111: ‘Seeing What Sticks’, with Mark Thorley and David Flynn

A conversation with Mark Thorley and David Flynn.

111: ‘Seeing What Sticks’, with Mark Thorley and David Flynn

Mark Thorley and David Flynn of KOPE join the podcast to talk about ways in which we can move forward as an industry, digital tools, roadblocks, the value of the people behind building products and building relationships with them, offsite construction, prefabrication, how labor shortages, rising material prices, and supply chain problems are catalysts of change, configurators, improving decision making with embedded logic, and the KOPE platform.

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111: ‘Seeing What Sticks’, with Mark Thorley and David Flynn
Mark Thorley and David Flynn of KOPE join the podcast to talk about ways in which we can move forward as an industry, digital tools, roadblocks, the value of…

Episode Transcript

TRXL 111 - ‘Seeing What Sticks’, with Mark Thorley and David Flynn


[00:00:00] Welcome to the TRXL podcast. I'm Evan Troxel. This is the podcast where I have conversations with guests from the architectural community and beyond to talk about the co-evolution of architecture and technology. 

A little bit of housekeeping here. Before we jump into this week's episode, would you like to get the TRXL podcast show notes and my AEC tech newsletter delivered to your inbox. If so, head over to TRXL HQ at trxl.co and click on one of the subscribe buttons on the page. The show notes include all of the links from the things we discussed during the episodes. 

In this episode, I welcome Mark Thorley and David Flynn of KOPE that's K-O-P-E. For those of you who are spelling sticklers like me. 

Mark is KOPE's CEO and leads their overall vision and its impacts on the offsite construction sector. He's passionate about bringing together the field of computer science, architecture, [00:01:00] and construction to enable a more efficient and effective industry. 

His skill set has led him to be one of the leaders in computation. And he now drives that forward to enable offsite construction techniques. Mark began his career in managerial, BIM and computational roles for companies such as AECOM, Grimshaw and space zero. Delivering iconic projects worldwide. 

In 2016, he co-founded design tech, a consultancy That designed strategies, software, and workflows to utilize building data and create efficiencies through the automation of design and production. 

David is KOPE's COO and has led the development of the business across all aspects with a key focus on company culture, strategic initiatives, and integrating their technical knowledge with those of their customers and partners with a drive to build advanced digital solutions, particularly focused on modular and off-site construction, he aims to build solutions to eradicate the wasteful processes, still inherent in the design and construction industries. David qualified as an architectural technologist at Dublin Institute of technology. [00:02:00] Now TU Dublin and prior to establishing KOPE, he founded design tech, a computational BIM consultancy based in London. 

He had previously led the design technology efforts while employed at Grimshaw architects as their global head of BIM. And also previously worked on large complex projects at leading design firms, such as KPF and AL_A. 

In this episode, we discuss ways in which we can move forward as an industry, digital tools, roadblocks, the value of the people behind building products and building relationships with them, offsite construction, prefabrication. How labor shortages, rising material prices and supply chain problems are catalysts of change. Configurators, improving decision-making with embedded logic and the KOPE platform. 

So now please enjoy my conversation with Mark Thorley and David Flynn. 

Evan Troxel: Mark and David, thanks for joining me today.

David Flynn: Thanks Evan

Evan Troxel: is gonna be a fun conversation. [00:03:00] I always say that it's always gonna be a fun conversation, so, uh, the listeners of the show are used to me saying that, but I'm looking =forward to this because I don't know enough. What you guys are doing. And so let's just start off and talk about why you do what you do and how you got to where you are today.

then we can get the bigger picture of problems that you guys have identified yourselves as being the ones to solve in the industry. mark, why don't you begin with a, a bit of a background and a bio like, like how did you get to where you are?

Mark Thorley: Yeah, absolutely. so I have a background in architecture. I've worked in software and technology for most of my career. I've always been excited around big challenges, you know, really complex problems and, we've always worked within this space.

How technology can bridge the gap between, some of those challenges that are faced within architecture and engineering, construction. for me personally, I always had, quite a, an ambition to build a team around a, a singular vision. and we're getting the opportunity to do that [00:04:00] with KOPE

I guess I can leave it there and hand over to Dave to do a bit of an intro to himself 


Evan Troxel: Yeah, go for it.

David Flynn: Yeah sure 

well My background's probably a bit more on the technical side of things in relation to process workflow supporting designers typically 

Not necessarily on cutting edge technology which 

uh really kind became part of my career when I met Mark prior to that it was very much focused around the kind of basic BIM world CAD and making sure that processes were aligned for designers having gotten to No Mark, when we worked together at Grimshaw, we started to use a little bit more technology and we processes a little bit harder, across those teams. And that set us up for really understanding that there's probably a bigger need than an individual office, like across the industry and, and globally.

So we decided to get together and work together in our own company. this is, uh, seven years ago now. I'm always unsure when exactly that was, but it was about seven years


Evan Troxel: Shocked how, long it's already been. 

David Flynn: I know exactly, and I, with Covid in the middle of that, it feels, uh, shorter [00:05:00] and longer 


Evan Troxel: time 

David Flynn: absolutely. . and what was fascinating about that process was that we really realized that everyone has the same problems. they're universal. Uh, in the design space, everyone addresses things the same way. there's subtle differences in the way that we use technology, the way that we name things or organize things or approach things, but there's a baseline across everything.

