Coding Construction

Mosaic has developed a package of construction technologies to make the building process much more efficient.

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Introduction

Based on several years of research, we have developed a programming system that allows us to program the construction of buildings — combining computational steps (performed by computers) with physical steps (performed by human beings). Using this programming system, we can write code that operates in physical (not just digital) reality.

We use this programming system to automate and monitor every part of the construction process: from planning, to purchasing, to supply chain management, to quality control, to accounting, to building itself. By using code to coordinate construction’s many complexities, we can make the building process smoother and more efficient.

Furthermore, by using code to specify and describe the steps that go into building a house, we make it easier for unskilled workers to acquire new skills. This “learn as you go” approach eases the challenge of finding previously skilled labor, allowing us to quickly spin up new teams as needed.

By bringing the philosophy of computer science to the process of construction, we can introduce the benefits of modularity, reusability, scalability, portability, profiling, automation, and more.

Key Components

Workspaces

Workspaces are the primary hubs for all people and projects. They provide a “dashboard” view of every part of the construction process — including scheduling, budgeting, purchasing, invoicing, messaging, workforce management, workflow deployment, tool and material allocation, home sales, and personal profiles.

Workflows

Workflows are the orchestration engines of our projects. Workflows describe and coordinate the many nested processes at play in a given project — dispatching instructions to people and machines at the appropriate moments, and dynamically adjusting and rescheduling as needed.

Worksheets

Worksheets are simple step-by-step illustrated instructions, reminiscent of friendly IKEA or LEGO instruction booklets. They are generated automatically from the complicated blueprints that are so ubiquitous (yet problematically confusing) in construction today. Worksheets are personalized for each individual worker, created on the fly, and printed on sheets of 11x17 paper for easy reference on site. They bring great improvements in clarity, efficiency, budget, and worker morale.

Workloads

Workloads are computational steps performed by machines. They include such things as mapping, charting, profiling, budgeting, optimizing, messaging, error checking, and computer vision. Using Workloads, we can intermix computational steps with physical steps as part of a Workflow.

Workforms

Workforms are manual “data entry” routines. They include such things as budgeting, purchasing, invoicing, scheduling, messaging, allocating tools and materials, and quality control. Certain Workforms are handled in the “back office,” while others are handled on site using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Worksites

Worksites are the mobile offices at every Mosaic project. They are typically situated in the back of a box truck, and offer a station for printing Worksheets, completing Workforms, and checking Workflows. They also provide a gathering point for workers on site.

Worklists

Worklists are personalized queues for each worker, accessible by smartphone. They are dynamically generated and adjusted based on currently available work, the worker’s mastered skills, and geographic proximity. Worklists provide a distributed messaging system for dispatching instructions, and (using the phone’s camera) a simple mechanism for scanning QR codes to signal the status of a Worksheet. The phone’s camera can also be used to assist with information clarification and quality control.