The Digital Path to Urbanisation through Project Acceleration

With over 50 percent of the world’s population now living in cities, a number that will undoubtedly exceed 65 percent in the coming decades, the concept of urban progress has never been more relevant, or more urgent.

The average urbanite spends ninety percent of his or her time indoors, whether it’s at a residence, at work, or in leisure spaces. The companies and management teams responsible for the day-to-day operations of those buildings are some of the busiest professionals in the real estate industry, wearing many hats to complete their diverse range of responsibilities.

Given the importance and the scope of responsibilities a real estate ownership team attends to daily, the time spent on the administrative and laborious workflow is troublesome. In a digitally transforming world— post the sale of one billion iPhones and the ease of completing tasks with the click of a button– the real estate industry is surprisingly behind in embracing new technologies.

What’s not often talked about is that the industry’s stagnation ultimately affects every city inhabitant. When roads, modes of transportation, or even a building’s elevator undergoes construction, the productivity of the urban dweller is directly impacted. Every construction project, no matter how small, affects its surrounding environment, making the infrastructure of those buildings a process critical to our society’s productivity.

Last summer, the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company published a report directly linking the loss of productivity and capital to the delay in the real estate industry’s technological adaption rate. The research highlighted that the construction industry is stymied by paper-based processes which don’t support cross-team collaboration, reliable document management, or real-time decision making– all of which are crucial to the success of modern construction projects in this highly competitive environment.

Relying on traditional systems of data collection to manage communication flow, RFPs, invoicing, change orders, payments, and status reports, is fraught with problems. Digitising these processes will enable property owners to be more efficient and effective in delivering ready spaces to tenants and addressing the everyday inconveniences of projects holding up an ever-growing and more-demanding population. More importantly, technology can create one of our most precious commodities in the industry — time. Streamlining the basic and tedious aspects of the project process allows owners, managers, and other real estate professionals to focus their time and effort on more deserving tasks.

By leaving the inefficiencies in individual projects unaddressed, the infrastructure and services supporting the inevitable growth in urban populations are being thwarted rather than supported. Markets are becoming more competitive, technology more intuitive, and urban environments more populated by the day. If adopting newer technologies can accelerate urban progress, with improvements to workflow and aggregation of data for better decision making, then our industry has a very obvious, and very necessary path lying in front of us.

Join Riggs Kubiak at MIPIM PropTech this October in the panel discussion Best in Class: Office


Riggs co-founded Honest Buildings in 2012 after a decade in the commercial real estate industry, including five years at Tishman Speyer in acquisition, asset management and global sustainability. Real estate owners depend on Honest Buildings as the leading project management and procurement platform. Industry leaders like Brookfield, Beacon Capital Partners, Invesco, The JBG Companies, SL Green, Parkway Inc., and Rudin Management use the intuitive software to streamline project management processes and approvals, increase revenue through faster project delivery, reduce project costs and make data-driven decisions portfolio-wide.

Top photo © JaCZhou/GettyImages



About Author

Riggs Kubiak is the founder and CEO of Honest Buildings.

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