So we've really spent the last few years ramping up into that more and more advanced, more and more complex, trying to solve those issues. maybe I'll hand back to Mark for, had I then blossomed into kind of the world that we live in at the 


Mark Thorley: so as Dave says, set up a company

around 2017, um, and

that was off the back of leaving

Grimshaw. And, primary focus then

was around, I guess, product consulting. more. On for a better word. and, did all right from that, we exited that company and so, uh, 2019 we, set up, matlab, which was really a second pass at that digital consulting, business. coming back to what I said earlier around that singular vision, we've always worked with very [00:06:00] sophisticated and very intelligent people. and I think Dave and I always had an ambition to drive towards that single product rather than developing, bespoke solutions. so in the early days of matlab, this was around 2019. Again, I'm a bit like Dave, where I struggled to get my years correct. we started to work with a lot of, UK based modular house builders. which was very interesting. they had very different challenges, in relation to how the typical architecture, industry work that we were so familiar with.

and I think, speaking on behalf of Dave a little bit here as well, but I, think we got quite excited by some of the challenges we were seeing because what these companies were really trying to do was bring in, manufacturing logic and manufacturing driven design into the design process really.

I think because of some of those challenges, it, kind of got us rejuvenated and, quite excited about, potentially where the industry could go. through that work, we started to see some trends with, of these house builders, some of the, big contractors in the uk, you know, really start to. [00:07:00] focus a little bit on offsite construction as well. and realistically that was the foundations of KOPE and that was, the origins of, how we decided to build KOPE and, you know, we'll obviously get into what KOPE is over, the next hour or so. But that was really the origins of it.

I think, where the UK was heading around offsite construction, it all started to veer towards that as a North Star. 

Evan Troxel: Hmm. it's interesting to think of the, =trajectory that you guys have been on. You met at Grimshaw. I just a, a side story here. One of my case studies when I was in school was of, I'm failing to remember the name of the train station in, in Central London. guys know the name. 

There's like an 

addition with that big roof that goes over it.

David Flynn: uh,


Evan Troxel: Waterloo

Station. Yeah. Thank you. I a case study of that because we were doing an airport project in studio, and I did a section model through it.

And I was the first student in my class, so I'm totally dating myself here, which was to laser cut a model. So drew the cross section in cad, back then finding [00:08:00] a book that had a cross section. Of course they existed and I think by that point, Grimshaw had probably a monograph out, but it was like, scan that in, trace it in cad, do all the paths for the laser cutter, learn how laser cutters worked, built this model and photograph it , and I guess it was just Lucky that I photographed and I actually went to a photographer's studio to photograph it, and my photographer was so thrilled to be able to kind of artistically design a photo shoot around this little chipboard study model and some really cool images out of it because my professor loved the model so much, he kept it, and it was like, this is a model that I would hang on my wall today.

I was so proud of it being the first student in my class to ever laser cut a model. the shop down the street got this laser. They didn't even know to do with it. just a funny story that takes me back to when I hear Grimshaw, that that's the thing that 

I think 

David Flynn: I love that.

that's a great story, Evan. know, you know what's funny about that topic? I. , I ended up working for the [00:09:00] two companies who I studied, uh, during my thesis at the end of my degree, one of which was, future Systems, which became a Mandel Vet Architects, and, uh, the second was Grimshaw and ended up working with both.

So it it was kind of a fascinating journey to meet those directors and the designers who worked on those projects that I was, know, working through and understanding what they'd uh, from a distance. So yeah. Very a of

a kinship of 



Evan Troxel: Yeah. th those old books. I, I have a future systems book somewhere in my library and,, and just so fun kind of thumb through those still to this day. Just really great stuff.

David Flynn: no, it really is. what's interesting about where our journey, overlaps at Grimshaw, I, going to age myself here, the same as you just haven't. . so of interaction with Mark, uh, at issue was to hire Mark into Grimshaw. And, um, amazingly enough, uh, I was also involved with hiring Radu who's their third co-founder, at KOPE.

and so we all worked together, but not necessarily the exact same time, we understood the value that the three of us would bring together. and I definitely would to listeners of, of, of this session that one of the most important things you can [00:10:00] really do in your career is partner or team up with people who you just find to be incredibly talented and, keep them near

Evan Troxel: Yep. Absolutely. so another thing that you said. Was that you identified pretty early on that all of these companies kind of have the same problems, just maybe slightly different recipes, slightly different flavor, but the fundamentals are very similar across the board, and I have to echo that as well.

And when I was participating in aias, large firm Roundtable here in the States, it was really eye-opening to not only just see of behind the curtain that everybody is struggling with these very similar issues around technology. That was what we were focused on, but also that. it was reassuring in that I didn't feel alone, because when you look at your own firm and you're, you're an island in this big sea of, companies and you're competing against those companies, it's kind of a natural tendency to think, [00:11:00] especially when you look at certain firm names.

You make an assumption that there's some level that they're operating at, which is way above your own. And it was very reassuring to go to these meetings and just really. down to earth, talk about the day-to-day struggles of practice and technology integration and adoption, and being inundated with data and information and, figuring out how to process that or make us work smarter, better over time.

