Innowacje w branży budowlanej przyspieszą rozwój smart city | Smart City Navigators Podcast
Welcome to Smart City Navigators, a podcast about innovation, sustainability and the latest technologies. This podcast is created for you by NaviParking. Piotr Przybysz has been involved with the construction industry since he was a young boy. He has worked on both the general contractor and investor sides of the construction industry.
It has always frustrated him that most of the things had to be done in analog, so he decided to change that. This is how the idea for the BinderLess platform was born. From the beginning it was designed for engineers working on construction projects. Today, he is working full time to develop a startup, and seeking to add his own contribution to the digitization of the industry.
Let's welcome Piotr Przybysz to the latest episode of the Smart City Navigators podcast. - Hello, Piotr! - Hi, hi! For the beginning: how are you doing? There is a lot going on. Creating a startup is a fast-paced adventure and agile as well, because we are constantly planning and verifying if it is going in the right direction. Of course, I hope you are heading in the right direction.
Every week we see that we are moving forward, getting more and more customers and we are generally engaged in digitizing the construction industry. And this is quite an interesting topic. A topic, so to speak, not really known, not really popular. But it's cool that you're with us today to bring the topic closer. Apropos of the construction industry, as for the construction industry, especially like you and your organization: how to implement new technologies? Well, in general, the implementation itself we started with the verification of the problem, because you can create a problem yourself and look for a solution to it.
You can also spot the problem and then verify if this problem occurs only with us. I happen to come from the construction industry, I have worked in many cross sections of this profession from a worker on a construction site to the management and supervision of the investment from the investor's side. And I noticed that, as probably here you listeners will also agree with me, the biggest problem among people is communication. And the same problem is precisely in the construction industry. I noticed this problem and the moment my circle of friends worked in startups, in Google for Startups, and for them it was something normal that when they see a problem, they make a solution. That's how they told me about this situation, then I concluded that I can answer the problems that many engineers face every day.
And so BinderLess was created. The history of this is much longer, but it mainly derives the communication problem from the fact that more than 60% people in the construction industry are 50+ and us, as the new generation, we need to help them somehow with the transition to the digital world. Well, yes, because when I think of the construction industry, I, as such a layman, would rather not connect it to any of some technological, digital solutions. On the other hand, you do combine these things. Exactly. There, everything, as you know, emails work, but emails are often individual tracks that get lost after the entire investment is completed.
That is, this is the data we don't use. This is our loss. For us as investors on facilities, if we do not process data during the investment, then we can't use them to maintain the building. And at a time when data shows that 94% of the information is not digitally processed, then we do not have this data.
That is, these data is in a paper form. In the minds of many people who work. These are unspoken words on some emails, phone calls. On the site there's a problem that a great many companies are merging. Their common task is to build something that people will later use.
So the moment they build it, as soon as possible, they want to get away from there and go to the next project. And the moment someone is an investor or user, they would need to be passed all the know-how that was worked out by the industry specialists in the course of their investments. And how to communicate it? That's right. Create a digital tool that will record time, documents, history and will be linked to new technologies. That is, collecting such data suppose for, say, a developer. Later, who can you pass this this data on? To the person, company or individual who uses the entire building.
Well, because it is related to technical reviews, when we want to replace anything. That would be cool if we had a dataset: we want to replace a window, we should know what kind of window it is. So thanks to OCR technology we can search many datasets to find what we are looking for.
Our main task is to digitize the workflow of the investment. In a nutshell we plug in the technologies so that those working on the site don't have the problem of transitioning from the everyday to the digital world. That's where we started. Customers told us: "Piotrek, it can't be an extra job. It has to help us." Do you work with large developers, large investors, with small developers, or with individual people building their houses? We focus on the B2B market. We do not focus on individual customers who build single-family homes, because, it is difficult to manage one-person companies, like there's someone who come to lay tiles.
They want to do their job and go home. It is very difficult. We focus more on projects that are above one million, because we also want to educate this industry that a project doesn't have to be 100 million to use a digital tool.
We are just working with the clients, the replacement investors. These are also the kind of entities that support investor, because they have extensive experience in running investments. We're giving them a tool that improves their service quality because it's digital.
We also work with investors, who then use these buildings. We provide them with digital tools, some sort of a platform that encompasses it all. They do everything from a computer.
It's enough to have the Internet connection to see what's going on at the construction site all the time, whether people are fulfilling their responsibilities. When you have a broad decision-making process, there's a great deal of information that you have to process during the day on the site, because everything changes and they say that it is impossible to plan anything. But thanks to the fact that we have a plan that is changing, it is easier for us to change this plan all the time.
