How Big Data Can Improve Speculative Building Plans

iStock_000007206299MediumWhat would you say if we told you that it’s possible to design a house with big data? It’s true, and these so-called “house of clicks” are definitely going to make a huge impact.

If you haven’t heard of “house of clicks” yet check out this earlier post on Smallman Construction.

A Swedish property site called Hemnet hired an architect to design a house based on consumer preferences. Thanks to big data, the company analyzed the most popular amenities in a home, such as large master suites, split floor plans and walk-in closets, and designed a floor plan using these features.

In Sweden, of course, the “house of clicks” turned out to be relatively small, efficient and modern. However, an American-style “house of clicks” (if there was one) is exactly the opposite. Americans like large homes, that have tons of amenities and floor space, and tend not to be efficient at all (hopefully, that will change in the future).

The question remains: What does all of this have to do with speculative building and how can it help?

Big Data Strengthens Speculative Building                              

If you work in the industry, then you already know speculative building, or “spec building,” has to do with creating a building or home with the intention of putting it right on the market. The idea is to leverage current demand, to create something that will sell sooner than later.

The problem is, going in blind and building a structure you believe will be in high demand could end in disaster. There’s always the possibility you were wrong to begin with or market demands will shift before you’re done.

Worse yet, consumers have radically different demands. Some are more concerned with having a large walk-in closet, while others want more than one bathroom.

So, how do you go about designing and building a residence that ticks all the boxes — on a list of demands — for as many people as possible? The answer is big data.

What Big Data Does

Data and information — like the kind Hemnet and Houseplans collect — can be used to design a structure that adheres to consumer preferences. Imagine knowing beforehand, before you even begin building, exactly what your customers want.

Speculative building very much relies on the adage “build it and they will come,” but at the end of the day there are no guarantees. When you leverage big data to create a “house of clicks” or any structure using consumer preferences, you’re giving consumers exactly what they want. That means they’re more likely to buy in.

The Swedish property Hemnet designed was created after the company analyzed more than 200 million clicks across 86,000 homes. Then two architects, Bolle Tham and Martin Videgård, used that data to create “the country’s statistically most sought after home.”

Take the Guesswork Out of Speculative Building

Building homes and structures to a particular demand can be tricky. Big data can eliminate most of the guesswork. Not to mention, when all is said and done, you’re more likely to end up with a home or residence consumers will be clamoring over.

It’s not just in the home industry, either; commercial and industrial structures fit into the equation too. Some companies, like Rob Mericle’s Ready to Go! program, have already begun working toward this end. Big data can be leveraged to create any type of building, and the finished project is often more efficient and better at meeting demands.

Remember that the next time you sit down to create plans for spec building projects. There’s a more reliable way to anticipate consumer and business demands — big data.


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