All of those feelings, I just, it was good to talk through that with other people. as a consultancy firm. You guys have to maybe talk a little bit about how, just go a little deeper with that because I assume that you also are able to, because you have this view into what's going on out there, you can help people really understand what's working, what's not working, where other people are at to make them feel that reassured that they're not.

So far behind that there's nothing they can do about it. Or [00:12:00] to say, you know what, like, you're not just experimenting for the sake of experimenting These have had some real outcomes for other firms,

know, in the recent past or whatever, to just say like, this isn't totally black box Wasting your time, experimentation.

This is something that that is worth doing right now.

Mark Thorley: Yeah, absolutely. Just from our early days in the, consulting, years, because we had the benefit of going into multiple companies, you often, as you said, you often saw different problems or similar problems each company was facing and.

I think, you know, as an industry, we, put on a, a bit of a front to the outside world about How well everything is going internally and actually, 

that's not always the right, I guess, representation of how that business is being run or the challenges that they have. I think here in the UK there's a, as I said, there's a bit of a drive towards offsite construction of modular construction, and every time one of these modular firms that's had, you know, a lot of money pumps into 'em, we know that modular firms are very difficult to get right with all the kind of upfront costs around [00:13:00] factories and things like that.

But every time there's a challenge there, it's, front page on, the Reba Journal or the, AC or whatever, magazine or publication it might be. and it feels like, you know, as an industry, we need to own some of those down moments a little bit better. because, everyone's going through their own challenges. it's not all, Rosie behind the scenes. we shout very much about the moments when we succeed. but you know, we should also I think share when we've had challenges and then as an industry we can all begin to learn from those things. 

Evan Troxel: yeah. I would throw in there that I think that the technologists in the room and online in forums are more real about that than the leadership of the firms and the 

marketing departments with each other at least. And I we try to get outside of that echo chamber the technology minded solutions providers in that space of aec, there, there often is a, a call for leadership to pay attention to and understand this stuff from those people. and that to me is, reassuring that, [00:14:00] it's not all complete marketing spin out there for the perception what's going on in these firms. I don't know the marketing departments or the, the leadership of those firms feel about that, but on some level it's like the, just the state of the world that we're in today, wherein all of that information is shared. there's this open source software movement. It's all about that, It's, it's about resetting the baseline of what's available, what we can do about it, but also sharing those struggles and those successes the, at least in the online space. But also, when we were having these meetings, it was, so reassuring to understand, but then also talk what have you tried, what have you tried, what have I tried and what worked and what didn't and why and why not?

And all of that of communication that's going on at some level behind the scenes. But it's there if you look for it, is again just reassuring that that. Change is being made and talked about a, in a more open manner than every firm operating as a silo unto itself.

for sure. Agreed. 

David Flynn: But, bounce back to that point to Evan and ask a question,[00:15:00] 

Evan Troxel: Do people truly believe that our industry is in this situation where if we had, a software platform or a, an ecosystem that delivered for everyone equally, we had, we had know, utopian from the side of things where we information and data across all the different work streams, all the different stakeholders, and it all works seamlessly.

Do we really believe that we wouldn't fall back on habits of siloing risk and siloing information? Because that's the nature of the way that the industry's been built for such A long time. absolutely 

David Flynn: that's probably a conversation for another day, but it does feel. to a certain extent that certainly the people that you've on your podcast and the people that you speak to and the people that are really leading the industry, are still putting up against a world where no matter what you provide technologically, there's still a cultural, pushback, which is just inevitable.

So from your point of view, what we wanted to do with Design Tech, the original company and then Matter Lab, and then moving into KOPE, was to learn some of those traits to treat the user from a [00:16:00] different point of view and not necessarily be a consultant, but maybe just be a and to have a slightly softer approach and a more of a, let's not fix everything.

Let's just fix the things that really bother you and get them on board that way. So we've had a slightly different approach to over that time. And as Mark was saying earlier on, it's kind of led us to. take a slightly different approach to offsite, to some of these volumetric businesses and it's kind of led us to where we are today.

Evan Troxel: Yeah, I agree with that, that the behavior it's what I've was always butting up against it was pretty clear and obvious to certain people in the firm, including leadership, that change needed to happen and the strategies were agreed upon. But then that pushback even, you know, at the user level, at the team level, at the studio level, because, just because it's different than how they normally do it and because project deadlines rule everything, everybody's lives, there was never this foreseen. ability to say, we're going to take the time to learn to do something new [00:17:00] because there's always failure in learning and we don't have time to fail. And if we don't have time to have, we actually don't have time to learn. it's this weird behavioral shift that needs to happen.

It's one of the reasons why I left traditional practice was because I felt like I was pushing boulders uphill. Somebody said, it's like you're pushing a wet noodle up a hill. it's like impossible to affect change in an organization where change it's not a shared value

and it's not because change isn't happening. It is happening, but, it was interesting to, to watch people. From a distance have this agreement and nodding of the heads and really talking like, yeah, this is obvious. We have to do this. But then when the rubber meets the road, it was just like absolutely impossible to get anywhere.

and you guys have to see that over and over and over again. know, question that I think is worth asking is how do you, you know, I, I talk about in the sense of training the pigeon, which is you can't train a pigeon. you can't just say, here's the vision, here's the ultimate goal pigeon, [00:18:00] now figure out how to do it.

