Written by Ian Hintze, owner Brayjam Construction
Brayjam Construction is a family-owned and operated residential design and construction firm located in New York state.
Over the past decade of building out residential projects, it became apparent to us that most clients can’t fully comprehend a design until the project is actually built. As most contractors know, the difficulty homeowners have understanding design documents and how they translate to a completed project often result in costly change orders and delay, and many times results in a contentious situation between contractor and client.
We at Brayjam are constantly looking for ways to protect the client from schedule delays and busting their budget. It’s important to understand that schedule delays hurt the contractor as well, preventing them from moving on to the next project. Delays can also damage the relationship with the client, impacting the prospect of future job opportunities.
For the benefit of our clients, Brayjam Construction is changing the way we do business – and our clients are already reaping the benefits.
With Autodesk Revit and virtual reality (VR) technology, Brayjam has been able to create a service which places our client inside their new or renovated home while it’s still in the planning stages. We put our client into the digital world to offer them a virtual feel of the layout, so that they can make changes and decisions about the design prior to anything being built.
Our clients can walk around their new kitchen to fully grasp how the space will function in the context of the real world, before the renovation begins. They then can tweak the locations of the appliances or cabinetry without incurring any additional cost. They walk up the staircase, open the doors and see what will really fit into those closets. They walk around the bed to verify that the space allotted for their armoire really works.
With Revit as the backbone of the design experience, the client and designer can check the locations and function of all the windows, doors, and hallways. We can even change the size of the kitchen table, or change the tile size and color in the bathrooms. The options are endless, which was by design, to give the client all the tools necessary to finalize their choices.
The democratization of technology means Brayjam’s six-person team is now capable of providing a service which once upon a time only the largest companies were capable of offering to their large customers. As a small team of six we are embracing this evolution of the industry by adopting technology to supplement our work.
One client asked us to do an entire home rebuild and has already requested changes to the staircase, the size of the kitchen, and the size of the second floor hallway; all as a result of being able to “feel” the space. Had these changes been made later in construction, they would’ve resulted in change orders in excess of $13,000.00, not to mention the effects on the building schedule. Making decisions before we put the first shovel in the ground saves time. For example, we saved our client approximately three weeks because the customer was able to make definitive decisions with regards to the siding. Originally, the client wanted to wait to order because he wanted to compare the siding while on site. Thanks to the virtual reality experience, he was able to confidently choose his siding.
$13,000 to a home owner is a big deal, and getting back into their home three weeks early – a home their family has waited many months or a year to call “home” again – is priceless. We started with Revit and finished with the appreciation of our client. Revit is truly the gateway for anyone serious about building the homes of their customers’ dreams.
The simple lesson: a contractor of any size should be unafraid of trying technology, including Revit and VR. Today, Brayjam is letting families live in their homes before they are built.