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CONSTRUCTION KNOWLEDGE BLOG

November 11, 2010

Microsofting Construction
Filed under: Energy — Tags: — nedpelger

This week’s Economist has a special report on smart systems. They consider how the exponential increase of cameras, sensors and smart phones will change the world. Though lots of the ideas were interesting, one particular section about the future of construction caught my attention.

Steve Lewis, a former wheel at Microsoft, co-founded Living Planit which focuses, in part, on changing how we design and construct buildings and infrastructure. He developed a great name, Xtreme Construction, which he defined as:

1. Modular Construction
2. Model and design-centric Implementation
3. Leveraging Sensor Technology throughout the assembly process (and beyond)
4. Design for maintenance and revision
5. Establishing the agile, optimized supply chain

He saw construction as an excellent place for huge changes because designs are often used only one time, few buildings are energy efficient, and the waste produced during construction is not well managed. In fact, the Harvard Business School did a case study finding that these factors amount to about 30% of the cost of construction.

That 30% seems too high to me, but I’ve long known the huge amount of inefficiency and waste in our normal construction processes. The folks that steer this ship in the best direction will be well rewarded for their efforts. In other words, “Hey Bozo, here’s an opportunity knocking on your noggin.”

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