I do it directly from my computer, from the browser and we also respond a little to the pandemic: you don't have to drive six hours to get one signature. This is a tangible thing. With out solution can get an answer in 30 minutes. You inform someone or get a notification, they log in and check what you really need and make a decision. Well, and because people can be easily added to the decision-making process, then the overwhelm among decision-makers is smaller.
Because if we make a decision, then we are afraid that if we didn't ask someone from the sanitation industry, we take all the risk on ourselves. Later the sanitation industry comes and say that something is not ok, then we have a very large loss and cost. Or, for example firefighters will come and say: "Hello, something is wrong with this building" and the investment is delayed. Exactly. We want to respond to it to reduce the likelihood of delays, because these are very large penalties for the general contractor. The guilt for that situations, I think, 99%, lies in the middle, that both the investor was at fault and the inspector and general contractor were at fault.
It's hard to prove it later in the court. And besides, everyone wants to make an investment, make money or use it, so no one want to fight around it. Then we are still connected by a guarantee, where this building is operated. So thesemanagerial relationships are very difficult to both manage big money, manage a general contractor and maintain some reasonably normal relations, because for the next two years this is a short relationship, also the warranty is still in effect at that time.
Ok, Piotr, then say, please: why exactly do you bet on digitization, why is it such an important element? We can also see for ourselves that digitization of the company raises the efficiency and dynamics of the whole team, because it allows us to adapt to current needs. Every business must... Every business after a few years is a new business.
There are no equal cases, because if someone thinks they're going to do the same thing, this company probably ceased to exist. We noted in the reports, apropos of this digitization and productivity growth rate of the industry, that it is one of the least digitized area and since the last 20 years this indicator has increased by 1%. It's a very large niche, and it's related to the fact that investments start and end, every building is given away and another one is made.
To manage this data and this building so that they are connected, this is what is involved in the smart city concept. When you do it, you have to plan it comprehensively to make the systems communicate with each other. That's what I'm thinking now, because there is such a perception that, for example developer builds a building, then there are two years of warranty and the developer cuts off from this project and have nothing to do with it anymore. What incentive is there here on your part for investors, who, at the stage of construction, should have somewhere in the back of their minds to transfer the digitized data to the future building manager? All of that is related to the know-how of the people who are building the facility. These are specialists of the industry, whether it's sanitary, or electrical one, the pharmaceutical industry, there are validation departments and these are very smart people in their fields.
The role of any manager should be to extract as much information as possible from them when they're available, because we know they will go on to the next project, then they won't have much time for us, because they will be focused on something else at that time. So if we give them a tool, it could be a digital notebook to write down all the knowledge and know-how they produced during the investment, this know-how remains with the investor and they can manage it. We are in the XXI century and we know that data is valuable.
Only via our platform we help process the data, so they can be used, because the data itself doesn't give us anything. - It's true. - The investor should think while planning and implementing to incorporate digital tools, because only through this can manage the facility after the warranty is over.
Well, because there is still this warranty period, when we have the completion of construction, and a handover for use. The general contractor is generally leaving the construction site. The user is already starting to become familiar with the system. If there's industry, then production begins. And for these two years there is a time when if anything happens to the system it is the general contractor who supports the investor.
And that moment when you dispose of people for the areas is difficult, because these are new things. You must have new positions, hire people there, And they are often included only at the end: "There you have it, this is your new project, you will manage it." "Great, boss, but what am I supposed to do?" And then he says: "See, this is executive documentation", because executive documentation comes out of the construction law that must be handed over with the completion of the investment.
This is also written in the contract. This is passed in binders or in a pendrive. Imagine you have a lot of folders. A pendrive is cool because you can digitally manage it, arrange it for yourself. But you also get a whole room of documentation, divided into branches. When you want to modify something, it becomes difficult.
It also depends on your relationship with that general contractor. If you have a good relationship and the inspectors did their job properly, then this documentation is of higher quality. It's more thorough, arranged neatly, all the information is contained in this documentation.
Well, and if this control of inspectors was poor, you may not have most data. The construction industry used to be very difficult and a lot of things were done, you could say, behind the scenes. And by giving digital processes, we can see it in real time: who's working, who's not working and how they're performing their duties. At the end of the day, if we are investors, we want that let's say, January 1st, our facility was built, so we could earn money on it. In that case, how to estimate the value of the digital data? It can be calculated through the time saved by people.