I relate architects to pigeons, you have to just give them the first step. You have to say, here's the smallest, easiest, lightest lift thing that you can do. And then we will. do that over and over and build momentum and eventually get to the big thing. It's almost impossible to even bring up the big thing because there's a kind of an immediate, well, it's either like, yeah, we should totally do that, or it's absolute dismissal that we'll never get there.

And so it's like, don't even talk about that with people. And I'm wondering if, you guys have a similar experience with that, or if it's, like what do you do, what are those steps that, that you feel like, know there's so many different examples you could probably pull up here, like, what some examples of those smallest steps that you've asked people to

make change on so small that they almost don't

even realize that they're making a change, but strategically it's gonna pay off big time in the future.

Mark Thorley: I'm holding off there in case David's jumping in. 

David Flynn: Yeah, 

I'm happy 

to jump in cuz I 

actually had two there to throw back at you, Evan. I think the first one's probably around the idea that, your first point of entry into doing what you do [00:19:00] as a member of the construction community is the, whatever the software is that interacting whatever that is, um, whether that be Revit or it could be Excel, it can be, whatever the tool is. A certain level of mastery around how to actually get that to do what you wanted to do. And in the UK in particular, over the last six, seven years, we've had this, know, push maybe less so now, but this push towards BIM level two and all this level three.

And we were talking five or six years ago, I probably would've advocated for a lot of but as it stands now, I would absolutely be quite repelled by the reality is that we spent a lot of time and a lot of energy telling people what the endpoint outcome was supposed to be and not actually telling them how to get And what we tried to do in our, careers has been, well, look, I'm the person who was in that design team, confused and unsure of why I was being asked to do these things. so I kind of know what to tell an architect or an engineer. they should do day to day to get to that point. the idea that you would mandate the naming of something completely insignificant [00:20:00] in a process before you told someone how to name it in the tool makes no sense to me it, it just doesn't read. So what's so fascinating about what you've put together here is that there's a lot of thought leadership around people who support software, create software, train, really push as the centerpiece of what we do as an industry. and we're 1% or or less of the actual amount of users who are interacting with these tools.

the reality is that if you don't actually know what those 99% of people are doing day to you're wasting your time. you really have to have an understanding of it. And not to name any names, but if we were to talk about large vendors that are out, there, creating large software packages and platforms, , the less people from industry, they have the worst.

The tool is every, I think we can all agree that a clear, uh, relationship. so from us, we make sure that any of our team who are directly interacting with a, a designer at any point know the tools that they're using, well as that designer does. whatever that tool is.

So it's quite an important part of of the journey for us. and then the second part of but actually coming back to something you mentioned earlier on, we have been [00:21:00] very fortunate to have spent a lot of our careers working in residential. that be as a, an architect or an engineer putting housing systems together, like lots of different developments or, more recently working on the client side, so people actually acquiring or building, these, residential, units and.

It's invaluable to be able to tell the client how that design team works and what they need and what they don't need. and to be able to feed that information across both sides of the fence. So we've been really fortunate to have worked with some significant, housing associations and house builders.

Also a very large array of, housing designers.

And now we're in the space, as

Mark mentioned earlier on, where we're starting to look at being able to build houses offsite, pre-fabricated. And the thinking from both sides of that has really informed what we've been doing within KOPE.

Mark Thorley: I think just to add to that, you know, I think Evan, you, made a, a valid point before to some degree it's easy to outline what the end state is. there's always a, a new report, or a new diagram that shows what construction could be.

you [00:22:00] know, what it should be. but I think the hardest thing there is those first couple of steps, it is all well and good describing what a future state could look like in five years, but, how do you actually put together a path to get to that? that's really, really challenging.

and often that's the, first roadblock stops people from moving forward. you can sit in a room and you can sit in a pub and have a pint and. have all these aspirational ideas of where it's gonna go. But if you don't know how to make that first move or that first step, you're just gonna stagnate at where you are.

And I think as an industry, we do that as a whole. here in the UK we're, we're quite lucky because, I know Dave, spoke about the kind of approach to bim. We took a little bit here in the uk, but that came in and was mandated, by the government. we're starting to see the UK government over here mandating some things around MMC as well.

So modern methods of construction, prefabrication, offsite construction for, for people listening, I guess, in the states. and sometimes it needs, that fork in the sand, a bit further on, in relation to big picture. then you really need some. [00:23:00] key innovators in the space to move the dial at the early stage.

and think with what we do now, we're really leaning into that. that's our, biggest challenge. I think, you know, we'll get into our vision for KOPE, shortly, but I think the division is, nailed down. It's, we can get to that utopian state to some degree that Dave was referring to before, great, you know, construction will be in a great place, but that's not gonna happen overnight.

So what does that look like in six months time? What does that look like in 12 months time, in 24 months time? And actually working out a path to get there. And I think that's the biggest challenge that, this industry faces. and you know, we face that with KOPE as 


Evan Troxel: Yeah, and I don't mean to downplay the idea that the vision needs to be there. Somebody needs to have the vision and own the vision constantly reevaluate right? Because you do learn things along the way that change the path. It's just how much of that you share with the right people at the right time is critical, I think, so that you don't. L allow the devil's advocates to weigh on some levels some of that [00:24:00] is good, but on another level it's, distracting from the actual path that needs to be taken. So if you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. I, that old adage, I think holds true.

