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Shaping the Future of Architectural and MEP Design - Final Chapter in a Series of Blog Posts
It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that 3D modeling in design and construction began to slowly appear. This was fortuitous timing as the required complexity, level of detail and integration among MEP systems and the building’s architecture also increased greatly during this decade. Some of the early adopters of 3D modeling were specialty contractors of building mechanical systems. These contractors used 3D modeling to automate ductwork fabrication. They used 3D systems to model entire duct systems in 3D, then load the geometry for sections of custom-sized duct and fittings into numerical control fabrication equipment to prefabricate almost everything they installed. These forward-thinking contractors saved a lot of time and money and increased their ability to win projects. This is a technology still used today. Unfortunately, one of the most time consuming and old-fashioned practices continued into the first decade of the current century. That was the necessary, but painful, process of MEP coordination known as the Sequential Composite Overlay Process (SCOP). It’s a fancy name for a 2D drawing overlay process to manually identify all of the what we now call “clashes” in BIM (Building Information Modeling). I remember one large hospital project in the San Francisco Bay Area that used this method because it was the only method available. We worked on the project site in one big room with about 10 teams that each used the overlay process on a different section of the building until all the clashes were identified and resolved. We spent close to an entire year to complete the SCOP process. That was 2008, not very long ago. The Introduction of BIM In the mid-2000s, BIM software became available. I pioneered its adoption at the GC where I was at the time and played a role in establishing BIM as a specialty career track for some engineers. Then came software that combines multiple 3D MEP models from all the disciplines into a single “federated” model (VDC). The company that developed this software, Navisworks, also used the power of computing to find all of a building project’s systems clashes in a fraction of the time it took using the old sequential overlay method. When I first saw what this software could do I remember thinking “Wow! This will change everything!” And it did. Now BIM and VDC are the norm on almost every project. But there was still a long way to go to fully harness the power of software in design and construction. In the construction project planning phase, there are still some slow and laborious processes that need intervention! The target areas for improvement are the building design process, estimating, VDC and field construction work. When I learned what Swapp is doing, I knew that this is where I can pursue the solutions that owners, designers, general contractors and others in the industry need now. My first months at Swapp have been an eye-opener. I’ve been an early adopter of construction industry technologies and participated in their acceleration ever since these technologies began to be available. Still, I’m daily astonished by what the team at Swapp accomplishes in every sprint. I may not have become a rock-star musician but I’m surrounded by rock-star computer scientists and developers whose software will change the construction industry forever and for the better.
Summer of Love Pipedreams - Chapter 3 in a Series of Blog Posts
As a young person in San Francisco during the late 60's, the summer of love was in the air and I began my first years at university dreaming of being a musician. I played in a rock ‘n roll band and studied music theory (more difficult than mechanical engineering by the way!). My father, who worked as a plumber, told me during the summers when I worked for him that being a musician was no way to earn a living. I took his advice and became an engineer instead. When I began my career as a young Mechanical Engineer fresh out of college, MEP and HVAC were pretty far down on the list of “sexy” engineering and construction fields. I can’t say that much has changed in this regard, because MEP and HVAC construction builds systems that are generally out-of-sight behind walls, above ceilings and below the floor. But every owner knows how critical it is that the building’s MEP systems are designed and constructed with quality and within budget. Defining the MEP Roadmap of Swapp's Planning Solution Let me highlight just one way that I spend some of my Swapp hours, even if at first glance it may raise some eyebrows. This is because I must admit that I spend considerable time “just” talking and asking and answering questions with Swapp people and industry experts. What do I talk about? One thing I do is explain the level of detail we at Swapp need to offer to satisfy the needs of potential customers. Here are two high-level examples. At a technical engineering level, I guide answering the question of what kind of quantitative data should our AI algorithms use to generate a variety of engineering design options. For the business needs of our customers, I’m working on what cost estimates provided at each stage of design will be most beneficial and can be delivered in a fast time frame. How do I know what Swapp’s customers and potential customers need? I know because they are like the many owners, subcontractors and (I’m proud to say) the small number of general contractors with whom I’ve worked for the past nearly 40 years. Working As an MEP Engineer in the Bay Area https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Park#/media/File:Apple_park_cupertino_2019.jpg There are a number of exceptional general contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I started at one, then had a long tenure at another where I grew the MEP department until I managed a large team of MEP experts and engineers. I then did stints at two spin-offs from that company and was a project manager on the owner’s side at a very, very, well-known company that built a “spaceship” building just a short distance northwest of San Jose, CA. I wrote that I’m proud of having been at a small number of GCs, and built enduring business relationships. There are some fundamental differences between software development and brick-and-mortar construction, but there are some things that are the same: quality, customer-focus and timeliness. The San Francisco Bay Area is a highly competitive market. When I found colleagues dedicated to doing things right on every project and for every customer, and where we made decisions and took actions with a sense of urgency, I stayed and contributed to developing MEP construction into a capability highly valued by the pharmaceutical, healthcare (hospitals), semiconductor and other high-tech industries. Of course, today’s big tech players want their headquarter offices to have this same level of quality achieved in tight timeframes and closely managed budgets. The next post will be the last one in this series, and I have to say that I saved the best for last. Thank you for reading this far, see you next week.
