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Omaha Magazine

Roundtable: New Technologies in Construction

May 27, 2022 01:37PM ● By Linda Persigehl

Cutting-edge technologies are helping construction-related companies enhance their design processes and improve project outcomes. We asked three industry leaders what new technology they’re using and how it’s impacting business for the better. Contributing to this round are: Brian Crichton, CEO with CMBA Architects; Jeff Gehring, co-owner of Mercury Builders and Contractors; and Steve Persigehl, owner/president of Window Innovations.

B2B: What construction-related services and/or products does your firm provide, and who are your primary customers?

BC: CMBA Architects is recognized as a regional leader in the health care and education sectors. Our services include: management, program management, bond and fundraising promotion, communications strategy and implementation, graphic and wayfinding design, curriculum assessments, facility assessments, code reviews, furniture selection/coordination, and many more. The majority of our customers are healthcare organizations, public and private schools, colleges and universities, cities, counties, and other institutional clients.

JG: Mercury Builders and Contractors provides custom home building, roofing, and commercial general contracting services. This would include office, medical, restaurant, retail, and industrial tenant finishes/build-outs.

SP: Window Innovations is a window and door retailer that works with homeowners and remodelers in residential replacement; builders in residential new construction; and general contractors in light commercial. While our primary product line is Marvin Window & Doors, we also deal in vinyl windows, entrance doors, skylights, and other specialty products.

B2B: What new technology in your field are you most excited about and why?

BC: The technology that I’m most excited about for our work is our use of data analysis packages, such as Microsoft’s PowerBI. For example, we are using educational data points to help shape spaces that will support student outcomes and enhance the teaching environment for teachers and staff. Another example in our health care practice would be using case data or market volumes to determine the ideal number of certain room types in a hospital or clinic facility.

JG: With the onset of three-dimensional and virtual-reality technology, i.e. Revit, Rhino 3D, AutoCAD, etc, we have been able to help our clients better ascertain how to design their new space to suits their needs. Whether this is achieved with 3-D video created from the proposed set of plans or VR tools, we find that our tenants and our new home buyers better understand the space that we are building for them.

SP: We recently developed a projection system that allows us to display window and door units to scale up to 18 feet by 10 feet in our showroom. This will allow us to take any or all windows on a plan and show the builder, remodeler, or homeowner a representation of that unit in actual size. They can even supply a photo of their view that will be seen through the window or door, and we can project that image to scale as well. Scale is one of the hardest aspects to comprehend for people in a showroom setting. This will help eliminate the client’s uncertainty when deciding on window size and style.

B2B: How is this new technology facilitating your business and improving projects?

BC: We are using these types of analytics to help inform our design process and understand the metrics that our clients are tracking in their organizations. Our creative design process will use the analysis, but will not be compromised by the data. Our work will still be unique to each client and will bring their vision to life.

JG: These tools create a more efficient way to design space and help eliminate square footage they otherwise would not need. In addition, and more importantly, they help eliminate or reduce future change orders. Change orders create additional costs, and some can be quite substantial depending on the amount of change that needs to be made to the house. They also delay the construction process and the date clients can get into their home. So, if they can see how the house lays out in a three-dimensional video or picture in advance of the construction process, they will not need to move walls, add windows, or change cabinets, etc. during the home build.

SP: This technology will help us move toward our goal of becoming not just a place where you can buy window and door products, but a place where you come during the project design process to see what’s possible. It will be a great tool for builders and remodelers in helping their clients visualize their projects to make sure they’re getting as close as they can to their desired goal.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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