How to Deliver Cost-Efficient, Environmentally Sustainable Projects
- Oct 09, 2017
Developers and owners are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to build projects on time and on budget, without causing significant damage to the environment. Construction technology company Prescient works to provide a solution for the real estate industry by using precision manufacturing technology, including robotics, laser cutting systems and state-of-the-art manufacturing systems to deliver buildings on a tight schedule with very tight tolerances that don’t produce a lot of waste. Satyen Patel, the executive chairman of Prescient, explained to MHN how their proprietary Digital Thread system is ideal for hospitality, senior living, and student housing developers.
How does Digital Thread compare to traditional construction methods?
Patel: Our “Digital Thread” seamlessly connects projects from the initial architectural design through the finished building. It is based on a model-centric design and planning platform that liberates project stakeholders to plan and execute better. A project is no longer a series of isolated steps with the breakdowns and gaps that are typically involved. Instead, it becomes an orderly progression through a repeatable flow, connecting the developer, designers, suppliers and contractors at every step. This seamless approach means higher productivity, higher quality, fewer last-minute conflicts on site, less waste, shorter schedules and a better ROI.
How are the materials you use environmentally friendly?
Patel: Prescient components are built using recycled-content steel and, because they are precision-manufactured, the Prescient system eliminates the need to cut materials on-site and are installed with less than 1 percent waste. Even better, steel is the most energy-efficient building material to produce. Up to nine points can be achieved toward LEED certification, simply by utilizing Prescient’s innovative structure. Many projects now aim to employ a “green” building approach, and the environmentally friendly advantages that the Prescient system delivers means it is quickly becoming the go-to choice for construction companies working on multi-unit projects.
What was the entire process for the Uncommon Fort Collins project?
Patel: Like all of our projects, Uncommon Ft. Collins began with an initial design by our architects using Prescient’s proprietary software. The digital imaging and measurements were then sent to our Arvada, Colo., manufacturing facility where each truss, panel and post were cut to size using state-of-the-art robotic technology. From there, each piece was delivered to the site and installed quickly and correctly (the first time) without the need for rework. Because of the swiftness of Prescient’s installation, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) crews were welcomed in earlier than with traditional buildings, allowing the entire project to be completed on-time and on-budget.
You were recently selected by JE Dunn for the construction of OU Cross Village. Do you think that Hurricane Harvey will have an impact on the construction of the project?
Patel: OU Cross Village was completed prior to Hurricane Harvey. However, as we operate in Texas and Florida, hurricanes are something we keep in mind when designing all of our structures. All Prescient structures are designed to withstand up to Category 5 storms. Our non-combustible framing systems also ensure our structures are safe in the case of fires, wind storms and other natural disasters.
How is your construction method more cost-efficient?
Patel: Our system is more cost-efficient in many ways. Prescient delivers a precision-manufactured, light-gauge steel structure that not only installs in a fraction of the time needed for wood, concrete or traditional steel framing, but is also non-combustible. Major fires have recently destroyed properties across the country and insurance companies are taking note. A major opportunity for builders to trim their insurance costs exists in the form of steel framing, which does not burn or contribute to the spread or intensity of a fire.
Additionally, the controlled environment in our factories allows Prescient to achieve precision unattainable by structures cut and built on-site, and wood framing produces costly cut-off waste that ends up in a landfill. Prescient’s system allows projects to be erected exactly as they are designed, eliminating costly and time-consuming rework in the field.
Finally, the proprietary platform expedites architectural design, integrates structural design, optimizes value engineering and coordination, reduces structural construction schedule significantly and is faster to market than traditional wood or concrete framing systems. Prescient’s patented structure offers better dimensional stability than wood, allowing MEP crews to begin as each floor is completed, trimming time of constructions schedules. Projects that don’t utilize the Prescient framing system take significantly longer to complete than Prescient projects, and as they say, “time is money.”
What kind of property (student housing, hospitality, etc.) is most challenging to develop?
Patel: Because all of our structures are built using our proprietary technology and digital thread, we’re ideal for all multifamily structures. Whether we’re building a dormitory, a senior living facility or a state-of-the-art apartment complex, all Prescient buildings are easily designed and installed on-time and on-budget.
Why is Prescient’s system ideal for student housing projects?
Patel: With an integrated software, engineering services, pre-manufactured framing system and on-site assembly process, Prescient’s platform is ideally suited for the tight schedules that are common with student housing projects. Our system provides unprecedented speed of assembly—not only can the structure be installed twice as fast as competing systems, but aggressive phasing-in of trades can further shorten overall construction durations by months. Student housing projects have strict move-in deadlines, coupled with expensive penalties if those deadlines are not met. Student move-in days are non-negotiable, and Prescient removes many obstacles which can cause on-site delays, making us an ideal solution for student housing projects.