By: Kishan Govindaraju
The real estate sector, like other industries, has been seeing disruptions due to technology- more so in the last few years and rightly so, as it has proved to be a win-win scenario for both developers and buyers. Hitherto, the pace and quality of the work had been hindered due to outdated workflows and disjointed communication but technology is filling this gap today. The pandemic has only served to hasten it as more developers are now adopting technology at every stage of their businesses.
Today, developers rely on 3D rendering software like BIM (Building Information Modelling) that are able to convert architectural drawings into 3D models through which they are accurately able to estimate a project’s cost. Additionally, they rely on ERP solutions that smartly enables cross department integration and ensure such cost estimates are adhered to thereby driving internal efficiency.
A new trend that has been adopted by builders with foresight is the use of precast technology for construction as opposed to conventional construction. Precast is truly disruptive construction technology that has revolutionized the real estate industry globally.
In precast, the smarter one is the offsite precast technology. Here, the concept of DFMA (Design For Manufacturing and Assembly) is used where the building is designed keeping both ease of manufacturing and assembly in mind, and of course the end user. The design efficiency and precision of the immaculately finished product is high given the controlled planning and machine manufacturing, all while ensuring that the wastage of materials is minimized. The factory finished concrete elements are in a ready-to-erect state when brought to site and have all requisite mechanical, electrical and plumbing cut-outs already factored into their design.
This ensures 50 per cent faster completion time while reducing pollution on site by over 60 per cent. Since the elements are manufactured in an assembly-line fashion in a dedicated factory, there is significant saving in the input material, as well as a 30% saving in the water used since the curing process is done through steam in the factory. Being a factory manufactured product, the life of the precast structure is up to 90 years. There is also a 60 per cent decrease in the requirement of project managers at site while the hiring of unskilled construction workers is almost eliminated. The scope for human error in the factory fitted precast concrete slabs is non-existent as well.
In fact, we went a step further in one of our projects and incorporated factory manufactured bathroom pods which merely had to be plugged into the designated slots on site. These bathroom pods are complete with wall and floor tiling, taps, basin, commode, shower stall and even mirror at the factory itself. This also reduces the need for toilet waterproofing, which is a highly time consuming and strenuous task.
The adoption of offsite precast manufacturing technology in our project not only resulted in unmatched quality of the final finished apartment units but also completion of the project way ahead of schedule.
LIDAR (light detection and ranging) is another software which uses light in the form of pulsed lasers to measure ranges to the Earth. This helps in generating a precise 3D model about the shape of the ground and its surface characteristics. The software helps identify ways in which one can build the structure without disturbing the roots/health of the trees.
Additionally, we use drones to identify the best views at different heights and ensure that the homes are not just made of the best quality materials but accentuated with the best views.
Technology for customer interface
What has evolved fast and adapted faster owing to the pandemic is the CRM software.
Real estate CRM software is enabling real estate professionals to identify, track, and manage their customer interactions with existing and prospective clients across the customer lifecycle within a single system.
This customer facing platform provides the customers with a digital update on the construction of their home, virtual tours, video calls to resolve customer queries, track their payment schedule and much more.
(The author is Director, Vaishnavi Group, a real estate company headquartered in Bengaluru)