You have to know where you're headed and then you have to, know, reverse engineer that to figure out the steps that you take to at least begin that. And then this constant evaluation is happening, I just wanna reinforce that it's, the sharing of that big grand vision is sometimes overwhelming and it's distracting for too many of the people who do the day-to-day because the gap between innovation and adoption is only getting bigger every single day. I mean, just the stuff that's been pouring out of the internet in the last couple months about all of the AI There's so many tools available constantly coming at us, like a fire hose that we are not adopting because we have to deliver the project.

And the project requires PDFs. And like, none of that changes, right? is not going to change anytime soon. I'm not gonna look at this new way of doing something when I can't [00:25:00] even get the work done that I already have. And so again, focusing too far down the future just takes our eyes off of what is that smallest step that we can do today to start to address the gap between adoption and innovation?

Because if we were

look forward five years, we would say, yeah, I want to be here. like, well, how are we gonna get there if we can't even,

figure out how to work

excel, you know, in a smarter way today, 

Mark Thorley: you've just described the last two years of, our company, to be fair, you hit the nail on the head with. absolutely can be overwhelming, you know, too much information. to some degree it's on a need to know basis.

speaking from our experience and growing this company over the last two years, in the early days it was probably only Dave Radu and I who had foresight over what that end-state might look like and how, you know, all the different bits of technology that we've been building and, the challenges that we're trying to solve for different customers, how they're gonna, uh, come to the forefront, within the platform, all of these different things.

I think it was really only the three of us that had foresight over that. And to be fair, [00:26:00] even between the three of us, we've changed tact. as you said, we've moved around and pivoted based on feedback and, how the market was perceptive to what we were doing.

over time, with the, team outside of the founders, I think, we've slowly. Been kind of drip feeding in bits of information when and if they needed it. That's kind of helped them, understand where we are now and where we're gonna be over the next six months.

And, over time, they start to piece together the vision themselves anyway. we've been on a very similar journey to I'm sure what a lot of people are doing internally within, bigger organizations, in relation to trying to change the course of, the status quo.

I guess. 

Evan Troxel: there's something in there that I think is worth just lingering on for a moment, which is you, as you talk about the outcome of pivoting over time, startups do this all the time, it's kind of the normal, right, which is constantly looking at what's happening, looking at where you were going, where you are going, where you need to go, and making these adjustments.

That to me is interesting if you zoom out and [00:27:00] think about the practice of architecture how slow. Traditional firms are to pivot their businesses, their business model, their deliverables. I think it's so interesting, you know, just an observation that, there's kind of microcosm within the industry of startups and technology companies who are constantly adjusting, looking for the right market fit, looking for the right partnerships, looking for the right strategic, know, outcomes, all of these things.

and that's of the normal, and it's antithesis to the traditional firms, which are like, this is how we do it, this is how we've always done it. And I know that there's a spectrum there, , firms that obviously are a lot more agile than others. it, it is kind of interesting to watch this microcosm, this group within AEC they're never in that kind of set state and that they're a very fluid state all the time.

And then there's, the larger, firms that you guys are serving, there's the practices, the service industry, right? And it's like, this is how we do it. how do you make a tool that enables [00:28:00] to do what I already do, even better, faster, cheaper.

just an observation, the, I think that's kind of an interesting thing to think about in our industry because in this communication that we were talking about earlier where people are doing this, unquote behind the scenes communication and, and illuminating the struggles and talking through how to address these outside of their own silo.

And yet there's, there's still this very

dominant of feeling of, know, being in, in concrete the way of thinking, at in, in these larger entities and organizations,

Mark Thorley: we have a saying, don't we, Dave? Uh, internally. there's a common saying, I guess within startups that you're supposed to fail

fast, right? we've kind of taken that and said, let's throw as many things at the wall as possible and see what sticks, which, is the same analogy.

really. There's certain companies within our industry that, they spin up, r and d teams and small incubation teams that are in essence running startups within the, bigger organization. and I think there's always gonna be, companies that, pave the way a little bit.

again, we don't need to necessarily name names, but, there's some very well known arch architectural practices that, you know, lead in the way, in terms of some [00:29:00] of the stuff they're doing, big contractors that are doing the, the same as well. So, I think as long as that startup nature somehow finds its way into, the companies within our space, I think, the innovation will continue.

Evan Troxel: Anything to add to that, David?

David Flynn: Yeah, I suppose one of the things that was initially a negative for us, when we were pivoting into product and starting to sKOPE, what this. You know, platform of KOPE might be, was that we were consultancy. So there this initial reluctance to back us and, and kind of stand by division of what we were trying to achieve there.

I think what's happened over the last maybe year, probably since, covid lockdowns have ended and we've been able to go back into offices more and get back to that kind of one-to-one relationship with a lot of our customers has been that the power of being able to understand what they do day-to-day and slightly adjust your approach to that is really beneficial.

if we were never to work with a volumetric or a, let's say a 2D panelized fabricator, and we were only really coming at this from an architectural point of view, we would absolutely be building the wrong thing, [00:30:00] without a doubt. . The issue that I think a lot of software companies have initially is that they have a vision.

They build a version of that and they go and try and sell And what we've been trying to do is say, no, we're gonna try and solve the that you're asking us to solve, which we're finding quite consistent. we're gonna solve it through a mix of some consulting engagement to start that process.

