Zuru Tech’s game-changing products make it quicker and easier for many more people to design and assemble eco-friendly residential projects.
“If we pull off just half of what we’re planning to, it will change the construction industry forever. If we achieve more than that, then nothing will be the same again.”
Zuru Tech’s Structural Systems Lead, Brendan Hasty, doesn’t pull his punches when outlining how his firm’s revolutionary software and design expertise is transforming the way engineers approach new builds.
“Essentially, it’s about taking the hard stuff and making it easy,” the qualified structural engineer and popular YouTuber told create.
“Most construction software takes a lot of time and effort to learn. We set out to reinvent the concept and bring it into the modern world through machine learning so it’s user-friendly and accessible to many more people.”
A video on the Zuru website demonstrates how the company’s photo-realistic 3D graphics simplify building design to such an extent that home owners can draw up detailed plans themselves.
Once they’ve done so, Zuru engineers can take a deep dive into the finer detail to check for viability, compliance and safety.
The firm also sources and delivers all the necessary materials, with modular components assembled off-site. The cost saving can be up to 90 per cent.
“Another reason it’s a gamechanger is the time it can save,” Hasty said. “A two or three-storey building can be put up in under three weeks instead of the six to 12 months it takes using traditional methods. The entire construction can be completed in the time it usually takes to pour three floors of concrete.
“Plus, it’s often possible to put all the building parts together with just two people and a crane instead of a fully crewed building site. You effectively get a million-dollar build for the same budget of a standard construction.”
Zuru was founded in New Zealand and now also operates across Australia, Italy, China, India and California, with 1.6 million m2 of factory space and more than 300 team members.
When Hasty joined two years ago, he introduced an initiative to assist with operations that would cope with the rapid growth and development.
“I brought in Bluebeam to help with our documentation and communications across international teams,” he said.
“We operate in a lot of sectors with stakeholders of differing capabilities so it’s crucial that everyone understands the tasks at hand and can contribute with absolute transparency. Bluebeam’s software is the best of its kind and has been hugely beneficial to us.”
Bluebeam’s collaborative end-to-end platform Revu lets contributors in multiple locations simultaneously review and amend PDFs with searchable mark-ups and annotations. It can be used at every stage of any project, from design to build and handover.
“For us, it’s a particularly useful and effective way for structural engineers to explain specifications and requirements to mechanical or software engineers. That might include the type of fixings or the magnitude and direction of force involved in a component.
“The colour coding and simple graphics to emphasise critical points make it visually appealing, so teams can also use it to talk through important issues with colleagues who may not have an engineering background.”
Another major advantage of harnessing Zuru’s state-of-the-art model is its inbuilt sustainability. As governments and infrastructure investors demand drastic carbon emissions reductions, so construction firms have to factor it into every aspect of their operations.
“Our aim is to offer net-zero [emissions] constructions,” Hasty said. “We’ve already made considerable progress on several fronts such as looking to donate to Concrete Zero, who are researching sustainable concrete, investing in modular construction strategies and optimising our factories to minimise emissions.”
Insulating buildings inside and out is also critical for Zuru engineers. It’s an area where Australia lags behind other countries.
“We’re way behind Europe and the US in that respect,” Hasty said. “It’s probably because we have a warm climate, but insulation can be just as important here as it is in a colder country, as it reduces the need for air conditioning.”
Zuru started life as a toy maker, winning awards for its innovative products. Hasty believes the same principles apply to both industries.
“The founders have a passion for engineering design and disrupting traditional markets,” he said. “Using technology to break down barriers and see what’s possible helped them devise their best-selling Robo-fish, and now they’re using it on a much bigger scale to transform construction.”
In both cases, swimming against the tide has proved extremely successful.