Building information modeling (or BIM) still holds great promise to improve efficiencies across the AEC industry. Blockchain technologies, as we noted in a recent article here at AEC Labs, could be a big part of that. But even right now BIM technologies are improving and being iterated on by construction industry startups.
To that end, the data-driven BIM startup Invicara recently announced that it has sold a $10 million minority stake in its business to the Dublin, Ireland-based building company Kingspan. “While BIM has proven its value in helping improve project team communication and coordination, it hasn’t yet lived up to its promise for owners that need data or manufacturers that could collaborate with clients,” the company says.
About Invicara’s core product: BIM Assure.
Invicara calls itself a data platform for the entire life cycle of a building – from design and development to construction and operations. The company uses BIM as a foundation to associate various data sources and documents to a structure’s individual components. During design and construction, its flagship product (called BIM Assure) can verify that the model’s data is accurate and satisfies the owner’s program requirements. During construction, more data is collected that is eventually used to feed into the operations phase after completion, where the product offers a “digital building manual.”
The company’s goal is for this “manual” to essentially become a building’s “digital twin,” which owners and their design, construction, and operations teams can use to access data and information seamlessly. “Digital buildings can support project team coordination and give owners unprecedented access to models and data, and help manufacturers collaborate with partners, designers, and clients,” Invicara says.
Kingspan’s director of digital transformation – who will join Invicara’s board in connection with the transaction – called Invicara’s product a “game-changer.” The company thinks it can use the tool to give customers a better experience with more products and services that are tailored to their specific needs as communicated by the digital model.
In addition to operations in Singapore and Michigan, Invicara also has a 40-employee base in Dublin. Its BIM Assure product is used by organizations that include investors Irish Property Unit Trust, Trinity College Dublin, and developer Ballymore Group. Kingspan makes insulation boards and products, flooring and other building materials, with operations in Ireland, Britain, Europe, the Americas, and Australia.
Some analysis from AEC Labs.
It’s interesting how an industry player has taken an investment position in a construction industry tech startup. Similar to how construction contractors realized that they needed a seat at the table in P3 and project finance deals, Kingspan’s investment portends other similar transactions in 2018 or more construction industry stakeholders creating investment arms or other incubators in-house in order to participate in the AEC industry’s digital transformation.