And then utilizing the technology that we built to KOPE all with the vision of basically saying, okay, well these are the priorities of what we need to build in the tool. and directing our dev team down that path. So I'm pretty sure that if we had dropped away from engaging our market, uh, through consultancy two years ago, KOPE wouldn't be as as useful as it is for the partners that we're working with.

So, It's definitely been helpful obviously, that, you don't want a false positive there and you don't want to necessarily, um, have confirmation bias and, and these things, know, that's the secret of success

really, is to make sure that you don't fall into those traps.

Evan Troxel: Well, I think we've buried the lead for long enough. Mark, maybe you can jump into what KOPE is and why it exists. 

Mark Thorley: Yeah. guess I [00:31:00] can start with, I think really why it.

exists. as we said at the start there,

we, you know, we were working a lot within the offsite space. we really see this as the future of our industry. and, the supply chain becoming productized , is really where the industry needs to go.

there's plenty of reports and, documentation around some of the challenges within the industry as we know it now, we're really starting to see the negative impact of that, the labor shortages and, you know, rising, material prices and, all of these things that are really catalysts to, the challenges ahead.

and, for want of a better word, we've really put all our eggs in that basket. Um, you know, we see this as the, solving. , uh, scenario for the industry. And so for us it was a case of, well, actually how do we help the industry as a whole move towards offsite construction quicker?

And how do we help companies that are more traditional in either the way that they design or the way that they construct? How do we actually help them, , adopt offsite construction? And that was, at a high level. That's really the North star vision for KOPE.[00:32:00] 

behind the scenes, the way in which, KOPE is working at the moment, we have two technologies that kind of underpin our overall software platform. So we have a marketplace for offsite construction, and at the moment we have. a UK based marketplace and a North American based marketplace.

And they contain, all different suppliers, , all different consultants, so even architects, engineers, anyone, anyone really working in the offsite space. and the whole idea there is to first of all give visibility into the, new supply chain that's beginning to form around construction.

people don't know what exists. If you wanted to go and buy a bathroom pod, or if you wanted to go and buy a steel frame or, you know, a volumetric module, you wouldn't necessarily know, what suppliers there are out there. what solutions exist. So really that's the opportunity for our industry to really try and embrace offsite construction in a way that we feel it, needs to be embraced.

and so that marketplace, works at an organization level, and then we can actually delve into the different [00:33:00] products that all of those suppliers and manufacturers offer as well. And so the second, part of the technology piece is our products application platform. there's been a lot of talk over the last, couple of years around configurators.

speaking about how we've pivoted and, changed our messaging and understanding of what the industry needs, you know, we feel that actually it's all about the application of products rather than configuring those products. So, our application platform is really about being able to pull in those products from the marketplace, and allow you to design and specify, them in a way that, , you know, really pushes the industry towards offsite construction.

So, I think the challenge we have, with, of adoption is, like I said before, one, understanding what exists out there. And two, you know, now we're working with different products and systems that are manufactured in a way that, potentially we've never built buildings, using previously.

there's a site change in that design process. And so, our platform is there to kind of enable that and, move things, [00:34:00] forward in that, sense.

Evan Troxel: I have a couple questions just to jump in here, which is what my mind is racing around is this idea so I'm looking for confirmation or, just to push back against this is your idea that you are partnering with. Product makers, like physical, know, modular, penalized volume, whatever, however you wanna describe it, you're partnering with them to digitize if, if they already haven't or they probably have, but maybe to some specific level of detail with some standards applied maybe of their products as like a digital

twin, for lack of a better term right now, to put into KOPE as a platform for then design side to use during design.

Mark Thorley: Yeah, in essence, I'll let Dave speak, cause

he's quite passionate around the, content side of things in a second. Um, but yeah, it's, all about

understanding at an early stage of design what systems and what products could be used to actually construct the building. And, you know, often, I think with off offsite construction, often, architects and engineers, they, feel there's [00:35:00] a potential lack of, flexibility that's inherent within. going down that route. and actually that's not necessarily the case. I think it's all about, how do we actually truly take information from a manufacturing standpoint and help it influence and inform design at the early stages. So, you know, what we need to do there is actually ensure that decisions aren't made as part of that design process that are actually gonna limit the choice of systems and products later on.

Evan Troxel: Okay. And then, the next question that, that leads me to, this is very closely related to the work that I'm doing at tact in a very different way, but I think the theme is the same, which is that you are trying to get the right people at the table as early as possible so that, you address those concerns of limitation.


in some respects, limitations are, are fabulous ,right? Constraints are good when it comes to design. and on another level though, like you're dispelling the myths that people have of these preconceived ideas about what's possible with pre-fab modular in, the various [00:36:00] aspects of fabricated. Objects. Right. And so that to me rings so solidly true. That you need, cuz I would assume in this marketplace, David can speak to the technical side of with through the implementation of these models to be used as a kit of parts doing, design work, that the wisdom that's behind that data is just as important, if not more so than the thing itself.

And so by engaging with these companies that put their products in your marketplace, you're also putting the people behind those products into your marketplace. Is that correct?

David Flynn: Yep. That sounds a bit right. I think that's a nice way of, thinking about it. the people who fabricate, products have as much or if not the most amount of, impact in relation to the life of that product. the initial designer will set out criteria, but the actual delivery of that criteria is based on the fabrication and the capabilities of the factory and, and the logistics around transport and, and storage and so on.