How We're Changing Architectural and MEP Planning - Chapter 2 in a Series of Blog Posts
During my previous post, I described how my career in MEP operations began even before CAD was adopted by planning professionals. In this blog post, let me share some of the ways I believe Swapp’s AI driven technology is changing the industry. As the old saying goes, "in order to know where you’re going, it’s good to know where you’ve been and where you are now." Here’s a list of just some of the capabilities that are in the works at Swapp and that are changing how fast construction projects get done. (Some of these are available from Swapp now and some will be made available in the near future.) Use Swapp software to create rich feasibility design options and studies for specific sites and projects in days instead of weeks or months, and produce Revit models and plans for multiple options. Think about the rapid and reliable decision-making power this gives developers and owners. Generate cost estimates quickly together with the design options. Every owner I’ve ever met, and every GC as well, always wants accurate cost estimates to help drive design decisions. Produce energy models and HVAC system design options and their costs together with the AI-generated building design options. Developers and owners have known for a while that energy consumption and sustainability are major factors in evaluating a project’s criteria for success and these inputs to design decisions are becoming ever more important in today’s climate-focused world. Swapp’s software calculates these energy models and cost estimates based on data from real-world projects, not just simulations. Produce design development drawings and construction documents in less than half the time of today’s traditional methods. Real estate developers and other owners can now speed up the permit submission process, go out to bid for construction and complete the projects faster, with a net positive result for their ROI. Increase the speed of the MEP modeling and clash resolution process to produce construction level models in 50% less time. Provide AI driven solutions for commissioning a building’s MEP systems to achieve final building completion earlier, and make the building ready for occupancy and use. In the next installment I’ll discuss how my work at Swapp enables us to offer software that does these amazing things.
The Times They are a-Changin' - Chapter 1 in a Series of Blog Posts
Joining Swapp may be the true culmination of nearly four decades in the construction, MEP systems engineering and design industries. Many, many years ago, when I was a young mechanical engineer on a large project in San Francisco, I worked 72 hours non-stop to ensure that the building opened on time. The owner had announced the date of the grand opening on billboards. Our team was intent on meeting that date! Even though the systems of that day were much less complex and less integrated than today, any public building has life safety and other systems that need to work correctly 100% of the time. I had a similar all-nighter experience preparing to open the Monterey Bay Aquarium after the otters, jellyfish and other “inhabitants” arrived. These were good lessons in the value of time and now I’m working at Swapp finding ways to save that precious commodity in a project’s planning cycle. Among the constants in my four decade-career in the construction and MEP industries has been finding the best tool, system, or method for any building project’s needs. Coming from a career that began even before CAD was adopted, and being used to working long hours in on-site meetings with owners and engineers, architects and tradespeople, I never imagined that my move to Israel would also give me the opportunity to join Swapp—where the goal is to use artificial intelligence not just for architecture (Swapp’s already doing this) but also to use AI to speed up and improve the project’s MEP planning. By joining Swapp, I can now make use of everything I’ve learned during my decades of building signature projects in Silicon Valley and Southern California. I can apply the knowledge I’ve gained in MEP practices and implementation to the products that Swapp’s incredibly talented and creative engineers are developing for real estate developers, general contractors and specialty engineering contractors. I am confident Swapp’s technology will soon bring significant change to how these industries build large commercial, office, and multi-unit residential projects. In the following posts I’ll share some of the ways I believe Swapp’s AI driven technology is changing the construction industry and give a broad overview of how things were done when I started in construction almost 40 years ago and how they’re done now. Michael Piotrkowski is a Construction Operations Executive with more than 30 years’ experience managing the MEP design, procurement and construction phases of major capital projects (construction cost: $200M to $900M) for hospitals, biotech and research institutions and Silicon Valley companies building signature campuses. Michael currently serves as an MEP Executive at Swapp.
