Prescient uses its system to revolutionize the building environment
By: Staci Davidson
Prescient’s vision is simple: attainable housing for all. This is worthy of admiration, and the way Prescient operates, the vision is quite within reach. With its embrace of innovative technology and a unique building platform, Prescient is delivering a high level of quality, but also increased efficiency and reduced costs for its contractor partners. As a result, the company continues to build toward its exemplary vision.
“Our mission is to make the entire process from planning to designing to manufacturing to building so much more efficient,” CMO Rich Pond explains. “Our role is to make all of our partners more efficient and more profitable, and in the multifamily environment, we can provide a library of ‘smart plans’ that can be configured in multiple ways to fit nearly every site. This allows the Architect and Design team to focus more on areas that focus on customer experience, such as feature elements and amenity spaces, while increasing margins.”
Pond notes Prescient’s head of design, Todd Meckley, came from a national architecture firm that designed and built with Prescient system. Todd’s professional exposure and resulting ease of integration to solve market pain points, made him want to join the revolution. This is how most people feel when they hear about the company’s technology and approach, and Prescient continues to amass successes throughout the country.
Prescient uses a digital design/build system and its robust library of standardized architectural drawings and products to create project drawings. Team members from all disciplines provide input before the drawings are finalized, and the proprietary software aligns structural and architectural design to create a digital replica of the fully engineered structure. This process increases efficiencies in construction, mitigates risk and significantly reduces the amount of change orders.
The project specifications are then systemically communicated from CAD to CAM, recycled galvanized steel coil is cold-formed into uniform and exact standardized components.
Each piece is precision-welded with tolerances of 1/32 of an inch and coded with its structural location, ensuring high levels of productivity and just-in-time delivery to the site. Prescient’s structural components are manufactured under controlled conditions, bundled, transported and delivered to the site, where the fabricated components are then assembled onsite as assigned by the digital thread. The company’s contractor partners have worked at rates of more than 20,000 square feet per week with 32 to 36 workers. This results in buildings that are non-combustible, seismic-resistant, able to withstand high wind velocities in hurricane and tornado regions, and are resistant to mold and termites.
“We want to revolutionize the building environment for the benefit of our partners,” Pond says. “We have an open platform that people can leverage to make their business more efficient. We show them the future and challenge their teams to build that fast. Our sites are very clean and inventory is dropped a day before it’s assembled. Construction doesn’t have to be a daily battle, it can be a more collaborative and transparent process.”
On Time, Lower Costs
Founded in 2012, Prescient has completed 40 buildings and more than 6.5 million square feet of space, and it has 24 more projects in design. Currently, the company is involved in the construction of the largest student housing development in the United States, which is also the largest Net Zero Energy community in the country at the University of California, Davis. This broke ground in February and is the company’s first project in a seismic zone. Prescient is approved to build a seismic structure up to 65 feet in height, or four stories, but it is working toward the 12-story International Code Council certification. Pond explains the company has collected more than 500 million data points
in 842 tests and spent 15,000 manhours of engineering to get its system certified.
“Our light gauge steel system is naturally ductile, lightweight and it’s all reinforced, so it stands up to all kinds of pressures and category five hurricane winds,” Pond says. “It’s very high quality.”
“At our Generation Atlanta project, we averaged assembling more than 20,000 square feet per week,” he adds. “That is really quick, and we’ve gotten a lot better at coordinating MEPs so they can go up as fast as we go. We’re also doing more planning upfront so we can finish a project earlier.”
The industry is taking notice of the many benefits Prescient’s system provides. The company worked with CBG Building Co. on the Generation Atlanta project, and CBG had so much success with that one that it is working with Prescient again for the UC Davis project. Prescient is designing five senior living projects for one developer, and Pond notes there are even more repeat clients. Prescient also has partnered with KONE elevators, which will be offered in all future Prescient projects, streamlining and integrating the traditional elevator design and installation process for commercial housing.
“The KONE structural components will be fully coordinated and installed while our building goes up, and that reduces up to 50 percent of the labor and time because elevators can take so long,” Pond says. “This strategic partnership makes it simpler and faster, and it’s a huge benefit to our general contractor partners to have elevators delivered on time at lower costs.”
Prescient was named Innovator of the Year by Construction Dive, and its Renaissance Downtown Lofts project in Denver was recognized as a finalist for Urban Land Institute’s 2019 Global Awards for Excellence and is a PCBC Gold Nugget 2019 Award of Merit Winner. The Lofts project also is notable because it reflects Prescient’s vision of attainable housing. The six-story apartment building is home to 100 residents and was developed by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to meet the needs of Denver’s homeless population. It looks like many other apartment developments in the city’s downtown area, and the city estimates the Lofts will save $2.9 million per year by providing supportive housing and proactive services.”
“Attainable housing for all is our motivation,” Pond stresses. “We see the ability to create much more efficient housing for so many people. The military and federal government have really responded to our system, and that is a big area of growth. We want to deliver top-quality, standardized units that are efficiently built. Top quality – not cheap – and delivered in a very collaborative, coordinated and efficient way.”