A startup reverses the difficult process of building housing on site

Imagine this. You are on a construction site for a new house. A bedroom has three windows. For each window, you need to flip through 40 pages of paper drawings for installation instructions. Some of the essential information for installing a single window can be found on page 3, some on page 8, more on page 11 and even more on page 23.

Oh, and you don’t speak English.

That’s the problem Nick Stoppello and Pat Churchman were solving when they founded their Boise-based company, Flashpoint Building Systems. The company was launched in the fall at local construction supplier Franklin Building Systems’ Hacking for Homebuilding event.

At the latest innovation event sponsored by Franklin Building System visionary leader Levi Smith, the founders showcased the next phase of the startup’s progression which now includes a physical presence in Franklin’s 16-acre lumber yard.

In an overview of the business case, the founders shared that approximately 9% of the total project cost is rework, which amounts to an annual amount of $19 billion in the United States. With the prices of building materials increasing at a very steep slope, these rework costs will gradually increase.

On top of that, builders face labor challenges. Much of the workforce is aging, necessitating the hiring of new, unskilled workers. Often, as noted, there are also language barriers.

So, Flashpoint backtracked on the issue by first looking at the process, where they also found fundamental issues. In the current process, two siled groups work on any project. A group is made up of the team that is not working on site for the project. This group is usually highly educated, has plenty of tools, communicates well, and is driven to deliver better quality solutions.

The second group is dynamically different. This group works on site doing the physical labor. They are usually not well educated, they only have primitive hand tools, they don’t have strong communication skills and again they can speak English as a second language. Unlike their colleagues, they prioritize time over quality.

This broken structure also means that instructions are passed on to the third-hand team on site, which often leads to inefficiencies and rework. So, these differences in culture combined with the differences in motivation create a number of challenges for the project, and that’s where the Flashpoint building system comes in.

The co-founders explained that the company’s innovative technology gives the contractor the ability to oversee rather than be directly involved in the work, resulting in a higher success rate from subcontractors the first time. time. They call the structure an integrated layout system – it starts with ready-made drawings that are combined with all the drawings from other disciplines into a single document. With this more collaborative approach, Flashpoint’s system converts all critical instructions into one succinct document. Then these instructions are etched into the subfloor for easy following without flipping through pages of designs, or as happens on many job sites, the installation instructions are simply ignored.

The subfloor is packaged in installation order at Flashpoint after being etched, then delivered to site and the onsite team can start work easily. The subfloor has easy to follow instructions with a letter and number designation that identifies its location and is cut and finished to fit precisely.

“The first time a crew installs, we’re onsite with them to help with the map,” Churchman said, referring to the subfloor layout guide that comes with the bunk floor on site. “The last three crews were entirely Spanish-speaking.”

So, explains Churchman, when installers start nailing down these subfloor sheets, it starts to create a picture with an installation that doesn’t need guesswork or a tape measure. Then the installer stands on the design details of the house.

Flashpoint adds everything about an installer, including wall types, location, and layout; door number, location and direction of rotation; locations of fire alarms and sprinklers; door or window opening with information on the frame of the structure; electrical and low voltage locations; location and identification of overhead light fixtures; locations and heights of aerial framework and soffits; and HVAC distribution return and equipment locations.

Easy access to these types of installation details pays off for homeowners.

“Approximate cost savings are about 3% of project value,” Churchman added. “So you get better quality and lower cost in less time.”

Flashpoint’s growth will be based on the ability to license the technology to lumber merchants across the country while offering remote service. The startup is currently engaged in a multi-family project with a single-family residential development with over 200 homes.

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