Augmenta is a software company that is automating building design for the construction industry.
Founded by the inventors of Generative Design, Augmenta is using artificial intelligence, including machine learning and mathematical optimization, to empower the construction industry to design buildings more efficiently and at a lower cost, while reducing the overall impact on the environment.
Augmenta’s mission is to create a fundamentally new design process that empowers people in the construction industry to design, manufacture, and build sustainable housing, cities, and infrastructure at scale.
Augmenta’s vision for the construction industry is one where buildings are always designed to be energy efficient, use sustainable materials, are safer to build, and contribute less waste to landfill during construction.
Augmenta also envisions an industry that embraces automated design and construction to increase productivity and help it scale efficiently to meet growing demand for new construction.
Tell us about yourself?
My background is in the High Performance Computing branch of Computer Science, more specifically large-scale mathematical modeling and simulation. Computer programming has always been fascinating and entertaining to me, and using computers to solve meaningful problems is therefore very fulfilling.
While pioneering generative design at Autodesk, I realized what a profound effect it could have on the way people work.
When considering which industries would be most impacted by its use, construction presented itself because of the inefficiencies such as slow design process, little coordination between trades, and flaws and inaccuracies in designs leading to reworks and materials waste.
Generative design could allow construction to finally realize the productivity increases seen in other sectors such as manufacturing.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
The pandemic changes your perspective of how to run a business.
In hindsight, you wonder how decisions have been impacted, i.e.: If you knew the pandemic was coming and the impact it would have, would you have everyone work remotely from the start and not bother opening an office? Would you have started a business in the face of a pandemic? Etc.
What problem does your business solve?
In the construction industry today, creating designs for building systems like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC is a slow process fraught with errors and significant risk and cost for contractors and engineers – and in turn real estate developers and owners – as designs are often not feasible for construction.
The construction industry suffers from extremely low earnings and high risk due to errors in design:
- 6% of a building’s cost go towards fixing errors
- Up to 30% of new building materials go to waste
- 20% of AEC professionals’ time is spent fixing errors
- $65 billion spent on rework in US alone in 2018
- Buildings consume 40% of global energy and resources
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Augmenta is a software startup that was founded by pioneers of Generative Design.
Our team has decades of experience in advanced manufacturing and robotics, and we are now bringing that same level of sophistication, productivity, and automation to the construction industry by automating building design.
What is your magic sauce?
Computational design and design automation have primarily been used in the construction industry for conceptual exploration of building structures by architects.
For the first time, Augmenta is bringing the power of Generative Design into all aspects of the design process.
This transformative approach enables the functional and automated design of constructible buildings at scale, and at a high level of detail, based on the requirements identified for a building and building codes.
By embracing Generative Design, Augmenta is eliminating the design problems that plague the construction industry and result in costly changes, hours of rework, and delays in construction.
The Augmenta Construction Platform (ACP) is the world’s first and only Generative Design solution for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). It is driving innovation and a new level of efficiency in the construction industry by automating building design.
It enables contractors and engineers to create designs of buildings and systems that are free from errors, are constructible, and code-compliant.
The idea behind it is to create efficiencies in the industry by eliminating the costly issue of multiple iterations of redesign, rework, and waste in construction projects.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
What is the vision?
Once the end-to-end ACP solution for various aspects of building design has been developed, integrated modules will address the individual and collective needs of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and structural engineers.
By integrating Generative Design into all aspects of the design process, ACP turns design modelers into design strategists.
Those that currently allocate hundreds of hours to manually design (and often rework) electrical, HVAC, plumbing, structural, and other systems can now turn their attention to higher value processes such as gathering and documenting requirements; evaluating multiple design options to determine which ones are less costly to build, faster to construct, or the most efficient to maintain; and collaborating with trades to land on the best design.
While iterations in design are inevitable, ACP minimizes the need for re-work. Using ACP, engineers and contractors can respond instantly to change requests and quickly generate a new design that builds off what has already been constructed in the field.
As an automated building engineering solution, ACP empowers the construction industry to design and estimate the cost of fully coordinated, code-compliant, constructible designs of buildings and systems faster than previously possible.
ACP is collaborative by design. It brings together the expertise of distinct engineering capabilities (i.e., electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and structural) into a comprehensive cloud-native platform that provides the necessary compute power to deliver the highest level of detail for full fabrication of even the largest and most complex building designs, right down to the smallest nuts and bolts.
As a cloud-native platform, ACP is collaborative by design and enables collaboration among electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and structural engineers.
By facilitating the automated coordination of designs between engineers and contractors and delivering an unmatched level of certainty against design errors, ACP allows projects to scale at will.
ACP uses machine learning (ML) to continuously speed up the design process and reinforcement learning (RL) using synthesized information from past designs to continuously improve the design process. This ensures that future designs satisfy the criteria set by each user and can be quickly and easily evaluated against cost, construction time, sustainability, maintainability, and other criteria.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Finding the type of talent we need for working on generative design is difficult. It requires a unique combination of skills, an analytical mindset combined with creativity and knowledge of the industry. We’ve been lucky to recruit the exceptional people we have.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
We’d love for everyone in the AEC industry to reach out and engage with us, to hear our vision and learn about this breakthrough for the industry directly from us, whether it’s a phone call, an email, connecting with us at conferences, etc.
We have a pilot program for electrical contractors to work with our first module for the Augmenta Construction Platform, a generative electrical raceway system design tool that dramatically speeds up estimation and design processes for electrical contractors and engineers, while reducing construction time, cost, and waste.
It was created specifically for:
Direct end users within the mechanical, engineering, plumbing (MEP) industry –
- – Engineering firms (primary focus)
- – Contractors (primary focus)
- – Building Information Modeling (BIM) Consultancies (secondary focus) and
- Secondary users/partners –
- – Real estate developers
- – General contractors
- – Estimators
- – Construction parts suppliers