We made ourselves such a calculator to calculate the number of applications that are processed on investments and we calculated that if we saved 3 minutes on every paper, the implementation of such a platform is saving the price of human labor. Especially since the worth of everything is rising. The reports of EUBIM of Task Group say, that by implementing digital tools, a company could save up to 15-25%. On the European market at a time when 10% means 130 billion euros, then we can calculate ourselves the scale of savings here. The construction industry means a lot of money and it's not easy to invest in digital tools, because there're some prejudice against them, that they are heavy, that this is another SAP and they operate with the old rules.
In fact, one mistake on the site pays for all the software. Because money is big and the worth of materials is increasing all the time, only the sheer acceptance prolongs the process. If you produce chocolate bars, how big is your loss if you extend the investment by one day? How many bars can be produced in one day? A lot, and you don't make money. And there's a problem.
So you can easily calculate it for yourself, but this is often an individual calculation that is made internally: how much does one day of delay cost us? How much is the workforce? At the end of the day the investor pays for all the people. Despite the fact that the general contractor pays its people, the investor pays for the entire contract anyway. The end customer doesn't care what happens there during the process, they just want to get the finished product. Exactly. It's a bit of a misguided approach sometimes that we say we took an experienced company to build it for us and that's it. But that is the whole role of the investor.
At a time when they don't want to get too heavily involved in the project, then they take a consulting entity that is called a substitute investor and within this substitute investor is a set of the inspectors and the manager of the entire contract, which is sort of the right hand of the investor to run all the councils, collect all the documents, keep an eye on the general contractor. Then there are less tasks for the investor, that they don't have to have their own inspectors. So these are the two types of supporting personas. We said at the very beginning, that the construction industry thinks in a bit oldschool, so to speak, outdated manner. Of course, you change that with your actions. How does the construction industry, entering a new digital world, relate to the idea of a smart city? Who creates smart scities? These are new people who want to create a new world, in a different way.
They want to live and manage the cities differently. My mission in the BinderLess startup is to enable young people who enter the construction industry, fulfill themselves and work. They are used to fast-paced work, dynamic work and that allows them to grow. Because that's the problem, I think in most professions, why are young people changing their job? Because they continue to work the way they worked before.
The moment we relate this to a smart city, we are talking about a long process. It's hard to create a city in one day or one year. This is a long, big strategy to implement the system. Building a smart city, already at the conceptual stage we plan what systems are going to communicate with each other. BinderLess itself was created after the construction of a smart city investment, where I was responsible for the digitization of urban transportation.
The concept was to increase the quality of urban transportation and also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, to use more buses by people than cars. And our task was to connect fiber-optic traffic lights which means everything what we have at the intersections, so that it can be in one place: all the information about what is happening at a particular intersection, when cars are passing. In transport it's called bar diagrams, i.e. showing when it's green, when it's orange, yellow, red. And we combined it with buses. Each bus received an on-board computer that communicated to that intersection where it is. And I say: "I am
arriving at this intersection." Now I'm telling it in simple words, like computers talk to each other. They say to the intersection: "I am four minutes from you, in six minutes I should be at the bus stop." Based on a mathematical algorithm, I am able to calculate that I will be late.
And this bus tells to this intersection: "If you can, steer the street lights for me, so that I could arrive to the bus stop sooner. This intersection is trying to shorten the green light on the opposite side and extend or make the green light faster where the bus is going. This bus can also communicate: "I will turn right, left, I will go straight" and we manage it dynamically, no one has to do it for us. It is important that we have...
Let's also notice that it's the best when buses arrive to bus stops on time. Not too early, not too late. I think this is a problem for all people who ride buses on a daily basis. And here I am sending warm greetings to all the drivers who transport us in Warsaw! When we think about a smart city, we need to think in advance: what we are going to link together and how it can exchange data. The moment we start this investment, we find a contractor who will connect these systems for us, we must give him a digital tool to produce new data, to track the changes in the investment.
You probably recall situations when someone comes to your house to renovate the bathroom and they ask: "Who messed it up like that before?" The classic situation. Well, maybe it was impossible to do otherwise at the time, wasn't it? And the moment we've produced the data, they can see: it's like this, because here is a pipe and suchlike. The tiles are not taken away entirely, they know what to take into account. Such a professional has projects, too.
If you don't have projects, you have nothing. Imagine you have a facility that was built five years ago. None of the people there work anymore. Probably if we wanted some statistics,
we would see how many years people work in such professions and then they change because they want to grow. We offer an employee who will always be faithful to us and remain digital. Super. I like this smart city project in Włocławek. It's interesting.
