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How Can Technology Revolutionise The Construction Industry? With Timothy Cocaro And Simon Curtis

18.5.22

On the 4th episode of season 9, Louisa is joined by Timothy Cocaro, CEO and Founder of canibuild and Simon Curtis, Chief Operating Officer at G.J. Gardner Homes. They discuss the story behind canibuild and how its product is revolutionising compliance, design and sales in the construction world. Simon shares how G.J. Gardner Homes is using canibuild’s product. They chat about what major trends can be seen in the ConTech industry and what is upcoming for canibuild. The key insight in this episode is that in ConTech, the one thing you don’t want to do is to lose the human touch by detaching from your customer. Instead, you need to bring the customer along on the journey. 

Resources:

Companies Mentioned:

Shout Outs:

Key Insights From This Episode: 

  • With ConTech, the one thing you don’t want to do is detach from your customer. – Simon
  • Clients are reaching a point where they’re seeing construction similar to buying something on Amazon. They want answers quickly and they want transparency. – Timothy
  • Customers have a huge thirst for knowledge. – Simon

About Our Guests:

Timothy Cocaro, CEO/Founder of canibuild

Timothy Cocaro possesses the unlikely mix of being both a builder by trade and a holder of a computer science degree. 

Timothy’s tenure as Founder and CEO of Australia’s leading Granny Flat company, provided the necessary insight to see and, more importantly, understand the pain points of the construction industry.  

This led Timothy to put his degree in computer science to use by creating a modern solution, that genuinely aligns with the needs of the construction industry. 

In 2019, Timothy hung up his hard hat when he became Founder and CEO of canibuild, a world-first, hypergrowth Prop Tech that is transforming the construction landscape.  

canibuild was developed to be the solution to the many root problems in the construction industry with its AI engine allowing home, pool, granny flat & other builders to instantly check site feasibility, site costs, generate site plans & produce quotes with just a click. 

canibuild has gained unprecedented traction across the construction industry since its inception, with thousands of searches on the platform every day. canibuild has re-energised the industry by providing its subscribers the ability to be hyper-efficient at a time when the market is booming. 

canibuild 

canibuild allows builders to replace the need for physical site visits, drafting, surveying, estimating and instead optimising this complex series of high friction steps into an instant point of transaction. canibuild clients can now go from seeing a project site virtually with a client to contract instantly. This not only allows builders to be more efficient but also covers a much wider area geographically which is a game-changer in an industry that is so fragmented.

Simon Curtis, Chief Operating Officer at G.J. Gardner Homes

Simon Curtis is the Chief Operating Officer of G.J. Gardner Homes NSW/ACT and WA and is responsible for the brand’s operation in these states. Leading a Head Office team, Simon’s primary responsibilities are:

  • To advise and support franchise partners within all areas of their business 
  • To work with the State Marketing Manager on State and Local Area marketing activities
  • To drive franchise growth of GJ Gardner Homes in NSW/ACT and WA 
  • To provide training to the group in all areas of their business 
  • To ensure the group continues to have the support, tools and resources necessary for growth

With more than 20 years of experience at some of Australia’s largest property companies under his belt, Simon has proven that he is a strong leader and clear communicator who possesses the ability to motivate, mentor and inspire others.

Simon holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Queensland and a Master of Project Management from the University of Southern Queensland.

G.J Gardner Homes  

G.J. Gardner Homes is a custom home building company. They have built over 36,000 quality, customised homes over the past 37 years and continue to grow on the back of a single premise – ensuring every customer would refer them to their closest friend. Throughout the building of a new home, they are dedicated to the highest standard of workmanship. Each of their qualified builders and preferred subcontractors have been selected for their individual standards of expertise and their commitment to excellence.

From humble beginnings in 1983 in Queensland as an independent building firm owned by Greg Gardner, G.J. Gardner Homes quickly grew to 8 regional offices, building as many as 1,000 custom homes a year. G.J. Gardner Homes quickly established a reputation for building great value, quality homes. Due to popular demand, Greg decided to franchise the business and almost immediately became one of Queensland’s largest privately owned building companies. Fast forward to today, G.J. Gardner Homes has become a household name throughout Australia, New Zealand and the USA. With over 120 franchisees operating throughout the world, supported by multiple global offices, G.J. Gardner Homes continues to build a reputation for reliability and for being a company our customers can trust.