[00:37:00] So it's a funny world we live in at the moment where we. Typically consider a digital asset to be a geometric representation of an instance of a thing. So here's a door, that door is, 900 mill wide, and that's an instance of that door, but that's not correct. that door can only be in a wall.

It's not gonna be in a floor, hopefully. there's a certain level of logic and understanding of these components that are just not embedded in the way that we handle digital content. , I think the best example of that I could give you would be, , a piece of work we're doing at the moment, with Langa work, who've been fantastically supportive of what we're doing.

It's been a great journey with them and from their point of they consume a design file that would be quite monolithic. It'll say I have a large building that I'm, I'm hoping to do in precast concrete, but it's all modeled as a monolithic floor, one single piece, across every different level.

And it's very low level of detail. And what they also do is they have the, a basic digital asset of a precast concrete floor deck that they will make [00:38:00] in their factories. And they wanna blend the two things together. So what KOPE is doing is, is taking the requirements of that project, which says, I would expect it to be in pre-cast concrete.

I have these certain crane positions, I have these logistical challenges around transport. I also have some budgetary concerns and it matches them together with the capabilities of what a kind of a KOPE product might be. Which would say if I have a particular slab, over a certain width and length that I'm having, you know, I'm getting optimization benefits of that.

So, I can fill that floor with lots of components that are gonna flood the space. They're gonna fill out what those planks might be, and you're able to get some quantities and build materials from that directly. Now, , the old way of doing this and the way that the industry kind of does it right now is to grid I things.

So it would basically say my typical deck width is, I dunno, four feet. So I'm gonna break a grid across all of that floor and I'm gonna break it down into rectangles. And that's a pretty standard way of approaching this. We're [00:39:00] not doing that. So what we're trying to say is there's an inherent logic inside of that floor deck that says, I would like to be four feet wide, but under certain scenarios I can be a different width.

And these are the manufacturable widths that I can have. And we're using our, our engine to basically mix and match all of those different permutations to give you an optimum, uh, layout for those decks. So what we're basically saying, . I want a digital product, not just a Revit family, not just an IFC file, not, not just a pdf.

Um, I'm actually getting something that understands logic and rules and I'm applying that to the design. So it's leveraging some of our backgrounds, um, around computational generative design that we worked with. Particularly some of the Autodesk stuff that we did a couple years ago. But it's really looking at what does the world look like.

If I want to productize construction, I cannot have a gigantic library of static instance information that we've tried that there's lots of them out there. It's unmanageable. The right way to do an interview in our, in our vision is that it's logic [00:40:00] based. So we're gonna understand the capabilities of that product and we're gonna apply that through math onto this design file.

Um, we're not gonna go down the path of, um, giving you something that's static and hoping a designer doesn't explode or break it or change the rules. We're always gonna have that connection, that really rigid connection. Back to the fabrication piece.

Evan Troxel: and, and where the, you are using the word logic and I'm, and that is different than wisdom. I don't want to 

confuse the two I, the, but they are, they do kind of go hand in hand in that the logic is defined by the people with the wisdom. And Then the idea that you have access to. The logic is important during design, but design is not, uh, I'm trying to figure out the right way to say this, but it's like design is, is also knowing or hoping like that you can break the rules and that's where things get kind of special, right? Or they have to because of, you know, different environmental or, physical constraints or code or, or whatever.

And that to me is where the importance of [00:41:00] the people behind all this stuff to be able to pop in at that moment and say, yeah, we can make that happen. And, and that's where things get interesting. And that to me what is missing from so many. Platforms out there, right? Which is like, you know, Revit 


David Flynn: Yeah. you hope for the 

Evan Troxel: that's what it is. Like you're talking about these, this idea of static objects. And so to reframe that and, and talk about it from a logic standpoint to me makes a lot of sense as a designer, because there's a lot of people who talk about this stuff in our industry who have never been through, or they're even designing the software that you're talking about, not, not yours, but others out there that have never done the thing, have never been an architect, have never had to talk to a client and walk them through something, have never walked on site to see how something gets installed.

And there's so many levels to that that I think that le that disconnection from the actual building of the physical thing and all of the steps between here and there weigh into. [00:42:00] Like to me that that's how you become a real architect, And software isn't gonna just enable anybody to do anything.

It's How can we interpret the code here to get around that? How can we go outside of the bounds of this typical component to do something that we need to do here? And all of that is, is where it comes back to people. And so this idea of you infusing logic, but still, I, I would hope being able to say, Hey, I, I just need a little bit of help here.

And, and enabling those people to be found. Is a key part of that. Like, that's something else that we're doing at Tect right? It's like we can't know everything about everything. We have too many things to be concerned about on the project as the architect. And so stop trying. Just, say I'm gonna phone a friend now and they're going to be able to.

Produce the information that you need right when you need it is such a key part of this whole process. And I feel like a lot of companies are steering us away from that and I feel like we actually need to steer directly toward that 

because [00:43:00] those people in the industry already exist. Like we don't have to do anything special there.

They're already there. Right. And that to me is a very small step, kind of getting back to this training of the pigeon idea, right? Which is just phone a friend, have that phone call for 20 minutes instead of searching for four hours on Google to find the Revit family that you're looking for. Not even really knowing if it's the right thing or not, but hey, it checks the box off today.

