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Rethink Design to Fix Housing Affordability Woes, Says Aussie Tech Startup

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Cnstrct founder Joel Hutchines says the construction industry is the world’s most unproductive and it needs to be fixed through the rethinking of design.

The Australian prop-tech startup recently announced expansion plans with India pegged to be the location for its first off-site manufacturing facility.

Hutchines, an architect who started his career as a carpenter, believes Cnstrct’s focus on a sustainable and high-quality approach to affordable housing is the reason behind its large number of pre-registrations for the free software in India.

In less than a decade its projected the world’s economy will pour a further $4 trillion into the global construction market, a sector that is widely considered outdated and the biggest laggard when it comes to integrating technology and smart design.

Cnstrct’s plans follow recent news of Australian based companies shaking up the construction industry, with Perth-based robotic technology company FBR building its first house, which met all building codes, in less than three days.

Former bosses of Corelogic and CBRE Australia announced investment in prop-tech start-up Archistar, developed by Sydney based architect Ben Coorey and his brother Rob, which assesses the feasibility and potential value of development sites. Archistar raised $1.5 million in its seed round.

Related: Are the Tech Giants Taking Over as Your City Leaders?

Brise Soleil House in Papua New Guinea designed by Hutchines’ design firm Studio Workshop. 
“We control the entire process, designing for our in-house machinery, pre-assembling modules and onsite assembly with limited documentation.”
It’s this approach he describes as “empowering architects”, Hutchines is focused on through Cnstrct.
Brise Soleil House in Papua New Guinea designed by Hutchines’ design firm Studio Workshop.


Rethinking design

Starting with free software targeted at architects and designers, Cnstrct has its sights set on developing manufacturing facilities around the globe as it garners demand.

“Our aim is to work with governments to tackle the issue of affordable housing with quality of design and construction being the main objectives," Hutchines said.

The tool provides architects with a software platform that takes them through the process of creating a digital building model, which delivers real-time costings and project schedules.

Hutchines says the priority for Cnstrct, which is in the software development phase, assists architects to take control of the project cycle from conception to completion, integrating digital modelling and automated manufacturing.

Hutchines describes the software as an “enabling platform, similar to that of Uber or AirBnb” but within the construction industry.

“These digital models then enable a streamlined construction process,” he explained.

“Where the complete project is delivered through an automated system leveraging the latest off-site manufacturing and robotics in a process where projects are completed faster, more efficiently, of higher quality and at a lower cost,” he said.

Related: Melbourne Start-Up Allows Buyers to Target Off-Market Homes

(L to R) Joel Hutchines speaking at Urbanity with Matt Hemming of Mitchell Brandtman, Dr Sue Keay of ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision.
(L to R) Joel Hutchines speaking at Urbanity with Matt Hemming of Mitchell Brandtman, Dr Sue Keay of ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision.


Hutchines says there’s a $1.6 trillion opportunity in closing the productivity gap within the “highly flawed construction industry” and that this process “must start by rethinking the value of design and empowering architects”.

“Every day I see articles published stating that modular construction will solve the issues.

“I believe it will play a part but I’m worried that if there isn't a focus on design we will end up with properties that nobody wants to live in long-term.

“Even worse, sites will have no relevance and become energy sapping beasts that we can't afford to keep running,” Hutchines said.

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Article originally posted at: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/highly-flawed-construction-industry-must-rethink-value-of-design