Technology

The future of construction work is in the Cloud. By Stewart Carroll

In an industry built on blueprints, clipboards and spreadsheets, the move to databases and 3-D modeling systems has been nothing short of a revolution. Change may have been slow in coming, but make no mistake - it's here. And as more construction technology moves to the cloud, the biggest changes of all are on their way.

Astonishing advances have been made in every step from preconstruction estimating to 5-D modeling, and layered on top of it all is the cloud, which houses software and data on the Internet rather than your desktop. This centralization of data will be a game changer for todays construction businesses, and how they adapt to it will be a deciding factor in their future ability to win work.

Homebuilders

Homebuyers don’t mind moving or building new homes to fit their current lifestyles, according to a new survey. 

The American concept of a "forever home," or a house that will last through all phases of a person's life, is outdated, according to Taylor Morrison's 2017 Consumer Survey. The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research earlier this year on behalf of Taylor Morrison, took a look at 1,000 U.S. adults who have purchased a home in the last three years, or who are likely to purchase a new home in the next three years.

The survey found that more than half (58 percent) of prospective millennial homebuyers expect to change where - and the way - they live over time as their lifestyle evolves; the concept of a forever home is outdated. This sentiment is shared by 56 percent of all homebuyers. Additionally, the data shows that a third of these millennial buyers intend to live in the next home they buy for less than 10 years, with 80 percent equally or more interested in a newly constructed home over a resale home. Of all of those surveyed, 26 percent stated that the principal advantage they see in buying a newly constructed home over a pre-owned one is floor plans that fit their current lifestyle top the list.

GreenBuilding

Two companies are working to make Martha’s Vineyard energy neutral with numerous residential and commercial projects. 

At just nine miles wide and a marathon-run long (or 26 miles), roughly 16,000 people call Martha’s Vineyard home, but the population swells to 100,000 during the busiest summer months. On this island south of Cape Cod, local organizations like South Mountain Company – an integrated architecture, building, engineering, and renewable energy company – know that thoughtful, responsible use of natural and human resources is key to maintaining the island’s vitality and beauty.

“South Mountain Company is a worker cooperative, which means our employees have an ownership stake in the business, giving them the means to make lasting, valuable change where we all live and work – and installing SunPower solar is one way we choose to make an impact,” says John Abrams, founder, CEO and president of South Mountain Company.

Developers

A new report shows the importance of real estate development investments in stormwater management and green infrastructure. 

The growing involvement of the real estate industry in helping municipalities manage stormwater runoff with systems using natural resources is explored in a new Urban Land Institute (ULI) publication, Harvesting the Value of Water: Stormwater, Green Infrastructure and Real Estate.

The report looks at how water management mechanisms using green infrastructure can create value for real estate projects by improving operational efficiency, as well as serving as an attractive amenity. Green infrastructure, explains the report, includes pipes-and-pumps alternatives such as rain gardens, bioswales and green roofs, which are often accompanied by water storage and recycling tools such as cisterns. These types of sustainable stormwater management practices can provide health benefits for building users as well as benefits for the environment in general. 

"The development community is addressing the challenge of stormwater management with creative solutions that are not only conserving water, but also adding value and appeal to real estate projects across the nation," says ULI's Urban Resilience Program Director Katharine Burgess, who directed the research.   

DesignTrends

Visionary entrepreneurs in real estate, infrastructure and urban living have an opportunity to have a big impact in Tampa’s development. 

Tampa, Fla., is poised to get a major innovative boost with a new program created to help startups. New York-based Dreamit, a global startup accelerator, plans to launch its newest urban technology vertical – called UrbanTech – in Tampa. Set to begin in September 2017, Dreamit's program will accelerate companies with technology solutions in the areas of real estate, city infrastructure and urban living. Dreamit's partner in the venture is Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Participating startups will engage in a 14-week program designed to prepare companies for growth. Already recognized as a leader in healthcare (HealthTech) and education (EdTech) acceleration, Dreamit believes the UrbanTech vertical comes at a time of major urban growth and regeneration.

Colorado

Colorado’s strong economy and population growth is attracting investors and developers. 

Colorado is known for its diverse geography with desert and mountain climates, which all combine for unlimited beauty. But the gorgeous scenery is just one reason why homebuilders and developers are investing heavily in the Centennial State – its economy also is attracting people.

Montreal-based ROI Land Investments, for example, is investing an additional $1.53 million in its Evans, Colo., project, to bring its total investment to date to $5.85 million. The company is forecasting 1,200 to 1,400 units for its Hill Pond property in Evans.

“The town of Evans is located 60 miles from Denver, the capital of Colorado,” ROI explains. “Evans has a growing economy fueled by large oil and gas companies, investors and agriculture. The technology, aerospace, construction, financial and healthcare sectors are also prominent in Evans with continued hiring and job opportunities. Job creation, strong population growth and a continued influx of new residents and businesses to the area have lead to an increased demand for housing in Evans.”

Technology

Residential construction leaders must adapt to the use of technology, for good of their businesses and the industry overall.

By Carlos DeLeon

Today’s construction market is not the industry my father started his career in over 27 years ago. We have moved from an industry built on personal relationships and handshake deals to a fast-paced market revolving around high-speed emails and close encounters with prospective and existing clients who are ever demanding and increasingly short on interaction.

With this in mind, today’s residential construction leaders must adapt to a new reality that relies on technology for cost effectiveness and timeliness. After all, the rules of the game have not changed, but we do find ourselves challenged by the new mediums by which we must communicate and make our clients feel valued.

Why Technology

Twenty years ago you could still find my father with his notepad and stack of papers reminding him of appointments and measurements for upcoming meetings. Back then this was acceptable, but now, as business owners have increased the number of clients with job complexities rising, this is no longer sustainable. Developers have flocked to the construction industry offering hundreds of new solutions to help business owners.

Energy

An energy software company is helping homeowners manage the costs of upgrading their homes for energy efficiency. 

Sealed, an energy software company that empowers homeowners to pay for home upgrades like insulation, air sealing and smart thermostats with their energy savings, has implemented a residential energy efficiency insurance policy from The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), part of Munich Re.

This program insures the performance of Sealed's proprietary energy analytics, which both removes energy savings performance risk from homes that finance energy efficiency improvements and increases the confidence of third-party capital providers.

"Our innovative program brings insurance to the residential energy efficiency market for the very first time, which will allow us to lower the cost of capital and provide the best possible value to our customers," says Lauren Salz, co-founder and COO of Sealed.

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