Introduced to the Australian and New Zealand markets earlier this year, the Donovan Group spin-off is a pre-build design platform that tracks key metrics such as prices, intrinsic emissions, and fuel consumption. expected operational energy during the final design phases.
The company’s chief executive, Gavin Tonnet, says the technology cuts the time and costs incurred by the builder when customers request changes and additions. He says standard round trips during the design phase can account for 14 percent of non-construction home building costs. His company has spent five years refining software that can reduce the re-rating process for design changes from 10 to 12 weeks to an hour.
The platform is already in use by single-family home builders in Australia and New Zealand, Tonnet said The fifth state, with plans to launch in the States within the next 12 months.
In addition to volume builders, the company also attracted material suppliers as customers. These customers use the tool to quickly quote the price of materials.
The platform isn’t the only pre-build digital design tool on the market, but Tonnet says most others only model the aesthetics of the design. He says his company’s tool also offers visualization and project management features, but the ability to price the design and attribute environmental impacts in real time is what makes it unique.
The challenge of modernizing construction
Tonnet, who has many years under his belt in the real estate and construction industries and has led businesses for Mirvac, Leighton, Stockland and Sekisui House, has always been interested in streamlining and modernizing the management of long and complex industry supply chains.
This led him to the tech project with New Zealand-based advanced manufacturing company Donovan Group. He sees an opportunity to bring a digital tool to the industry that will solve real problems.
It’s important to note that the company has gone to great lengths to make the platform as user-friendly as possible so that very little training is required. The cost associated with training staff in the use of digital tools has been identified as a barrier to industry adoption of new technologies.
Pre-build design technology is offered through a subscription model at around $ 250 per seat per month. The platform is also open architecture, making it compatible with popular drafting and design software.
The environmental piece was a challenge
The company has partnered with the Green Building Council of Australia and three Australian universities, Monash University, University of Melbourne and University of Queensland, to simulate operational energy performance and the carbon embodied in the model. Tonnet says it was a “big task,” but exploited a “tidal wave of consumer demand” and regulatory pressure for low-emission housing.
“Energy performance is generally a post-design consideration and we want to make that a live consideration in the design. “
Tonnet expects people to “do the right thing” if they know what the ROI of their decisions is.