This post goes into more detail about why and how BUSA and OB were developed and describes in more detail the nine elements or characteristics that comprise Optimized Building. It also addresses why they all jointly create the environment that will allow BuildUSA’s mission to be successful.
In earlier posts, I introduced the concepts of BuildUSA and Optimized Building and outlined their key features and capabilities. These posts include:
- The nature of the healthcare market and the benefits an Optimized Building Series Solution (OBSS) may provide to many building markets, and specifically the healthcare market.
- Introduction of Optimized Building Series Solution (OBSS), specifically for the healthcare market.
“The Building Orders-Optimized Building”, (08/18/2021)
- Introduces the 4 building orders and discusses the 7 key characteristics of Optimized Building (OB).
- By describing a significantly non-optimized project, bring clarity to Optimized Building (OB).
and “What is the Meaning of Optimized Building?”, (11/22/2020)
- Certain simple concepts involving Optimized Building (OB) were introduced.
Recently, the characteristics that comprise OB have been further developed and now number nine. In what follows, each characteristic is briefly defined and exemplified.
Optimized Building’s Nine Features
- Common Date Environment (CDE): The CDE is the underlying cloud based, software that provides the structure within which data transactions are shared, securitized, and authorized by project team members.
- Building collaborative Environment (BcE): A cloud-based collaborative platform for all project and life cycle operations, workflows, and datasets
- Project collaboration – In developing the BCE, BuildUSA has devoted enormous time and energy to developing a Building collaborative Environment (BcE) that will not only enhance the typical building process of today, but also create the opportunity and capability of delivering true “Optimized Building” solutions to complement today’s marketplace.
- Modular Building (MB) types built on a chassis: Standardized building solutions that maximize the quality and quantity of off-site manufactured modular assemblies that are delivered and assembled onsite.
- Standardized Construction Assembly Modules (CAMs): Off-site manufactured modular assemblies offered in multiple formats and systems and can be utilized within multiple Optimized Building chassis.
i. Integrated product development: New building materials and expanded off-site manufacturing that utilizes CAMs will be applied to the first Optimized Ambulatory Building but will also be readily applicable to multiple building types within and outside of the BuildUSA ecosystem.
ii. CAMs: BUSA’s CAM products will integrate the individual elements of buildings into prefabricated module formats that can be assembled on site. These elements include panels, pods, racks, connections, groups, and kit of parts.
iii. Down the line: BUSA will begin exploring standardized CAM product offerings which integrate three developing fields:
- New building materials: evolving out of nanotechnology and accelerated building material science research.
- Energy distribution systems: such as smart grids and shared DC/AC power distribution.
- Integrated building automation systems: that synthesize on-site sensor data and optimize ongoing maintenance while sharing said data with the BCE.
5. Standards, Templates, & Workflows (STWs): The key data structures which are required to support and enable large project teams to seamlessly create, access and authorize data with increased quality, speed, and scale.
*** Note that items 1-5 collectively form the BuildUSA Collaborative Environment (BCE) ***
- Collaboratively Integrated Partner Organizations (CIPOs): A new business framework that expands the power and reach of small and mid-size businesses while maintaining their unique identity and culture. The goal of CIPOs is to create a contractually required set of STWs that are not only shared intra-company but are also shared inter-company by all members of the CIPO. Dramatic improvements in efficiency and quality can be achieved by a completely integrated CIPO group creating Optimized projects in a fully operational BCE.
- Defined Design Options (DDO): Optimized buildings will be sold with predetermined design options that provide the customer with sufficient aesthetic and operational flexibility while also dramatically improving the efficiency of the building workflow process.
- Scalable Building Sales (SBS): Buildings are sold in volume, and construction adheres to standard predetermined manufacturing schedules.
- Pre-Determined Start Dates (PSD): Building start dates are established by off-site manufacturing capacity to optimize labor and material coordination.
BUSA acknowledges that Incremental improvement in the overall building process can be achieved by implementing any one or a combination of these features. This is exactly how the current building market is implementing new ideas and innovation. With that said, all nine of the above features need to be implemented to fully realize the benefits of Optimized Building and deliver on BUSA’s mission statement, to provide:
“Higher Quality, Higher Performance” buildings with shorter delivery times and lower costs.”