The Future of Architecture: 4 Ways Technology Will Change Our Industry
Eitan Tsarfati is a serial tech entrepreneur and Co-Founder and CEO of SWAPP, an AI-based construction planning company which partners with architects to leverage the power of AI-driven platforms. He is an architect and a Harvard-Business School Alumnus who served as the former CEO of Autodesk Israel. Over the past few years, various architectural construction planning technologies have emerged, changing the way we design. It seems inevitable that as the world goes through the process of digitization, the world of architectural planning will eventually follow. While many see this transformation as negative, I see it as positive. I’ve never understood why we are already using technology in our daily lives to save time and energy and not using it at the office to improve our productivity as architects. Why should we, as architects, spend so much time on manual processes that can be automated? If we wouldn’t spend so much time generating output, we could use our time to explore new ways to innovate and improve our designs. Architects have always needed to embrace new technologies to keep up with the changing needs of cities and communities. Yet, the past year has illuminated the growing need to innovate the way that we work, live, and collaborate. Many emerging technologies will change the face of architecture as we know it. Let’s take a look at some technologies that are set to transform the field. Autodesk Generative Design via Autodesk Research 1. Generative Design As I mentioned in my last piece, “How New Technology Is Enabling Architects to Realize Their Dream Designs,” generative design has been used by architects to explore hundreds of design sets, offering solutions to the challenges we often struggle with. Currently, most generative design software tools provide hundreds of options without screening them or optimizing them to match a particular construction project’s needs. I expect this technology will be further developed and enhanced over time, primarily through AI-powered and machine learning planning platforms. These innovations will help architects to free up more time to concentrate on other tasks. 2. Collaboration Platforms Major developments in this field are collaborative software solutions aimed at helping architects take a leading role in the design and construction planning processes. Real-time collaboration software is already considered to be an essential part of the construction planning process. Today’s work environment has proved that communicating effectively and sharing data in real-time can transform how we approach the construction planning process. Every architect’s planning cycle involves constant coordination with numerous stakeholders, and interaction with them often impacts our designs. For this reason, the latest AI technology in the field offers more than just a collaboration platform. It provides planning teams with access to the latest, most updated information. Additionally, it can quickly calculate and automate numerous iterations simultaneously, in hyper speed and complete transparency for all relevant stakeholders. Swapp AI-driven Platform, leveraging data and machine learning for planning efficiencies and optimization criteria. 3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning In addition to Collaboration Platforms, BIM adoption and generative design, AI technology serves as the basis for our field’s next key technological developments. Architecture is an industry where creative processes suffer from countless obstacles on the way to the final design. I argue that the most powerful tool for helping architects regain control over the design process and re-inject creativity into the industry is using AI and machine learning technologies. These technologies already help architects and other key stakeholders to create a significantly easier process by providing access to countless data, models, interpretations of building environments, and cost estimates. These tools allow architects to create shorter, smarter, more creative design processes, leading to fewer design omissions or system clashes. This stainless steel bridge is currently being 3D printed by MX3D; it will cross one of the best known canal’s in the heart of Amsterdam. 4. Additive manufacturing (AM)/or 3D printing As an executive at Autodesk, I lead a software development team as part of the company’s Additive Manufacturing platform. Additive Manufacturing, most commonly referred to as 3D printing on an industrial scale, enables the digital to physically transform an object from the ground up. Using a layer-by-layer creation allows for complex and lightweight structures that could not be achieved by any other method. By using this technology, architects can convert their 3D digital model into instructions for the 3D printer. Despite the great promise of 3D printing technology, it is still considered one of the most controversial technologies because of its various technical constraints. I believe that this technology will significantly evolve in the next 5-7 years, but there’s still a long way to go before it becomes a standard in the construction industry. Final Thoughts After a transformative year, there is no doubt that architects are set to see the introduction of more and more technologies into their daily workflows. The industry’s many challenges are likely to be eased, if not solved, by technological developments. And these technological trends are undoubtedly opening up new opportunities for greater creativity, productivity, increase in efficiency, and optimization of our work processes for years to come. The ability to adopt new technologies will soon become the bread and butter of innovative architects ready to embrace the future. I think it’s time we stop seeing ourselves as “worker bees” and start using our creativity and deep-thinking capabilities to explore new possibilities — this will help our industry evolve.
