Defining ‘Twice Built’
At H+ME Technology we say our homes are twice built. What does that mean?
Well, for us, everything stems from design. That approach is the foundation of our process because we’ve found it’s the only way to ensure everything about the home fits properly and works together. In our design-driven world, architects, designers and engineers can examine every structural component and system in a home well before the shovel breaks ground. And we’re able to ensure that a home’s design integrity is never compromised during the process of construction and assembly.
“To start we deconstruct the entire building in our software, and redraw it as the architect envisioned,” says Tony Tersigni, the design manager at H+ME Technology. “In doing so, we can find any errors or pieces of missing information that can lead to unforeseen, expensive or time-consuming decisions on the building site.”
That means everything – the walls, beams, right down to the last nail – is in precisely the right location, and remains there. It’s a process that effectively eliminates onsite issues that arise causing work-arounds or the need to figure things out on the fly. Every single detail has been visualized ahead of time.
How is that done? With 3D Computer Animated Design (CAD) – and specifically some incredible software called Building Information Modeling (BIM). Traditional building design was largely reliant upon two-dimensional technical drawings. But BIM extends into 3D explorations of spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information and the quantities and properties of building components. There’s plenty going on (think: literally millions of calculations) in order to bring the complete home to life, visually.
After each measurement is calculated and tested in CAD, construction instructions are sent (with the push of a button) to our 200,000 sq-ft. manufacturing facility. That’s right: our ‘second’ build takes place in the controlled environment of a fully automated, state-of-the-art, factory where every floor and wall panel of a home is built a ‘second’ time with a virtual absence of errors.
“We’re sort of ‘extreme BIM’ because we need to know every nail location,” says Tony. “If our nail location is off by a millimetre, our machines will automatically stop until the location is addressed. It’s sort of the extreme, but that’s what we do.”
What does the twice-built approach mean to the people who live in our homes?
“The building is assembled onsite (sometimes within two to three days) with no compromises or deficiencies on how and when things get finished,” says Tony. “So you’ve got a home with stronger structural integrity, increased tolerances, improved ventilation and virtually no delays or errors in construction.”
That adherence to design impacts the home and its owners, and certainly those of us who have the honour to create it. “It’s amazing that we’re able to shed the light on some of the errors or omissions, and we sometimes think, ‘what would happen if that was built without us catching them?’,” says Tony. “And there’s always pride when you see something that you’ve worked on for months or a year come to fruition.”