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.

About LMRE

LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.

From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.

At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

Timestamps:

[02:45] Timothy: Can you talk us through your journey to founding canibuild?

  • I have a background in computer science and in the .com crash, I moved over to construction where I spent a few years developing a construction company that focused in the granny flat industry. 
  • During my boots on the ground experience, I tried to see how technology can better improve construction and one aspect is how construction is sold. 
  • We have been developing our application for 6 years and we went to market 2 years ago. 

 [05:45] Timothy: Can you elaborate a bit more about your product?

  • Client facing sales application tool for construction companies that condenses all the steps involved in construction into a single transaction. 
  • It does all the compliance and visually shows how that build looks on that block of land, it also takes into account factors such as contours so all parties can visually see what’s happening.

[08:25] Simon: Can you talk us through your role when it comes down to innovation technology and how you came across Tim’s business, canibuild? 

  • We’re a residential builder, building mainly for mum and dads, but more importantly, we’re a franchised business.
  • canibuild technology came to us from one of our salespeople – a client walked into the office and had a print out of an outcome of what this tech does and in a short space of time, we adopted the technology.

[11:15] Timothy: How much time does this save? 

  • You have to imagine that a sales consultant needs to answer quite a few questions that might presumably look easy. 
  • The back and forth process might take weeks but canibuild collapses all of those down to potentially the same day.

[13:45] Simon: This product must allow you to retain buyers and not let them go to competitors, can you elaborate? 

  • The one thing you don’t want to do is detach from your customer but rather demonstrate knowledge. 
  • This allows us to show the customer in real time and keep the conversation going without detaching.

[16:15] Simon: How have you gone about upskilling your 80-90 consultants? 

  • We brought this technology in early in 2020, nicely coinciding with the lockdowns so we trained all of our team remotely and in one session.
  • Our house designs are preloaded onto the software.
  • We had a sales conference at some point, which Tim presented.  

[17:35] Simon: Have you seen an increase in sales or customers? 

  • The market over the last 18 months has been incredibly buoyant so it is difficult to judge. 
  • We can have a look at how the performance is and we can have a look at the uptake. We can also see if it is utilising the software or not.
  • The feedback from the new hands consultants has been overwhelmingly positive.

 [18:50] Simon: When did you start looking at your innovation strategy? Was it pre- or post-COVID?

  • The brand has always operated off its own software and in 2019 there was a redesign of the software to move to a cloud based system and that encompasses all aspects that we need to run these businesses.
  • We use 2 external pieces of technology, canibuild and HazardCo.

 [20:25] Timothy: What is next for the growth and development of your product?

  • Continue expanding on the features of the system to be able to better help our clients.
  • We are releasing a 3D component as well as doing  site costs automatically.
  • There are marketplace opportunities like bushfire reports and engineer reports and even architectural reports, particularly in the pool industry. 
  • We are expanding our footprint in the United States.

[22:00] Both: Are there any major trends which you can pick out across construction and what are you forecasting for the next couple of years?

  • Timothy: Builders have started to adopt technology in ways that they haven’t, prior to COVID.
  • Simon: Customers have a thirst for knowledge, so when they are walking through a display home for the first time, they know a lot about us. 
  • Simon: We need to bring customers along for the journey, especially in construction. 

[27:00] The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about; 

L Touch on the main lessons you have learnt throughout your career.

Timothy: Start early, get your hands dirty and build a business that doesn’t scale, you can worry about the scaling later.

Simon: Self-belief and never stop learning. 

M – Please give a mention to anyone / product / service.

Timothy: All our current clients. 

Simon: Tim and his team. 

R What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in PropTech?

Timothy: Nothing more rewarding than seeing a mum, dad and their family move into their home.

E – What are you excited about in the future of PropTech?

Timothy: Stay positive and keep pushing forward.

Simon: All the things I don’t know about tech. 

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