SWAPP is Proud to Introduce Ken Reisch As Its New Sales Director
Ken Reisch, Swapp’s new Sales Director is no stranger to the design digitization world. Ken has excelled at revenue generation for disruptive technology companies for over 30 years, focusing on numerous industries. Ken began his career as an application engineer shortly after graduating from New Mexico State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He provided pre-sales technical support for the CAE market in the Southwest Region. He then transitioned to Sales and Channel Management, conveying value propositions for various software and technology companies. His years at Autodesk, serving as Target Account Sales Manager have helped him to understand the construction industry’s pain points and available technology solutions. Along the way, Ken became heavily involved with home renovation design and construction. This experience is an important factor in achieving a full understanding of real estate developers pain points, and their project goals. Becoming a “trusted advisor” and providing solutions to help meet these customer goals is Ken’s passion. Ken resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Swapp Incorporates Construction Cost Estimating Capabilities Into Its Software
During any site evaluation, real estate developers need an estimation of development costs, with an additional estimation of the potential return on investment. In many cases, real estate developers use construction cost estimating software solutions in order to generate a realistic calculation of the necessary financial investment, and the potential return that they can expect to earn from it. Swapp is expanding its Site Evaluation service offering by providing a detailed construction and development cost estimation feature in its software that calculates accurate feasibility costs and produces reports that describe the information developers need to make the right financial decisions The Complete Property Development Cost Estimator Swapp’s new feature provides an overview of the complete financial property development costs. The overview is divided into two sections: the first is construction costs, and the second is development costs. Construction Cost: Construction cost estimates consist of many system categories and elements. The weight of each system in the total cost varies depending on the project’s specific goals. For example, on some projects meeting certain sustainability goals is a priority. In that case developers will want to know what percentage of the cost is for HVAC or MEP systems that contribute to the sustainability goals. Or how cost might be influenced by a facade design that improves sustainability metrics. Connecting Between Development Cost and Construction Cost Even though development costs and construction costs are two separate things, they directly affect one another. The new estimator is built in a way that the data in one corresponds with the other. The reason behind this decision and function of the software feature is that there are some elements in the construction costs that directly affect the development costs and vice versa. For example, developers in the UK can add the costs of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) into their construction and development cost estimations. It's important to understand that the construction itself, while being the primary cost, is not the only expense that needs to be taken into account. When property developers review a site, they need to get the full picture of site development in order to make the right decision. Now, with this new addition to the feasibility study capabilities offered by Swapp, developers can get even more insights about the potential projects they are reviewing.
