A bag of Groceries

How do you manage what does not exist yet?

Whether managing a construction project as the owner or as a construction industry professional, I experienced the same pain points, how do we begin to manage what doesn’t exist? There is the old business school saying, "what gets measured gets managed." Well, in construction, we need to measure what does not exist, an interesting challenge, isn't it?

In developing the concept that would become TiverBuilt, I sought out to solve this pain point. It’s simple, build digitally before we build in the field. Everyone is happy, the house that we built looks like the house we built in our digital software, easy! Well, it turns out it is not that easy.  

Building begins with your imagination, but it also begins with a spreadsheet. "So, what's your budget?" I was asked when I started my project, and with great confidence, responded, "aren't you supposed to tell me that?" As the owner in this scenario, I felt uncomfortable disclosing what I thought the project would cost, fearing that the contractor would say "that sounds about right" or worse "try doubling that" regardless of the scale and scope of the project.  

From the builder side of the scenario, the same question is posed, an owner spends time walking the builder through their vision and asks, "So, how much will this cost me?” 

While I was taking a construction estimating course online, this discussion came up, and one of the builders shared her answer, “How much does a bag of groceries cost?” 

The solution to this pain point is simple; we all need to know what is going into that bag of groceries to know the price. I like to say to clients, "we can't manage what we can't measure, and we can't measure what we can't select, we can't select what we can't see" so we all need to stop expecting that we can.

Let me take a minute to address one significant builder pain point.  

Owners, the level of detail in an estimate is important. You need to know the contents of your bag. Many builders that take the extra step to build out a thoughtful and comprehensive proposal will lose the job because their pricing will typically come in at a higher cost than the builders that don't. In accessing a builder, keep this in mind, what does their proposal look like, take note of the level of detail they have provided you. It can take 80+ hours to build a comprehensive proposal, hours that will only be compensated if you select that builder.  

Projects take development and development cost money, one way or another, an owner will be paying "soft cost" to know how much they will spend in "hard cost."

What is “soft cost”? Soft construction costs are fees incurred in the construction of a building that are not directly related to labor and physical building materials. The quality of your "soft product" impacts the quality of your "hard product" aka your house.

Your hard cost is derived from your soft cost process. Let’s talk about your process, and let’s start with the estimate, where does your estimate come from? ... it comes from your plans. The level of detail in your plans will have a direct impact on the level of detail in the proposal you receive from a builder. 

I don’t like paying soft cost. The product does not feel tangible. I also did not want to spend money with a design professional to then discover that the project I was hoping to accomplish was too expensive for me to afford.  

What’s interesting is the company I developed lands in the soft cost category, ironic don’t you think? 

The reason is clear, if I have to spend money on soft cost (and we do!) then I am going to make sure I make that money work, and work hard. Soft cost allocated to Digital construction technology has the power to do just that. 

“…with Governments globally beginning to create regulatory requirements for technology adoption, value and savings are beginning to be demonstrated. One study following a pilot program demonstrated that the cost savings generated in a single year of adoption were enough to pay for the cost of adoption for the next nine years.” 

That is awesome! The sad part, when I went looking for this technology in the residential building market, I could not find it. This technology is not generally offered to the residential market. Not awesome!  

When we are working with clients to develop the digital structure, we are simultaneously generating incredible visuals and the quantity list of each building material. Pretty cool. After all, what is hard cost made up of? Labor cost & material cost, our work with you includes providing quantity takeoff sheets, information that can be shared with builders and suppliers to fast-track the estimate process, saving you money and time. 

That also means we begin to form the overall cost of the project while you are developing your design ideas. We start to see what is in that bag of groceries, and you know you want what is in that bag. The really cool thing, you have a better idea of what the bag will cost when you go to check out! 

In building this company, I would like my clients to have confidence knowing that the spark for this company began with seeking solutions to the pain that I felt as an owner developing and building my home.  

I want my industry partners to have confidence knowing that by addressing the pains of our clients will be addressing the pains you feel in fulfilling the dreams of those clients.  

Pain is an indicator that there is an opportunity to solve a problem. Follow the pain, find the solution. 

Build Better Together

-Lindsay Prichard-Fox


May the Force Be with You


“Happy people make the world a better place” – Asa Kalama

How do you design, plan and construct a galaxy? That’s right, BIM.

At Autodesk University 2019, my team and I got to witness how BIM is influencing the construction of pure fantasy. The same software we use to improve the build experience for homeowners and trade partners is being used to create a galaxy far, far away…

The immersive galaxy at one of the world’s greatest and largest theme parks was designed, coordinated and built using BIM—also known as Building Information Modeling (BIM). The construction required the integration of over 140 different disciplines from all around the world—concept artists, designers, facility architects, landscape architects, interior designers, ride engineers, etc. A small margin of error would result in an air conditioning duct running through an iconic area of the ship compromising the immersive experience the designers intended to create.

Over the course of the project, more than 600 digital models were created. All were integrated and encompassed design, fabrication and installation. Single source BIM, was used to detect challenges/clashes and streamline construction.

BIM increased the velocity of the project. Multiple disciplines all working in parallel together were able to deliver the attractions months ahead of the target finish date.

BIM technology helped the design and construction teams create a new galaxy where guests would be able to create, imagine and play. It’s now a place where parents can share experiences with their children, and all leave feeling that the force is with them.

Happy May the 4th!

Link to keynote here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3XPhGx5EbE&t=2453s