Gauging which tech tools help contractors the most

Procore has steadily increased its reach into the construction technology stack. It claims its software has been used on 1 million projects that represent …

Dive Brief:

  • A new data analytics and usage feature now allows contractors to see which technologies their workers and trade partners use the most on projects, providing a window into which solutions in construction’s evolving technology stack contribute most to project outcomes, Procore said.
  • Introducing App Management Metrics, the provider of construction management software said the feature shows users how third-party applications are being leveraged by workers, which can help companies make better decisions on technology buys in the future, as well as track outcomes by the tools that enabled them.
  • “The additional metrics give us a next step advantage to see who our power users are,” said Denise Balzer, database analyst at Birmingham, Alabama-based contractor Robins & Morton and Procore user, in a statement. That, in turn, allows her to “use this information to make more informed decisions regarding our tech stack management.”

Dive Insight:

The announcement comes as construction’s tech stack continues to grow, with onsite tools from reality capture and real-time BIM increasingly leveraged in the palm of contractors’ hands. That use on the jobsite has increased the need to easily integrate and feed the data they collect into larger solutions.

Indeed, Procore said it now has 250 third-party integrations and partners on its App Marketplace, which allows users to plug various point solutions into Procore’s overarching construction management platform. More than 40% of its customers use two or more integrations within its solution, the company said.

The App Management Metrics announcement also illustrates the increasing number of technologies entering the construction tech universe, and the need to tie them together in a systematic, organized way.

Kris Lengieza, Procore’s senior director, business development, said in a statement that not one tech can solve all of a contractor’s needs, but that Procore’s platform allows firms to connect software solutions on one core system.

Procore has steadily increased its reach into the construction technology stack. It claims its software has been used on 1 million projects that represent $1 trillion in construction volume.

This summer, the firm used daily log data from its application that tracks worker hours onsite to show that productivity levels within the construction industry had nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels. It also launched a construction focused jobs board to help workers and employers connect.

Before the novel coronavirus upended life and business this spring, Procore was circling an initial public offering with a reported valuation of $4 billion. But those plans were reportedly put on hold as markets recoiled during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S.

Affordable Housing Firm Must Retrofit Building In Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, NY — An affordable housing developer has settled federal lawsuits by agreeing to make retrofits at 71 rental buildings in the Bronx, …

Most of the buildings are in NYC; the two in Westchester are at 25 State Street in Ossining and 203 Gramatan Ave., Mount Vernon.

Prosecutors cited a recurring pattern of inaccessible conditions at Atlantic’s rental buildings, including excessively high thresholds at building entrances and entrances to common use areas, ramps that lack handrails on both sides, common use bathrooms that lack grab bars and pipe insulation, excessively high thresholds at entrances to individual apartments and within the apartments, and bathrooms in individual apartments that lack sufficient clear floor space for people who use wheelchairs. The company admitted in the court-ordered settlement stipulation that features in the common use areas of their buildings, as well as in their buildings’ apartment interiors, did not meet the specifications set forth in the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines.

Clevelanders react on social media with sadness to closing of Sokolowski’s University Inn

Unsurprisingly, many took to social media to express sadness over the closing of the award-winning family-owned restaurant, which began serving …

“After nearly 100 years in business, the Sokolowski Family has decided to list the property for sale,” owners Bernie, Mary, and Mike Sokolowski said in a joint statement to 3News announcing the move to sell the property. “We firmly believe that there is going to be a significant amount of interest in the iconic location. However, we are ready to reopen the business if a suitable deal and buyer are not forthcoming. We do feel that the time is right for our family to now enjoy the fruits of our labor. Our hope is that there is a buyer that will be eager to continue to use this landmark property in a form that does justice to its past.”

JERDE Announces a Global Slate of New Projects Showcasing Diverse Architectural Typologies

“We’ve always prided ourselves on finding creative design solutions to problems, no matter the typology, and the range of projects we are working on …

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Ultimate leisure and luxury awaits future residents and guests once Maryam Island is open – a hideaway in the center of natural beauty.