How New Technology Is Enabling Architects to Realize Their Dream Designs
Eitan Tsarfati is a serial tech entrepreneur and Co-Founder and CEO of Swapp, an AI-based construction planning company which partners with architects to leverage the power of AI-driven platforms. He is an architect and a Harvard-Business School Alumnus who served as the former CEO of Autodesk Israel. Most architects are frustrated by the same experience: The final result is quite different from their original design. If you have gone through this frustrating experience, you are not alone. When I was a young architect, the office I worked for won the bid on a new project. I was excited to take part in the initial design process. From the very first day , I was constantly thinking about shapes, forms, and design tone, eagerly imagining how this new project would inspire others for years to come. Very quickly, starting from the very first meeting with our client , my dreams were shattered when I faced the harsh reality of budget constraints, engineering requirements, and a tedious process that threatened to squeeze every ounce of creativity out of me. Sound familiar? Whether you are taking part in the design and planning phases for a stadium, a museum, or a multi-family residential project, the planning process is long and complex. There are too many hands in the pot: the owner, various consultants, and financial advisors, and so forth. By the end of the process , you can barely recognize your dream design. An illustration which exaggerates the distance between the vision and the result, but you get the point… image via Leewardists In an AIA report, stakeholders such as architects, owners, and contractors were asked to rank the drivers of uncertainty in planning construction projects. Alongside unforeseen site conditions, which ranks among the top three factors cited by participants across the board, architects chose owner-driven changes and accelerated schedules as the leading forces behind project uncertainty. Owners and contractors, however, pointed to the design team's errors and omissions as the leading factors for uncertainty. The issue of unclear project requirements from the outset was identified by all parties as the top generator of owner-driven changes. I would argue that there is a way to bridge the gap between our dream design and the demands of owner/contractor stakeholders, and its technology. That is, technology that allows us to gain more insights, and thus gain control over the process. We are usually missing several sets of data that are needed to make necessary adjustments while protecting our creative vision in the planning process. In most cases, we are not fully aware of site requirements and limitations. Another missing variable which has a major influence is the owner’s financial objectives and the calculations he or she has made in order to achieve them. The end result is that we usually spend too much time on tedious, repetitive iterations and tasks. Over the past five years, various technologies have been developed to help architects gain valuable insights and even help them to automate many of the SD-DD andCD related tasks, specifically the manual ones that offer architects no added value. Generative Design Many of you are already familiar with and are already using “Generative Design” tools. Generative design tools help architects discover dozens, and even hundreds, of design options that include sketch constraints and project goals. They solve the need to create what some would call “boring” building designs lacking a “soul” or a clear design concept. One of the main challenges of generative design, which is raised by Daniel Davis in his article “Generative Design is doomed to fail,” is that it offers hundreds of options without screening and ranking them according to methods used by architects in the design process. I expect this to improve over time, especially when combined with what I call “top-bottom” analysis in the form of AI-powered planning platforms. These platforms will eventually help architects to free up more time (now used for screening too many design options) so that they could focus on creative solutions. Airbus factory layouts analyzed by the generative design system; video courtesy Autodesk AI-Powered Planning Platforms While time is an important factor for creating space for creativity, architects today understand that data is king. If we want to take an active role in creating space for our creativity, then we have to approach the planning process differently by employing data analysis tools. One of the main technologically-driven developments in industry today is the use of AI-powered platforms. In our industry in particular, these platforms allow architects to access valuable data and to conduct a deep analysis that is pivotal in creating designs that fit our vision and design concept, while taking into consideration stakeholder demands. Remember the key drivers of uncertainty ranked by architects in the AIA report? Today, many software platforms help bridge the gap between our dream design and the demands of stakeholders. These platforms aggregate and analyze a tremendous amount of data to help architects collect more information about a site, and thus gain greater control over a project and the challenges that may arise along the way. In recent years, the number of relevant data sources has significantly increased, leading to new analytical tools that can help architects predict various considerations such as site challenges and opportunities, project costs according to the preferred construction method, and even architectural and MEP strategies per project type. Using these technologies, we can balance between our vision and client cost constraints, and take control by including their ROI goals, embedding them into our design, and having an algorithm analyze and compare them to data sets. Architects can also save time and effort in analyzing designs from the perspective of energy efficiency to occupants’ wellbeing parameters, with one easy click of a button. In Conclusion For too long, we have taken a back seat in the planning process while fulfilling or struggling to meet stakeholders requirements and needs. The latest technological developments allow us to take the wheel in the planning process for the first time. By embracing technology, we will begin each project with more data, AI super-powers for analysis, and greater overview of key requirements, all of which will enable us to better serve our clients while protecting our creative space. The architecture industry is in the midst of a technological revolution and the future has never looked brighter.
