Online, 9th June 2020 – Real Estate Brains – this is the name of the online format of Swiss Circle, SwissPopTech, and Builtworld. Every two weeks, the forum brings together the “sector’s brightest brains” in the virtual realm. And this has been very well received: The 10th edition, which addressed the subject “Innovation on the building site – how will we build in the future?”, once again mobilized hundreds of participants to attend on their devices at home. And at the other end of the line was ATP CEO Christoph M. Achammer. Together with Jan-Hendrik Goldbeck, Managing Director of the Goldbeck Group, and Adrian Wyss, Head of the Development Division of Implenia, he took part in a discussion of the future of the building industry that was as passionate as it was thought-provoking.
Achammer found characteristically clear words right at the beginning of the discussion: “The building industry realizes the greatest volume, undoubtedly has the greatest impact on the consumption of energy and other resources, and generates the largest volume of waste, worldwide,” said the architect and Professor for Integrated Construction Planning. “And yet the processes that take place in the sector have hardly changed in the past 100 to 150 years.” Whenever waste in the building industry is criticized, Achammer is not far away. The excuse that has been repeated for years that the building industry can only produce prototypes is no longer valid. And with the dawn of Industry 4.0 he sees such arguments as unsustainable.
From the individual project to the industrial process
If we succeed, thanks to digitalization, in thinking in terms of processes rather than projects then he sees the potential for efficiency growth in the building industry as being exponential. For he is convinced that the standardization of simple processes will make it perfectly possible to produce fully individual buildings, industrially, in batches of one. However, this also requires that key decisions are shifted forwards from the construction to the design phase: “Why aren’t products selected earlier in the planning process,” asks Achammer rhetorically, pointing to the almost statutory practice amongst architects of designing on the basis of “neutral” building service equipment, which effectively leaves procurement decisions to the installers. The resulting “duplicate” design process contains many unknowns and, hence, significant potential for waste, which could simply be eradicated.
ATP’s response to the demand for holistic, resource-saving responsibility in building is its “Design and Construction Management” (DCM) service. In contradiction to the standard fee scale, a DC Manager and his or her integrated team has undivided responsibility for both the design and construction processes on behalf of the client. This considerably relieves pressure on the client and optimizes the overall building procurement process.