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Construction is using tech to seek efficiencies

By Tim Sandle     Jun 17, 2018 in Technology
New technologies have the potential to make a substantial impact upon the home of the future. The smart home concept can one day be extended to an entire town, according to a new state-of-the-industry report.
While many people have technologies inside their homes that are 'smart' — think mobile apps and voice commands to control your lighting, temperature, and home security — the way that homes are constructed and the materials used have not advanced as rapidly. This is set to change in a new report from CB Insights titled "The Future Of Housing: From Home Building To City Planning, Tech Giants & Startups Are Reimagining Where & How We Live."
The report assesses how construction companies, in collaboration with established technology firms and innovative startups, are advancing a variety of construction methods. These techniques are being used to construct ambitious development projects; projects which reimagine everything, ranging from the wood used in homes to the ways people think about private and communal space. These trends are not simply about technology for technology's sake, they also help to address social and economic issues, such as the considerable housing shortage that many countries face.
Two of the trends which stand out are new ways for undertaking construction offsite and how technology is being used to improve smart living for large numbers of people.
Technology reshaping construction
A key development in construction, which assists with increasing speed of construction while maintaining quality, is the operation of offsite prefabrication, which means designing and constructing pieces away from the site of building. Here design elements can be standardized and construction firms can realize efficient economies of scale in relation to materials sourcing and with the number of homes built.
There are several startups working within the space of offsite construction. One example is Fullstack Modular, based in New York, U.S.The company uses Building Information Management design together with lean construction practices to run a faster and more cost-effective building process. A second example is Blokable, also based in the U.S. The company has successfully integrated construction, software and services into a single framework.
Improving smart living for communities
A trend that's developing in the U.S. is where major technology companies are developing their own city spaces to create smart home communities. An example is with Facebook's plans to increase the footprint its campus in Menlo Park by adding residential housing for employees and the public. Tech giant’s latest project includes 1.75 million square feet of new offices, at least 1,500 housing units and retail center between the areas of Willow and University.
Google has also proposed a multi million-dollar projects to build self-contained towns near its headquarters . With this project, Google aims to build nearly 10,000 new units of housing near its future campus in Mountain View, California. Mark Golan, vice president of real estate at Google, has described the future North Bayshore development as a "live, work, play, and stay" community.
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