Swapp Partners with Gurobi to Enhance Optimization Capabilities for Construction-Planning
Tel Aviv, IL, December 30 2020 - Swapp (http://swapp.net) and Gurobi Optimization (https://www.gurobi.com/) are proud to announce a strategic partnership for their best of class Gurobi Optimizer, the fastest and most powerful mathematical programming solver. Swapp™ is a construction-planning technology company for ground-up and renovation projects, that partners with top real estate developers to maximize building efficiency and minimize construction costs. Its algorithms and models formulate customer requirements, zoning laws, architectural principles, MEP systems, fire, ergonomic, security and safety regulations. Swapp generates highly detailed architectural layouts and construction documents fine tuned and optimal for each customer’s preferences and design objectives. Achieving this requires a powerful solver for Swapp’s models and objectives. After evaluating numerous alternatives, Swapp chose Gurobi for its superior performance, continuous improvements and support for bigger and more complex mathematical optimization problems. In comparisons to alternative solutions, Swapp found that Gurobi Optimizer handles more mathematical formulation cases unsolvable by alternatives and is frequently significantly faster at producing optimal results.
How AI Helps Eliminate Waste on Construction Sites - Before You Even Break Ground
The construction industry presently contends with numerous challenges that lead to waste. Wasted time. Wasted money. Wasted manpower. And yes, wasted materials. Product complexity and margin pressure continue to increase and the persistent labor shortage is exacerbated by a low productivity rate of just 42% with the rest of workers’ time on the job spent waiting, necessarily handling materials, or reworking poorly completed projects. As such, there is an extreme and urgent need for a solution to eliminate waste and enable construction companies to make the most of their assets. The average construction project wastes 25-50% of its resources, but smarter planning based on actionable insights can generate leaner, more profitable incomes. How? Through the power of artificial intelligence (AI). When applied to the construction planning process, AI collects and analyzes all relevant data to learn the project’s needs and constraints and teach contractors how to allocate their resources to maximize productivity and minimize waste throughout the project’s lifecycle. Fewer Incidents Construction is just one of those industries that is enveloped in risk. Risks to personal safety and property in the form of theft and damage are the major contenders. And the larger the project is, the more risk is involved. Luckily, AI is rapidly being adopted as an assistive tool for real estate developers, contractors, designers, and other stakeholders to proactively assess and mitigate risks before they occur on the job site. AI software can constantly glean data from real-time monitoring systems, such as cameras and sensors, to identify and alert users about potential risks, including structural stability, constructability, bodily wear and tear, inadequate visibility/supervision, and more. These insights can inform the construction planning process for present and future projects engaged in by a given development company, assigning priority to certain issues while limiting waste caused by all kinds of incidents on the job and ensuring compliance with regulations. More accurate handling of funds The construction industry can draw inspiration from the retail industry, which is already using AI to forecast demand and plan supply chains and production accordingly. A BIM (building information modeling) approach can be adopted, swapping blueprints and drawings for digitized workflows informed by AI data collection and analysis and enabling greater communication and collaboration throughout the project’s lifecycle. The result: better, data-driven cash management that streamlines and automates the purchasing and allocation of materials (and workers) for each job site, reducing expenditures and overruns from the start - and potentially saving millions of dollars as the project progresses. Faster time to completion There are many ways in which artificial intelligence can speed up a construction project’s progress, ensuring deadlines are met with minimum hiccups. AI algorithms can collect information on similar past projects. Using information gleaned from IoT sensors or other remote monitoring that were on other job sites, the algorithms can assess and analyze the myriad of available scenarios and alternatives to learn how to improve project planning and scheduling before ground is broken on future projects. Doing so can help envision realistic timelines for any given project, based on manpower, equipment, and budget constraints while limiting idle time and improving energy efficiency. The algorithms can additionally help workers remotely access training materials based on real-life experiences to quickly bolster their knowledge and practical skills, swapping the time previously spent on onboarding for expedited execution and project delivery. And, once the project does get underway, connected machines, vehicles, and other technologies can be stored in the cloud and regularly analyzed by AI software, for the purpose of continuous self-correcting and optimization of slow-performing