How can the industry drive the ball forward using tech and data to gain greater efficiencies, whether it’s on the job site or in a factory setting? That was the big question posed to attendees at the 3rd Tuesday roundtable discussion we held in March, 2022. Two speakers shared insights and attendees offered up their pain points and what might be needed to solve them.
Here’s a recap.
In the Field
No surprise, labor and the need for more skilled workers a is pain point impeding efficiency and business success. Nick Stoppello and Patrick Churchman from Flashpoint Building Systems showed how tech and data can help gain greater efficiencies on the job site with their integrated layout system. The company laser engraves a combined set of architectural, mechanical, engineering and plumbing plans onto a subfloor for homebuilding. It becomes a map for the construction crew. Labor saves time by not having to cut pieces, not having to pull strings to measure, not having to interpret drawings. The immediate savings is at minimum a day’s worth of work for at least two people for every trade on the job. Because it’s an easy visual, it’s also helpful if language is a barrier. And because it’s intuitive, it can be empowering for labor who understand right away what needs to be done on site.
Companies could invest in robots and other technologies, but as one attendee said, he wanted to see ergonomic improvements to the build process. Robots are costly and quick changing technology will make them obsolete before they’re paid for.
And the trades themselves often don’t have access to technology built for them despite being asked to do more and more. As one participant noted, trades are given a 50-page plan set and have to flip back and forth as they work. They don’t know exactly what’s supposed to be done. Then they’re asked to go home after working a 12-hour day, have a quick dinner, and then start doing takeoffs, but they aren’t given the tools. And yet, their bonus is based on customer satisfaction and low variance. There’s a need for real-time tools for field teams to succeed.
There’s a lot of opportunity, and perhaps builders need to look outside of the industry to see how others have changed the way business is run.
Big Data Picture
Stefan Martinovic from Placer.ai, showed how this data tool can help developers, builders and others along the real estate chain make better decisions by looking at foot traffic, mobility and heat maps. Where people shop. Where people vacation. Socio demographic indicators give insight into whether you should build two bedrooms or three, if people will need electric charging infrastructure. Using enriched data points like these can help save time and money and create efficiencies in the decision-making process.
To create the most efficiencies any data big or small needs to be shared all along the chain. Event participants brought up their pain points:
- Digital integration, and finding a program that can communicate within a single homebuilder’s software
- Design software that has a consistent language and can translate to other systems from builder to builder
- The need for specific offsite construction software
- Tech that can better choreograph what people are doing on a job site
The hope is that events such as Housing Innovation Alliance’s 3rd Tuesday series, which brings together businesses from across the building world, can trigger discussion and innovation in our industry.
Where to find more?
- Visit the event recap tab for best-of snapshots
- How to think differently about data + other takeaways from our recent 1/2 day event with Sara Maffey, Local Logic; John Cecilian, Cecilian Partners; Gregg Alvarez, MyHouseby Innovations; Jennifer Hoops, Higharc; and Mike Wisnefski, MaterialsXchange.
- Healthy Home Strategic Partnerships + Data with Brett Malky, EQA Landmark Communities; David Dixon, Stantec; Larry McEvoy, Epidemic Leadership; Lauren Wallace, Epsten Group, Inc.; and Debra Wyatte, Cecilian Partners
- Visit the Off-site Heat Map and BIM Roadmap