Maryam Island, Sharjah, UAE

Nestled in the center of Sharjah overlooking the Arabian Sea, Maryam Island is a 230,000 square meter site master planned by JERDE and currently under construction. The new site will offer mostly residential apartments complemented by retail outlets, four- and five-star hotels, waterfront food and beverage outlets, a relaxing 900-meter promenade, as well as a ‘souq’ and various facilities such as a spa, a fitness club, a swimming pool, and a children’s play area. Opportunities and offerings are provided for living, vacationing, socializing, conducting business, or simply carrying out the daily communal lifestyle. The island has been envisioned as a tightly packed, low scale environment of interwoven villages. This is the place in Sharjah where all communities can gather to exchange ideas, better understand and celebrate the cultural heritage of The Emirates.

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Currently under construction, JERDE creates a mixed-use project masterplan for Distrito Armida, attracting young professionals, families and business owners with a modern outlook and appreciation for urban living.

Distrito Armida, Monterrey, Mexico

With views of the iconic mountain skyline of Monterrey, JERDE’s latest masterplan was developed for Distrito Armida, a district situated in the south-eastern edges of San Pedro Garza Garcia known for its modern office offerings. To support these new offices, a full-spectrum community has been conceived in a space covering 25 hectares. The architectural studio has created a multi-phased mixed-use project design approach to support a fully serviced lifestyle. Phase one incudes an office tower and retail at the south end of the site which is currently under construction and set to open in 2021. Future phases include connection to an adjacent hospital and school, as well as residential towers that will open in a couple of years. Distrito Armida will attract young professionals, families and business owners with a modern outlook and appreciation for urban living.

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JERDE announces the development of Qiantan Cultural Center, the new connective cultural center at the epicenter of art, culture and creativity in Shanghai to open in 2023.

Qiantan Cultural Center, Shanghai, China

Ushering a new era of community and cultural exchange is Qiantan Cultural Centre, JERDE’s mixed-use project that builds on the heritage of Shanghai’s Pudong Districts. Currently under construction, the 2,240,000 square foot site includes the design of an urban ribbon that acts as a green belt to introduce nature into the projects and all of its connective elements, integrating the project’s 33-storey office and mid-rise hotel towers, cultural center and diverse retail offerings with the surrounding neighborhood. Within walking distance is the Huangpu River, and just upstream, the famed Shanghai Bund. The New Bund 31 will be the epicenter of art, culture, and creativity — a place that people feel naturally drawn to.

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Yet to proceed into the development stage, JERDE’s masterplan for Trinity Gardens allows for the infusion of visceral and organic energy as locals are encouraged to make their individual spirit shine through the neighborhood.

Trinity Gardens, Bucharest, Romania

To be developed over 35 hectares, JERDE has created a large-scale integrated mixed-use project masterplan for Trinity Gardens in Bucharest set to combine culture, shopping, entertainment, hotel, offices and residences. The district has been designed to breathe new life into the surrounding community while creating a new landmark within the city and country itself. Adjacent to the tranquil serene Herestrau Park and Lake, Trinity Gardens will be a natural complement that integrates nature into a vibrant and active destination, and a dynamic experiential environment — a new urban paradigm that brings man and nature together. Complemented by a promenade, central plaza, high-end fashion court, a retail arcade and a market hall, each space ensures that locals can bring their own individual spirit to infuse with the visceral and organic energy of the neighborhood.


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Background Information

About Paul Martinkovic

Paul Martinkovic has been with JERDE for 30 years and currently serves as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer and serves on the Board of Directors. He was instrumental in initiating, implementing and executing the founder ownership transfer to the new ownership structure in the firm in his previous position as Chief Financial Officer.

