste. As a manufacturer that hurts your bottom line.”

Holmes Solutions believe that a testing-led approach to design is the best way to remove waste and reduce the cost of manufacture. Fortunately most standards make allowance for establishing design capacities from testing. This means the results can be used as evidence of compliance, provided they are statistically robust and the product is deemed fit for purpose. Product safety is never compromised.

Tim explains further, “A testing-led design process leaves nowhere for assumptions to hide. Instead, the results provide a true measure of the product’s capacity and opportunity for cost savings. The critical outcome, is that physical testing typically confirms the product is much better than calculations show.”

The commercial gains made using this approach are impressive. In one case Holmes safely reduced a product’s steel content by over 50% and they say this is typical. Whether it be testing walls to P21, floor systems or even whole buildings, their experience shows that computer modelling and calculation will only ever provide a good solution. If you want an outstanding solution, you might need to break your product to make it better.

To find out more about Holmes Solutions check out and follow them on LinkedIn for regular updates.

Holmes Solutions is part Holmes. For more on Holmes and its subsidiaries visit

Back to top