It’s called “groundbreaking.”
“Smart, sustainable, and flexible.”
“An open door to a bold new world.”
For the hundreds of home building professionals that crossed its threshold during the International Builders’ Show this month in Las Vegas, the KB Home ProjeKt carries another compelling distinction:
It was erected in two days.
That may be a tough idea to grasp given the home’s exceptionally low HERS rating, complex ceiling geometry, and sophisticated IoT ecosystem of more than 400 interconnected devices (say the words “Hello Google, I’m home” and watch what happens next). Two days? It hardly seems possible for a home that redefines “Where tomorrow lives.”
It’s a good question to ask the KB Home ProjeKt lead, Jacob Atalla. Atalla is the vice president of sustainability for national homebuilder KB Home. This is the third concept home his company has built. This edition is built in Inspirada, a master-planned community just outside Las Vegas. The home more than lives up to the project team’s guiding pillars of sustainability, healthy, flexible, and smart.
“We wanted our project partners to stretch a bit,” Atalla observes. “The only way we could have done that is through collaboration. Collaboration is the difference engine here.”
Down to the Last Nail-Strike
Uniting more than 30 project partners, including the team of BUILDER magazine, is easier said than done, especially with an aggressive delivery goal. The team leaned heavily on off-site construction to accelerate construction cycles. First, the home must be virtually built in a BIM environment. Converting virtual construction into actual on-site “plug-and-play” assembly demands unsparing detail, communication, and trust across the partners.
The team turned to the emerging standard software standard for production homebuilders, the SAPPHIRE enterprise software solution. Components of the suite proved invaluable in meeting the project’s aggressive delivery timetable and quality objectives.
“We saw what the world of tomorrow looks like as far as production. Close coordination in a BIM environment creates a more efficient, more durable structure that is fabricated off-site and installed on-site in record time and with minimal labor,” reports Atalla.
A module of the SAPPHIRE Build suite called Portal allowed the team to manage innumerable design drawings, specifications, photographs, and emails in an orderly, controlled manner, vastly simplifying communication across the teams. “It really helped elevate innovation and quality several steps beyond where we would have been without it,” says Atalla. “We can’t have conflicts with so much of the home fabricated off-site. The wall panels and floor cassettes need to bolt tight together in a matter of minutes.”
Lessons in Change
The people behind SAPPHIRE, Missouri-based MiTek, were early enthusiastic supporters of the KB Home ProjeKt, delivering assistance across a variety of project areas, including component design and manufacture, document storage, HVAC optimization design, and important structural elements known as Hardy Frames. MiTek’s Gregg Renner, senior vice president of global residential marketing, says his company’s involvement is all about achieving greater construction speed and accuracy. “The industry doesn’t have the labor to build homes the way we once did. We have to change,” Renner says.
“Off-site, component manufacturing lets a builder frame a typical house in half the time of stick-built. That means a framing crew could erect twice as many homes. The KB Home ProjeKt shows how builders can do that with surprising precision, accuracy, and speed,” he says.
See what all the excitement is about for yourself. Take a virtual tour of the KB Home ProjeKt now.