Since joining the firm in 1990, Paul has facilitated the Company’s transformation to meet the changing worldwide demand for design. This has included opening JERDE’s foreign offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Dubai, and Moscow. In addition to his duties as Chief Executive Officer, Paul is also responsible for JERDE’s global business development and marketing.

Paul is a plein air oil painter and accomplished guitarist. A Certified Management Accountant, Paul holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management from Pepperdine University and Masters of Business Administration/E-Business from the University of Phoenix.


JERDE is a visionary urban design studio creating signature places that deliver memorable experiences and attract more than a billion people each year. For 40 years, JERDE has pioneered the concept of “Placemaking” with more than 120 major projects on six continents. Headquartered in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, each JERDE client works closely with an equity partner to take a boutique, collaborative approach to the creative process of design and architecture. JERDE places attract people providing lasting social, cultural and economic value, spurring further investment and revitalization. JERDE is one of only a few architectural firms awarded six ULI Global Awards for Excellence in addition to many of the industry’s other highest honors and recognitions.

JERDE has designed mixed-use, hospitality, and retail destinations throughout the world including Langham Place in Hong Kong, Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, D-Cube City in Seoul, and more recently the Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay in Hainan, China, a MIPIM Asia Gold Award winner for Best Hotel & Tourism Development. In its home country of the United States, JERDE has designed well known sites such as Bellagio in Las Vegas, Pacific City in Huntington Beach, as well as the makeovers of the world famous Santa Monica Place and Fashion Island Malls.

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Forget Sustainable Construction—It’s Time for Sustainable Deconstruction

Elon Musk, whose Boring Company supplies infrastructure and tunnel construction services, announced in 2018 that he would be creating Lego-like …

Recently, architecture professor Marc Swackhamer and his business partner Blair Satterfield, co-founders of HouMinn, won Architect magazine’s R+D Award for their clever invention with a transparent name—Zippered Wood. Swackhamer, Chair of the Architecture Department at CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning, isn’t exactly interested in sustainable building. He’s interested in sustainable un-building.

collage of zippered wood being created
Once milled, the two unique halves of Zippered Wood are paired together. Photos courtesy of University of British Columbia, HiLo Lab, University of Colorado Denver, LoDo Lab, and HouMinn Practice.

Architecture and Abandonment

“As we think more cyclically and sustainably, we need to consider the existing building stock in a more critical way,” Swackhamer said. Many commercial buildings have a life cycle of about 10 years (think about strip malls and office parks, for example), and yet most architects approach their work as if it’s permanent. “Architects never think about how their buildings come down,” Swackhamer said. “There is no incentive to think about decay.”

But there should be. According to Swackhamer, the global building industry contributes more than 50% of greenhouse gases, once you factor in construction, operation, demolition, and transportation. One solution may be in the building material itself. Instead of sending vast amounts of materials from demolished buildings into landfills, what if we could build with destruction in mind? “If the buildings we design can provide the nutrients for future growth of other built environments, then we’re thinking much more critically about what we do,” Swackhamer said.

Zippered Wood

With adaptive reuse in mind, Swackhamer, Satterfield, and their respective design labs, which are housed at the universities where they each teach—the University of Colorado Denver and the University of British Columbia (UBC)—invented zippered wood. The idea was to take the simple 2×4 and turn it into something complex and beautiful.

Zippered Wood converts short lengths of waste 2x4s into long, curved posts and beams using only precise geometry. One segment of wood has a series of complex cuts that fits perfectly into the cut design on another piece. “The modified boards are ‘zipped’ together, forcing each other into predictably bent 2×4,” states the HiLo Lab at UBC, who has joined forces with CU Denver’s recently founded LoDo Lab. LoDo and HiLo are academic research labs where Swackhamer and Satterfield collaborate with students to create energy-efficient construction methods.

