The Real Deal Miami

South Florida embraces new construction technologies

Companies make effort to prevent waste in years after downturn

September 13, 2013 04:00PM
By Mark Maurer

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From left: Ryan Shear, Marlins Stadium construction and Brad Meltzer

UPDATED 5:04 p.m., Sept. 16: South Florida developers and construction companies are using new technologies that let them build more efficiently than ever before. 

Nearly every development-related business across the region has retooled its building process between 2006 and now. Some invested in new technologies and even sent their employees back to college to brush up, said Hector Camps, president of Miami-based tech consulting firm PHI Cubed.

“The building industry is notoriously known for not competing in technology,” Camps told The Real Deal. “They’re deeply rooted in tradition. Now you’re seeing that change.”

One of the most widely used is called building information modeling, or BIM, which lets a company create a 3-D model in the design phase of a complex development — a hospital, for example — and virtually plan each stage of the project before ground even is broken.

“By the end of 2010, when the economy was better, we saw building owners couldn’t afford to be as wasteful,” said Camps, who also chairs the nonprofit BuildingSMART Alliance. “There is greater pressure from ownership to reduce waste and costs.”

Camps points to the $640 million Marlins Stadium project in Miami as one of the best local uses of the technology. Moss Construction linked a model to its construction schedule. Software helped prevent three trades from being on site at the same time and helped coordinate deliveries of construction equipment. The ballpark at 501 Marlins Way opened last year.

“The more prudent we can be up front, the more efficient we can be in the field,” said Brad Meltzer, president of the Miami operations of New York-based Plaza Construction.

Plaza also relies on a visual documentation software, called Multivista, to pinpoint problems or errors during the building process. Multivista technicians take photos at the same location during each construction milestone so that the developer has a record of the work. The record lets a supervisor track the order of construction — whether the pipes were insulated before the drywall was installed, for example.

Not every developer, though, is embracing BIM. Property Markets Group is high on technology, but only for homebuyers. The company’s high-end condominiums Echo Aventura and Echo Brickell will be wired for iPads, iPods and other home electronics — what managing partner Ryan Shear calls the “Apple package,” which is included in the asking price.

“Our technology,” Shear told TRD, “is for ease of the buyer — not for ease of construction.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the construction firm on the Marlins Stadium project in Miami. The company is Moss Construction.

  • jack

    Post an article on something new that no one knows about. Don’t post articles on information that everyone in the industry already knows about and is using.

  • George Wenzel

    Buildings enjoy water, fresh air, electricity, data, occupants. Design for purpose, satisfy the owner, respect the neighbors. Enjoy title. Pass it on.

  • Tommy

    Sorry buddy but Plaza is super behind on technology and couldn’t care about innovation.

    Multivista has been used by way smaller GCs for over 5 years.

    • tg

      lol

  • G

    Property Markets Group, That is like saying that you only care about the the paint job and the stereo system and could care less about the quality of the rest. Unfortunately, there is only one CM company in this market that has been able to incorporate the technology to actually have an impact on quality and efficiency. Everyone else is “Hollywood BIMing” their way through with fancy pictures and animations.

  • Really a nice post..thanks for the information.

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