DfMA and digital manufacturing

We research DfMA, digital manufacturing and building prefabrication techniques with timber and wood products.

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), digital manufacturing and building prefabrication techniques are changing the way buildings are conceived, designed, manufactured, and constructed.

While automation-compatible design approaches are transforming working methods, production processes and assembly techniques, the workability and diversity of timber and wood products makes them a perfect option for light, flexible and precise digitally prefabricated components.

Our team provides research and development services covering:

  • Prefabricated and off-site construction of timber-rich components.
  • Digital manufacturing and CNC processing.
  • The application of virtual and augmented reality in manufacturing and construction processes.


In November 2013, a consortium of Tasmanian architects invited CSAW to assist in a tender to the University of Tasmania for the role of principal design consultants in a National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) project at the University’s Inveresk campus in northern Tasmania.

The project brief called for proposals for a student accommodation building of 120 discrete apartments and associated common and service spaces on a flat site adjacent to the North Esk River. With CSAW, the consortium was appointed on the basis of a design based on prefabricated timber modules. These would be finished in a factory, complete with internal finishes and joinery and external façade elements, arrive at site in protective wrapping and be lifted into their final position by crane. A prototype module was built in the second half of 2014. Construction of the building, based on prefabricated modules, began in February 2015. The building is scheduled to be complete in January 2016.