practices. Increased productivity Beyond all of the benefits of using AI to eliminate waste highlighted above, the information gathered using artificial intelligence sensors and software can help construction industry workers make the most of their time on the job. This, by learning how to schedule various workers and shipments, so that every professional has the time, space, and materials they need to get their jobs done when they are ready to do so. The software can anticipate and forecast how long it takes for supply orders to be fulfilled, how long specific professionals take to get complete jobs and fit all these puzzle pieces together while considering the order in which various projects are performed, and any changes in schedule - as they arise. The bottom line - less waste Artificial intelligence eliminates waste on construction sites by learning about each site’s unique needs, as well as from the experiences - positive and negative - of similar job sites under similar constraints. Adopting an AI-driven software platform, like SWAPP, to your construction planning process can help you maximize your resources and minimize waste - before you even break ground. What are you waiting for? Say goodbye to waste, with Swapp today!
How AI Can Help Bridge Geographic Gaps & Enable Remote Supervision of More Construction Sites
Artificial intelligence is making supervising construction sites a global affair! The adoption of digital innovations in construction is rapidly picking up the pace. Digital tools are already being employed on construction sites to make operations speedier, more seamless, less physically taxing, and more cost-effective. But since robot contractors have yet to replace humans on job sites (or even be invented!), there is still a very clear limit to how far a contractor can stretch their skills and talents - and it’s usually not beyond the safety barricades of a single project at any given time. Until now. While use cases integrating artificial intelligence in construction are largely still in their infancy, there are AI-driven solutions that can be leveraged to enable contractors to expand their command over more construction sites spanning more geographical regions, with greater visibility, accessibility, and ease. Here’s how. Generative design Artificial intelligence-driven generative design is transforming the architecture, engineering, and design professions. By collecting and leveraging relevant data to algorithmically analyze a construction project’s requirements and identify multiple design options, generative design allows contractors to select the optimal design option for each individual project, faster, more holistically, and with a smaller error margin. As such, they can get the ball rolling on more projects at the same time, regardless of their location. Risk mitigation While every construction project has some risk - be it in the form of time, money, quality, or safety, AI can help reduce said risk, by automatically assigning priority to particular issues, thereby teaching construction teams where to focus their risk management efforts. This enables contractors to engage in more remote supervision of more construction sites, choosing which sites to visit when, depending on which risks the AI program prioritizes, for which sites, and which smart alerts are deployed. Better distribution of labor & tools A shortage of adequate labor is one of contractors’ greatest challenges - and one of the biggest reasons they find themselves tied to a particular construction site. While 78 percent of contractors report having a hard time filling some or all available positions, all contractors can make better use of the manpower they do have, through the power of artificial intelligence. Real-time analysis of data collected by AI-enabled drones or robots can help construction companies better plan for the distribution of labor and tools across sites. As a result, contractors can feel increasingly freer to jump from site to site, or even engage in remote, visual monitoring of multiple sites in several geographic locations from afar, confident that they possess a full and clear picture of each site’s needs and how they’re being tackled. Schedule optimization Beyond the scope of planning construction projects and determining their cost, manpower, and equipment needs, artificial intelligence can fuel and inform project schedule optimization processes by taking into consideration millions of alternatives for project delivery. AI technology can consume data from sensors and other information capture devices, and AI-powered software platforms can remotely piece together their relevance regarding each project’s current schedule and how it can be tweaked to finish faster, more affordably, safer, and satisfactorily. Bottom line As contractors examine ways to expand their reach to more construction sites in more geographic regions, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are enabling them to bridge existing gaps and gain more complete access and control of more job sites from remote locations. Using an AI-based software platform like Swapp enables contractors to do exactly that, guaranteeing a super-efficient planning process that includes multiple planning options, ensuring cost-efficient buildouts, and enables remote access, anytime and from anywhere. Swap geographic gaps for remote supervision with Swapp, today! Click here to learn more.
