Whole Value: How Mosaic Preserves the Craft of Homebuilding While Introducing Tech-Enabled Efficiency

Salman Ahmad   •   10/09/2020
Whole Value: How Mosaic Preserves the Craft of Homebuilding While Introducing Tech-Enabled Efficiency

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

-Aristotle

It has been said that every company today is a technology company. However, the homebuilding space has not yet enjoyed its technological revolution that many other industries have experienced. To date, most solutions have focused on optimizing specific business processes surrounding homebuilding like invoicing or accounting. More broadly, offsite building has seen innovation in prefabricated and modular construction, a boon for applications like dense urban construction, hospital construction and industrial construction. While construction efficiencies are being realized at micro and macro levels, none are particularly compelling to homebuilding and we still lack a silver bullet for the entire industry.

At Mosaic, we deliver a turnkey technology solution that makes homebuilding better and are guided by three philosophies in our approach: 

  • Capital: Our solution must be CapEx light. Homebuilding is cyclical. We cannot be investing billions of dollars in factories. 

  • Design: Our solution must be elastic. We cannot tie our processes to the design and development cycle. Entitlements take a long time. We do not want to force homebuilders to have to change their products. We want to be able to deliver efficiencies on existing approved designs. We also do not want to force homebuilders into using our methodology that locks them into using us or our processes. We want them to still be able to take the drawings to another contractor to build. 

  • Distribution: Our solution must be easily adoptable. We want to leverage the existing workforce for onsite construction, not replace it and rely on factories far away. Over the past 50 years there has been huge investment in construction capacity by tens of thousands of small contractors. Nearly 1.7 million people are employed in the construction trades. Even with robots and automation, this cannot be easily dismissed. 

By adhering to these principles, we are building a flexible technology stack that allows room to react to the market, accommodate customer preferences, upskill existing workers and bring on new workers. 

How are we doing this?  We analyze construction drawings before construction starts to clarify exactly what needs to be done. We generate lot-specific construction worksheets (“mini” versions of the full plans) that highlight the essential information with additional data to eliminate ambiguity. This normally would be a huge lift to generate for every house in even modest-sized housing developments, but we leverage a programming system that automates the lift for us. 

Right now, we have been doing this for framing. The data and automation has not only made the process clearer for workers, it has reduced waste and costs. We plan to build on this success and apply the technology to other trades, like HVAC, electrical and plumbing.  

In addition to making each trade more efficient, we also want to solve the logistics issue of getting everyone to show up at the same place at the same time. Trying to coordinate each piece of the house for delivery and assembly on site is a logistical nightmare, with ample opportunity for components and labor to be delayed. We are building predictive models and other data logging solutions to make this process more reliable and efficient.

By taking a holistic approach, we are getting people to the site when they’re needed, and we are making them more efficient when they are there. We’re able to do this by augmenting existing workforce, being CapEx light, and not requiring our homebuilding partners to change their designs.

Solving the whole problem is more valuable than solving the parts.