Building, as discussed in “What is Building’s Problem? #$%&” and “Building in a Nutshell” has many challenges, but at its heart is an exercise in creative logistics. Successful building consistently gets the
“Right People” in the “Right Place” with the “Right Materials, Tools and Information” at the “Right Time” (In order to get the work completed correctly the first time).
Many professionals in multiple building fields are chasing these goals. There are many challenges and barriers to entry, but perhaps the strongest barriers are the following:
- The siloed nature of the various trades, professions, and manufacturing entities that comprise the building industry. All the work products of the hundreds of entities that conceive, design, construct, and operate buildings need to come together and be utilized by multiple companies. But every company creates their product in a customized way, and every project requires each team to shoehorn the other companies’ products into their own unique work processes.
- The one-off project nature of building. Where teams converge to execute a single project in a specific format and then evaporate when the work is completed, only to re-converge on a new project that uses an entirely new format.
BUSA’s work has been focused on identifying the capabilities (STW’s and other features that define the BCE) that need to be integrated in order to accomplish the strategic and tactical goals defined above. This work has developed over many years and has consisted of countless hours of research with a focus on:
- Cloud-based building processes.
- Standards, Templates, & Workflows (STWs)
- Software technology
- Integrated product development and Construction Assembly Modules (CAMs).
Now, the BUSA working environment is sufficiently robust that Syntec and BUSA are preparing to move into a new phase of controlled commercial implementation. The current game plan is to identify strategic partners and clients with which to develop the first Optimized Ambulatory Building (OAB) and the first Optimized Strategic Service Line (OSSL). The initial goal is to develop three buildings over the next three years. All profits will be re-invested in research, development, and testing, to allow a commercial version of Optimized Building to be offered to the building marketplace.
Although all nine features of BUSA are necessary to realize the maximum benefit that BUSA and OB may offer, not all the features are equally important or readily attainable. The primary work to date has been focused on:
- The necessary software, tools, and STWs required for the CDE and BCE to work effectively and continue to develop their capacity and capabilities.
- The necessary software, tools, and STWs are required to digitally implement modular CAM design and execution.
This has resulted in a majority of the research, development, and testing to date being focused on features 1-5 described above. This work began with the STWs because they provide the organizational framework within which all the software, decision-making, and ultimate input/output need to operate. Over time, we discovered that the process was very iterative. For example, once an initial STW draft was created, the work turned to two concurrent paths:
- The development of the CDE and BcE environments
- BIM standards and templates and how modular CAM design should and can (given current market conditions) be digitally implemented.
As work in these two areas progressed, the team received feedback that certain STWs needed modification to provide scalability and flexibility. So, modifications were made to the original STWs. This iterative process went back and forth multiple times. We slowly developed foundational solutions and gained confidence in the operational collaboration of the five core BCE tools:
- Common Date Environment (CDE)
- Building Collaborative Environment (BcE)
- Modular Building (MB) types built on a chassis
- Standardized Construction Assembly Modules (CAMs)
- Standards, Templates, and Workflows (STWs)
Together, these five tools comprise the backbone that supports and enables OB. They are referred to collectively as the BuildUSA Collaborative Environment (BCE).
Please do not come away with the impression that these tools are only intended for companies that opt into the OB strategy. All four building methods – Boutique, Iconic, Optimized, and Hybrid (“The Building Orders-Optimized Building”) – have been carefully studied, and the BCE environment and tools work effectively with all four delivery systems. OB, by definition, is the only delivery method that strives to use all nine features to maximize their benefits.
The remaining features that comprise OB are the following:
- Collaboratively Integrated Partner Organizations (CIPOs)
- Defined Design Options (DDO)
- Scalable Building Sales (SBS)
- Pre-Determined Start Dates (PSD)
Together they identify the core business relationships that need to be modified to truly optimize building. Each will require a growing understanding between the CIPO teams and owners, where all parties are properly educated and incentivized to achieve the stated goals and benefits.
Going forward, BUSA’s core objectives will be laser-focused on identifying key strategic partners and clients. We will begin to build a small commercial marketplace and concurrently build out the features and scalability of the BCE. As the market for Optimized Building grows, BUSA will roll out features 6 -9 on an opportunistic basis. Each of these features requires a certain market size, business pipeline, and finalized Optimized Building products to maximize efficiency, quality, and performance. So, in this instance, size and scale matter, and they define the opportunities BUSA will be looking for. The next three years (2024-2026) will be very exciting!