Between the first meeting with an architect or a builder and the last walk-thru, countless processes happen behind the scenes that most clients don’t see. These processes are why renovating a kitchen or bath can take several weeks and building a custom home will take several months. For many design and construction teams, these processes are done the way they have been done for many years, meaning they happen on paper, by phone, email, or in person.
Technological innovation is changing that. Custom home builders who are researching and implementing current technologies have increased productivity and improved communication. This results in projects coming in on time, within budget, and to the homeowner’s specifications.
Technological innovation implementation in custom home building is slightly behind commercial construction, but not by much. What is the latest technology in construction? How does technology help in custom home design and construction? It all starts with digital transformation.
WHAT IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?
Digital transformation looks like many things. One form is the elimination of the frequent hand-offs that would be typical of the design and construction process. It’s sharing information in real-time rather than emailing a file, waiting, and receiving an altered version with some text to communicate the changes.
Digital transformation is also about replacing manual systems, like the management of specification content, or specs. Specs include every material and its characteristics–like the model, size, and quantity–that is included in a project. Frustrated architects and builders are tired of using out-of-date information from previous projects but had little choice due to project time constraints.
Replacing manual processes with digital platforms is a big leap forward in efficiency and safety. Digitizing and using cloud-based software to keep specs up-to-date with automatic updates also aids in helping designers and builders use data to make predictions. This results in higher levels of accuracy and safety.
CLOUD-BASED SOFTWARE & APPS
There is no short supply of software or apps to help manage every part of home construction projects to streamline processes and increase productivity. Updates by one member of the team are seen in real-time by others due to most of this being cloud-based. Documents, schedules, drawings, and many other moving parts of a home construction project are all updated in real-time, improving collaboration and communication.
CoConstruct is an example of cloud-based software that is designed to aid in communication and project management for residential construction. Financial information, messaging, project schedules, employee time logs, expense reports, and other documentation are all accessed by whoever is given access. It offers transparency, streamlines communications, and reduces confusion and miscommunication.
An example of spec software is MasterSpec. They’ve consolidated thousands of spec listings that are updated automatically and on a regular basis. The tool links the designer or architect directly to the manufacturer. It also uses a feature that enables easily adding the spec to the architect’s document. Each spec is detailed with the product information, its uses, and what other specs may be needed in tandem.
BIM (BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING)
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process by which an architect or designer will create a digital model of the design which enables better collaboration with everyone involved in the project. Changes are made in real-time, meaning that if the architect changes a detail based on new information, like from a change order, the contractor will also see that change without having to wait for a file to be sent over. Creating a model in this way also allows for better planning. A digital representation can be visually deconstructed and presented in ‘layers’ to signify different stages of construction.
BIM streamlines communication and mitigates misunderstandings and gaps in knowledge better than before. With BIM, architects, designers, and contractors can even utilize virtual reality (VR) to walk through a project, apply visual overlays to compare what’s built to what will be, and create reports using what they see, all within the program. The user can take photos and videos of the VR walkthrough and send them digitally to other team members.
AI (ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE)
Some construction companies are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve productivity and safety. AI and machine learning systems, builders, and contractors can use the data they’ve collected from project to project to help make predictions to more accurately make estimates for bids on future projects.
Drones are even being put to use, photographing and scanning construction sites on a daily basis. The data they collect is used to track progress. The scans are compared to BIM models, the project schedule, and 3D drawings to make sure the project is running according to the timeline. The drones can even be programmed to learn so as to identify errors in anything from excavation to mechanical systems installation. The software will send updates and alerts to the contractor or designer so that mistakes can be caught quickly and mitigated. Advances like these can save time and money, but also reduce construction site injury.
TECHNOLOGY INSIDE AND OUT
Home automation is the future of smart home technology and offers a whole new world of convenience, comfort, entertainment, and security. Whether it’s technology used to build your home or setting up your home to make the most of today’s smart home advances, K.C. Customs is the custom home builder to trust. Excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail are the only way K.C. Customs knows how to remodel or build custom luxury homes. Contact K.C. Customs to plan your custom home with today’s home-building technological innovations.