“We developed an algorithm where we can CNC-route into wood, and we can fashion that into any shape,” Swackhamer explains. CNC router stands for computer numerical control router, which is a computer-controlled machine that cuts wood (or other materials). One of the first projects to employ zippered wood was the Zippered Pavilion built on the University of British Columbia campus, which was completed in 2019 using repurposed timber. A complex construction of curved arches, the Zippered Pavilion highlights how lowly materials can be transformed into high art.

But Zippered Wood also has basic construction applications that save energy and reduce waste. “It could be used for thicker party walls or wider stud walls,” Swackhamer said. “We’ve calculated that by crisscrossing 2×4 zippered studs, instead of using standard 2x8s, 2x10s, or 2x12s, you could save as much as 300% in overall volume of wood used. Plus the wall, in such a scenario, is already hollow in the middle and doesn’t need to be bored out with drills and jigsaws after the wall has been erected, thus presenting labor savings. You wouldn’t see the zippered members in this case: they would be buried behind cladding and drywall, but the material and labor economies would be significant.”

zippered pavilion
The Zippered Pavilion is constructed of Zippered Wood technology, which uses short lengths of waste 2x4s.

Hypernatural, Geodesign, and Bioengineering

Swackhamer’s interest in sustainable design grew from research he conducted for his book Hypernatural: Architecture’s New Relationship with Nature, which he co-wrote with Blaine Brownell. Hypernatural provides an overview of projects by architects, designers, and scientists who work with nature through representation or engagement. While representative designs take inspiration from natural forms, “engagement involved direct interaction with natural substances—including living organisms—to create new designs,” the book states. Sometimes labeled geodesign or bioengineering, the engagement projects covered in Hypernatural include “bio bricks made by the calcifying processes of bacteria or biophotovoltaics that employ living algae to harness solar energy.”

detail and drawing of zippered pavilion
The Zippered Pavilion, which is a collaboration between the HiLo Lab, HouMinn, and LoDo Lab, uses Zippered Wood, which recently won Architect magazine’s R+D Award.

Swackhamer’s Zippered Wood is just one of many building products being created from abandoned materials. K-Briq, which was invented by Gabriela Medero, a professor of Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University, and engineer Sam Chapman, turns construction and demolition waste into bricks. The K-Briqs combine crushed bricks, gravel, sand, and plasterboard with water, a binder, and recycled pigments. The molded K-Briqs not only reuse construction waste. They also avoid problems associated with traditional bricks: clay mining, which ruins the land’s topsoil; and kiln baking, which contributes to climate change due to the fossil fuels used to heat ovens.

Elon Musk, whose Boring Company supplies infrastructure and tunnel construction services, announced in 2018 that he would be creating Lego-like bricks from discarded rock (see a video of a Boring Company engineer explaining the bricks). These materials illustrate that people are trying to change the construction industry in fundamental ways.

The Cows Are the Subcontractors

Other projects that Swackhamer admires go further than simply repurposing waste material. For example, Truffle House by Ensamble Studio in Spain was built by stacking hay bales and spraying self-reinforcing concrete on top. To finish the structure, “Herds of cows ate the hay from underneath,” Swackhamer said. “One of the biggest contributors to waste is formwork; the formwork was destroyed by the cows … The cows are the subcontractors,” he added.

The Truffle House turns construction into a symbiotic relationship with nature. The cows do what they want to do anyway—eat hay—and that simple act carves out the house structure. “I’m really interested in this idea that architecture may have a built-in obsolescence,” Swackhamer said, “and at a certain point it becomes subservient.”

Video showing the building process of Truffle House, which involves formwork made from hay bales that gets eaten by cows.

Buildings as Life Cycles

What Swackhamer is interested in requires a paradigm shift in architecture. It means that architects don’t build one thing and then move on to the next. It asks architects to imagine what kind of life their buildings can create once they are no longer usable.

“It’s definitely fair to say that furniture and interior designers have been thinking about this for a long time,” Swackhamer said. Now it’s time for architects and students “to think about materials that have a certain behavior or life cycle that allows them to be reused … to think about the next group of people and how they will use it.”