13 Oct 2015   |   Network Updates   |   Update from TU Berlin
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A virtual to-do list, helping builders avoid broken promises

Sablono, Technical University of Berlin


The problem: Building airports, hospitals, or offices all have something in common: it is impossible to stay on top of every aspect of their construction. Hence no one is ever that surprised when large, complex building projects are over-budget and behind schedule. Overseeing all steps, from deliveries to works, is time-consuming and tedious and cannot be managed adequately with spreadsheets and email.

The answer: Sablono has developed a task scheduling method, which it claims can save up to 70 per cent of the time in construction management.

Project managers can stroll around a building site with their iPad or smartphone and scan specially placed VR codes to check progress.

These digital checklists then converge in a database, which is updated throughout the construction. Milestones and deadlines can be compared with current data collected on site and the actual progress of a building project can be analysed and supervised in detail. Changes or delays can be flagged to all project partners in real-time.

The company: Young entrepreneurs started the company out of TU Berlin in 2013 using software from German multinational software firm SAP. Today, it has grown to a 12-person team.

In May, the company signed a contract with Austria-based engineering firm Waagner-Biro, one of the contractors working on the Louvre’s new museum in Abu Dhabi, a project mired in scheduling problems.

The company was bootstrapped initially with scholarship money and then in 2013 by a convertible loan from Hasso Plattner Ventures, the investment arm of billionaire Hasso Plattner, co-founder and chairman of SAP. In 2014 the publicly-backed VC firm High-Tech Gruenderfonds, Hasso Plattner Ventures and the construction software manufacturer Nemetschek Allplan took a joint share in the company. So far in 2015, its revenue is €40,000.  

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