Using technology to build houses cheaper, faster, and with more empathy

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“The technology already exists to transform buying a new home into something resembling a game of Pokémon Go.”
16/12/2017

Michael Bilsborough, Ignite Director, and Olivia Pearson, Associate, share their thoughts on the use of technology to build houses cheaper, faster, and with more empathy.

The new government is aiming to build 100,000 new affordable homes – likely to be off-plan apartments and townhouses – in the next decade. But today’s designers and builders are already working flat tack. So what’s the fix? The answer lies with technology, writes two Auckland architects.

Even after squinting carefully at the floor plan, can you really be sure the sofa is going to fit in that lounge space? Will the façade you pick look a bit harsh in real life? And is that hill going to end up blocking the light?

The Kiwi construction industry needs to embrace time-saving (and potentially cost-saving) technologies faster to make both home-buying and home-building that much easier.

The technology already exists to transform buying a new home into something resembling a game of Pokémon Go. By using augmented reality headsets and an app on your phone, a tabletop can be transformed into a working apartment building, complete with tiny people wandering into lifts or matchbox cars driving into carparks. Or try to imagine how your townhouse will fit onto an empty lot via geo-referencing (just like Pokémon Go) and a pair of AR goggles. You can walk onto a site that’s currently just an empty paddock and walk right up to your building positioned exactly as it would be in real life.

Architects in the United States are already using augmented reality with their clients and it won’t be long before it catches on in New Zealand, removing all uncertainty about what we’re actually commissioning or buying. If someone can actually move around a space, that adds a whole new layer of understanding. No need to drive to a show-home that isn’t quite the same plan and no expensive home-staging required.

Virtual reality is already being used to develop new homes here and is likely to roll out to home buyers early in 2018. The developers of The Country Club aged care facility in Huapai, northwest Auckland are already planning to use it as a sales tool.

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