(Construction) Planning for the Inevitable in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
Return to your workplace the SWAPP way, with safe, holistic planning Just a few months ago, everything seemed normal. We went to work, performed our jobs, and returned home at the end of the day. Our routines seemed ordinary, even mundane. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and life as we knew it changed forever. Covid-19 created unprecedented challenges with respect to every aspect of every industry, including construction. Across the world, new, socially distant, and health-conscious job site standards were imposed and continue to be upheld, forcing many projects in countless areas to shut down, either temporarily, or permanently. And despite the easing of restrictions and the reopening of businesses, Israel’s unemployment rate still declined by 0.9 percentage point to 10.2 percent in July, as risk assessments were made, personal protective equipment (PPE) was purchased, quarantine periods workers exposed to confirmed Covid-19 cases were imposed, and funding was suddenly far less liquid. While organizations across the globe continue to attempt to define and implement the short and long-term changes that must be made in the workplace, SWAPP is working closely with international companies to gain insights and provide value in each geographic area, complying with the guidelines each country has in place. Here’s what we’ve learned so far. Planning is more strategic & pressing than ever Although the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted much of the world’s economy and many countries are experiencing a recession, as curves flatten and testing & PPE become more readily available, the working world is resuming activity, under the guidelines of what has become our new normal. With supply chains squeezed, deliveries delayed, and the threat of infection, quarantine, and regional lockdown looming overhead, planning for every eventuality - for every newly constructed, remodeled and existing workplace, is no longer merely par for the course. It is now a crucial strategic activity that necessarily determines the success or failure of any building you seek to use as a workplace. Flexibility is the name of the game As budgets are tight and manpower is stretched in an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines (even without workers quarantine as a result of exposure to the virus), there simply is no room for error in the planning of your Covid-safe workplace. Nor is there room for rigid adherence to any particular construction or design plan. Flexibility is an absolute necessity, and adaptation to various Covid-19 risk level approaches are a must. Artificial intelligence is the innovation capable of injecting the required level of flexibility into your workplace’s planning, streamlining processes while lessening the burden on your budget, workers, and timeline. For example, AI software can be used to improve the quality of air in an existing office, adjusting the ventilation infrastructure while minimizing remodeling costs and the risk of transmission via the building’s HVAC system. The same software can be used to plan a new structure’s HVAC system, so that the building meets Covid-19 ventilation guidelines, from its completion. Documenting & storing all data is your business’ most critical asset Businesses should remain aware of the potential risks associated with returning to work in the midst (or aftermath) of a global pandemic. This is true of supply shortages, pricing fluctuations, fraud and health risks, and delays. Every change in your work plan should be documented for the purpose of filing claims and preserving your business’ profit margin & reputation - during and after the planning process. An AI system can help with the documentation and storage process as well. Bottom line When it comes to workplace planning, planning for the inevitable, like a global pandemic, is smart, future-forward, and industry-leading behavior. Swapp is precisely the platform to help you weather the Covid-19 recession with maximum ease. Using Swapp, organizations can receive an accurate analysis of the exact measures that are working for similar companies and benefit from a decision-making process that is based on data and use cases, rather than on speculation. Adopting new Covid-19 standards, Swapp can predict different scenarios and quickly generate office designs to reflect today’s rapid transitions for both property owners and tenants. Swapp now leverages artificial intelligence technology to define various Covid-19 risk levels such as business impact, social distancing (6-12 feet), better ventilation, spaced cubicle layouts, and capsule approach. SWAPP’s AI-driven automated plans are categorized by tenant sector types and are adapted to the Covid-19 varying risk-level approaches. Our customers can quickly review the different layout options, which include relevant data reflecting trade-offs and options for better business decision-making, without compromising their - or their workers’ health or wellbeing. Stay safe!