Prescient Speeds Schedules and Improves Quality
BY DEBRA WOOD
In today’s world of expedited schedules and increased emphasis on quality and safety, Prescient, a turnkey prefabrication option, delivers for contractors.
"Speed to market is a big factor," says Tim Dunn, chief investment officer of JE Dunn of Kansas City, Missouri, a member of multiple AGC chapters, which has built and co-developed projects with Prescient. "A pre-manufactured, pre-engineered system should appeal to every AGC member. With quality of work and construction defects and the other risks of this industry, you should be attracted to this system."
Prescient is a software development company, a manufacturing company and a building assembly company. The design aspect takes place with a plug-in for the Revit platform. All contractors and subcontractors are brought into the design.
"We bring the digital world to the physical world," says Satyen Patel, executive chairman of Prescient in Durham, North Carolina. "We are changing the way buildings are designed and built."
Prescient creates a structural design in a BIM model. Then, the company’s computer-integrated, off-the-shelf robots build posts, panels and trusses for the structure. Each aspect is highly automated. In all cases, robots, working off a digital plan, complete the welding. When Prescient delivers to the jobsite, it completes a computer-aided, grid-based assembly.
The manufacturing process is highly precise, working to an accuracy of 1 millimeter. The fully manufactured panels and trusses are accurate to 1/32nd of an inch in 20-foot spans.
The owner, architect or contractor may bring Prescient into a project.
"We impact time, money and risk at every stage of the project," Patel says.
At The Corner, an off-campus student housing project in Austin, JE Dunn ran into a severe schedule crunch, in 2016, and turned to Prescient, which it first learned about in 2013. After completing a due diligence of the codes and other aspects of construction, it built with Prescient.
"There is no way we could build that project in the time frame using other materials," Dunn says. "The speed to market was three to four months shorter than doing it with any other building material."
The other aspect to a Prescient structure that matters to Dunn is the safety of the product.
"Prescient is a noncombustible system," Dunn says. "That’s another factor we consider."
Prescient buildings also can withstand category 5 windstorms and meet the Department of Defense’s progressive collapse test. It lends itself to stackable buildings, but the company can produce variable floor plans within the same structure.
"Our projects are designed for constructability without compromising aesthetics," Patel says.
Prescient began in 2012 and for three years only built in Colorado. In 2016, the company branched into three more states: Texas, Florida and Nebraska. The company has finished 35 projects, totaling 5.8 million square feet. Projects include hotels, student housing, market-rate apartments, armed forces housing and senior living. In 2018, it will operate in 28 states. Manufacturing takes place in two plants, one in Colorado and one in North Carolina.
"We can make contractors profitable and help them not eat into their contingencies," Patel says. "We can get them in and out of projects faster and most importantly, we can help them build to accuracies they have never seen before."
115 North Duke Street, 2A
Durham, North Carolina 27701