What is the idea of a smart city? Not only as people often claim that these are cameras in the city and it is only general digitization or even surveillance, but these are tools to improve people's lives in their city. Exactly, this is streamlining the processes I can tell you some facts that we may not even know that they can affect our daily lives. Let's take an example: we take the bus and we want to get to place B. We don't know whether to bike or walk there. It would be nice if someone checked the weather for us, because it could tell whether the the nearest place with bicycles has any bicycle at all, that you should take this bike and go to place B, so that you travel before the rain comes. The same is with the parking lots.
To manage parking lots we also need to share data on the occupancy rate. Google also gives a lot of such information on the roads. In Włocławek, we have implemented technology from Switzerland, which measured the number of vehicles entering the city and thus it was known where we have narrow passages for the cars. Sometimes I saw students from the Technical University that were standing on the street and counting how many vehicles pass a particular road. We did it digitally and it measured the speed of the vehicle, type of vehicle, whether it was a bicycle, car or a truck. It was wireless and powered by a PV panel, it had a SIM card connected to the cloud, and motion sensors, PIR detectors.
They were sending information to the system. There can be lots of such systems. We are only limited by our imagination and communication skills.
We had to get along with the Swiss. We worked with a Czech company (that had a tool to integrate systems), and with companies from Włocławek that supported us to build 14 kilometers of optical fiber cables in the city. Super! Well, and here we return to the beginning of our conversation. You yourself said at the very beginning that the most important thing is communication, and this is what you would like to improve. Exactly. Whether it is communication about a construction investment, between companies, or whether it is, for example digital communication between certain devices.
It's cool that you present something like this as a new version of reality, that is already manifesting itself in the world. Actually the old world is already obsolete, so to speak. Yes. We try to use the latest technologies, which are being
updated. We don't want to reinvent the wheel either. We integrate, for example, with Google's OCR which helps us search documents and understand how the computer understands them. Just like a human eye. is, if it is looking at the photo, and in the picture are some letters, they form sentences for it, so it writes it down in a form of a text. If we didn't have OCR, that would be just file seen by it as a photo. In the future we can use it, for example, to measure a carbon footprint at a given facility.
If we integrated with another startup that measures transportation at the facility and the materials that arrive and the quantities of these materials ordered, the combination of these two systems we can read the approved materials. Every material on the site must be approved: floor, bricks, wires. This is approved by inspectors with a great deal of knowledge and we support them in our platform. There you can read how much carbon dioxide the material has in production. Well, because it also creates a question, why we should choose a particular contractor. Today it looks like this: something is sold 10 PLN cheaper, so we order it from another part of Poland.
It arrives and we don't wonder why the road took so long. For us it is a virtual thing that will come to us and it is 10 PLN cheaper. If you multiply this 100 times, it's 1,000 PLN of savings on one thing. The moment we approach the purchase differently, that is, price isn't the only determinant, but also carbon footprint, then we can buy things differently, e.g.
from a neighbor, who has all the materials we need. It may be a little more expensive, but its production is more environmentally friendly: it has green electricity, doesn't produce so much carbon dioxide. And suddenly the entire construction process is information from transportation and production. When we combine it, we have a big data about how much carbon dioxide we produced as a general contractor. And in the future, I can already see in Norway that it's very much on the upswing to measure it, in England, which is, one might say, a source of new digital ideas, in their country it is also already being introduced, the same in Poland, but people still hide it a bit, because if they have a larger carbon dioxide production, they don't want to brag about it.
Besides, it is difficult to measure. There are lots of trainings related to that, so companies can start to analyze it and think in terms of ecology. This is the world we will live in later. And, of course, we want to live in a world with clean air. To avoid this high temperature in the future, you know. I mean it would be nice to grow pineapples, or some watermelons, but what if we wanted to have mushrooms in the forest? We must have the right conditions.
Exactly, exactly. Super. Piotrek, let me tell you, it really sounds great what you are doing. I like the fact that you're introducing things that you've told us about, that these aren't just ideas, not some plans, but it's already working, it's already physically functioning. I wish you the best of luck in development of BinderLess.
Where can we find you on the Internet? We are on LinkedIn. This is where we communicate the latest information from the construction industry, also to educate this market. Education is a very big process, and we know it's not easy to draw from such a large amount of information what is valuable to us, so we do this work for people.
And, of course, we're at www.BinderLess.com where you can sign up for demos. Then we can demonstrate how artificial intelligence helps in daily operations and how we can support decision makers who have a lot of work to do, a great deal of emails and we actually help them through the processes to sort out the chaos.
Super. Piotrek, thank you so much for today's podcast. Thank you very much. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Smart City Navigators podcast. We hope you enjoyed today's broadcast.
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