Did you know that it takes about 4 years to complete a condominium? While it seems like a long time, it’s not all that surprising considering what it takes to design, sell, and build a multi-family residential complex.
Still, there are processes or steps that significantly slow down the progress of construction, and that can be most frustrating for investors. But construction technology (better known as contech) is gradually being adopted, and condominium developers are finding smarter ways to streamline this intricate process.
The power of proptech
Property technology is one of the driving forces behind smarter real estate operations. It serves multiple roles within the real estate industry using IT to transform or improve workflows, experiences, and communication.
While there are multiple proptech subsectors, it can be helpful to organize them into 5 key categories:
Smart real estate
These are “smart condos” powered by tech platforms that enable the operation and management of the development. Smart real estate may aim to improve energy consumption, better control authorized access, allow residents to be more connected to their units, etc. The platforms can provide information about the building, or they can actively be controlled.
Real estate fintech
This is technology designed to simplify the trading of real estate asset ownership. It aims to remove the middleman from the equation and reduce fees for buyers and sellers.
Real estate shared economy
Airbnb and WeWork are excellent examples of shared economy proptech platforms. They allow multiple people to share physical spaces, pay fees, and more.
Technology platforms that facilitate data management, data analysis and data visualization fall under this category.
Legal technology is used in the real estate sale and leasing process. It digitizes legal forms and makes it easier for parties to keep track of all of the paperwork that comes with buying or selling a home.
Proptech vs. contech
There is some debate as to whether contech is a subsection of proptech, or if it is its own category. Contech focuses predominately on data-driven efficiencies throughout the construction process, while proptech optimizes the way people buy, sell and manage property. If it were to be organized under a core category, it would fall under data digitalization.
Contech aims to bring some predictability to uncontrolled and dynamic environments and processes (such as supply chains). Proptech almost always addresses more controlled and linear situations. Moreover, in order for proptech to be effective, the intended users must adopt the technology.
Some would argue that proptech and contech should not be siloed from each other, and that makes a lot of sense. The technological innovations impact and improve the entire industry when they are used together.
Examples of contech
Contech has the potential to change the way companies engineer and design assets and materials. These changes can help optimize supply and logistics. For example, Building Information Modeling (BIM) uses an intelligent 3D model-based process to give architects, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools they need to design, construct and manage buildings more efficiently. The maintenance for the condo has already been determined in BIM, and can be efficiently managed using other digital platforms.
There are also programs out there that digitize construction workflow processes. They may take advantage of AI and workflow management, or use sensors placed throughout the construction site to provide real-time data that can be used to make fast changes.
Drone technology is also being deployed together with machine learning for job site analysis. Robots are tentatively starting to be used for repetitive on-site tasks. Wearable tech is used for worksite safety as well, and will make a difference when used with AI analytics.
Contech can assist with all types of processes, including:
- Asset design and engineering
- Building materials extraction and processing
- Fabrication and preassembly
- Obtaining permits
- Sourcing and distributing materials
- Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installation
- Outfitting and renovation
- Financing and insurance
Don’t forget about post-construction software
Developers still have a lot of work to complete after the building is up. They must supervise last-minute installations and fixes, oversee pre-delivery inspections as the first residents plan to move in, and eventually transfer documents, contracts and data to the condo manager or board.
By this point, teams are tired and just want to be done with the development. But this is no time for careless work. Give owners and investors a memorable first impression, and they’re more likely to look at future projects completed by your company. Conversely, if owners have a terrible move-in experience, they will tell others about it.
A property management software system like Condo Control can make the final portion of the development process simpler and less chaotic for all parties involved. Condo Control can assist with:
Create elevator times for scheduled construction deliveries. Do the same for owners who are moving in. This way, they don’t have to scramble and try to get assistance during a potentially stressful time.
Condo Control securely saves information provided by new residents. If a welcome package is available, it can easily be delivered electronically to new residents upon registration. All of the resident data can easily be transferred to a property manager once they take over.
Get a custom, public-facing website to showcase the new condo and attract buyers.
There is a booking system that can be used for PDIs. Maintain an organized schedule and save records of completion. You can even add inspection forms or create one digitally from your tablet.
Store manuals, user guides, rules, and more in our digital library. New residents can find all the information they need in one convenient location.
Post-construction software can help developers make a strong lasting impression on investors and tenants.
How much time could construction technology save developers?
It’s hard to say for sure how much faster condo communities could be constructed with the help of contech. It could be a few months, or as much as an entire year. But it’s important to keep in mind that construction is a complex business. There are a lot of stakeholders involved, and even more moving parts to consider. It is much easier to convince a property manager to invest in a management platform because they have a lot of say over how they want to manage their assets. Developers have to think about different variables, rules, regulations and people. And if something were to go wrong during the building process, the consequences could be devastating.
There are a lot of barriers to navigate, but the technology does present significant opportunities. Since it is still so novel, the industry has yet to see the full impact of contech. Adaptation is expected to be slow, but the returns could be immense.