I put the thing in the model and I can move on to the next step. Well, it might not be 

David Flynn: Yeah. 

Evan Troxel: to do.

David Flynn: That, that last point there, Evan, I think is the most important one, is that, is the ability to make a relatively high level decision, without necessarily diving into detail at speed. And one of the things that myself and Mark have really realized, over our careers has been that, you know, these design offices

astronomical levels of talent. Like there's such incredibly talented people buried in them. And what they tend to do is to explore options around something that's a little bit, uh, intangible. So you'll, you'll have a lot of people who are doing pretty incredible work in [00:44:00] Grasshopper or Dynamo who are subdividing surfaces and they're understanding how to put the sad systems together to get the right, you know, turmoil requirements or sun requirements, whatever it is for that system that they're working on.

And what we're trying to do is take that approach and that passion and that drive that's already there and say, well, how about you don't just push and pull rectangles around? How about you actually push and pull a product within the capabilities of that, production system and, and tie those two things together?

So continue to do your iteration, continue to do really cool exploratory work, but base it on something that's real and it's really leveraging. Our own background in that computational space, uh, to bring those two things together. So something that's as gritty and real as a big concrete deck, but actually the application of it can be done at high speed, iterate bin it, if it doesn't work, try it again.

Change supplier, change material, and keep that cycle moving forward. So, it's really about allowing the designers to be able to explore things [00:45:00] in that real capacity, but also leveraging that wisdom that sits in the fabrication place.

Evan Troxel: So talk about the, the real nuts and bolts differences. Maybe, maybe not at super granular detail, but like give people an idea of what makes. Using KOPE different than what they're already using, right? Everybody knows what they're already using. What is that

experience like for people?

Because I think one thing that we have to bridge the gap here is how is this different than what I'm used to doing and why would it matter

to me?

Mark Thorley: Yeah, I mean, I think we, we touched on it before about, um, you know, getting to a, an end state and being able to take, you know, small micro steps to get there. Um, and you know, one of the things that probably through all the consulting work that we've done in the past, you know, one, one thing that I think Dave and I, realized fairly early on is that the best way to get any kind of new software across the line is to ensure that it doesn't break existing habits.

And you're not, you know, [00:46:00] telling someone to completely change how they're delivering work currently. Um, so you know, the way. that KOPEs Working within the current design process is, you know, the designer, you know, architect, engineer, whoever that might be, they, they're still working within Revit or Archicad or wherever that, uh, initial design piece might be done.

Um, and as Dave says, it's all about iteration at this stage. So, you know, they're pushing and pulling things. They're understanding, you know, what, uh, uh, you know, solar study, uh, requirements might be. They're looking at shadowing, they're looking at, you know, general massing. They're in that kind of early stage conceptual, uh, design phase.

And so all they're able to do then is push a model that, they've settled on as a particular option. Maybe they're actually able to push that to KOPE and say, let's validate this model as against some of the products in the marketplace and see if that can be, built using, offsite systems.

And, whether that's. , you know, using a timber floor cassette or whether it's using a precast[00:47:00] concrete slab or whether it's using a steel floor cassette KOPE's, able to, you know, take in the project requirements take in that design intent and then tell you which solutions in the market uh, are suitable to.

And it's that, you know, being able to actually understand that making these decisions for, as a designer for whatever reason, you know, be it aesthetic, be it functional, but actually I know that, you know, when this gets further down the path that I know that this can be constructed in a meaningful way.

And I, I think that's really what we're, what we're trying to achieve here. It's, it's all about bringing, you know, those products that, you know, obviously at the moment everything's done in a very traditional way in construction. But I think, you know, the way the industry's heading give it five, 10 years from now, the entire supply chain's gonna be productized.

70, 80% of all buildings will probably be prefabricated in, in some regards, in some way. Uh, you know, we're already seeing a lot of that here in the uk. So, to lean into that, how do we bring those products that all these manufacturers are producing and how do we put them into the design [00:48:00] process earlier?

Um, and that's, that's really what KOPEs enabling, uh, designers at the forefront to be able to do not change their existing process still, you know, use the current design tools that they're familiar with, still work in the same way, still work in the same very iterative process, as Dave says, really make decisions and changes to design based on how that might actually be built.

So think of it as another addition to, a solar study that someone might do or, um, you know, a decision that they might be making for embodied carbon. All of these decisions that happened very early on are are based around some form of requirements on the project. All we're doing is adding a construction piece to that now.

So actually we're, we're thinking about how this thing's actually gonna be constructed further down the line. Um, cuz too often than not, and, you know, being an architect, you'll have been through this yourself as well and you know, all well and good, making all these fancy shapes in the early stages. And then, you know, it goes into detail design, technical design into construction and it slowly gets value [00:49:00] engineered the whole way through.

We need to try and get to a position where we're, you know, we're not value engineering these buildings down. and I think, you know, bringing the products into the, design process earlier will actually help that.

Evan Troxel: So what's really driving your decisions to go this particular route? I mean, you, you obviously are getting specific about offsite construction. And I'm we could interpret that in different ways of why that's important to you guys, but why is it important to you guys?

David Flynn: Um, maybe I can speak to the, that kind of first moment. Uh, where that came from, Evan, we, we worked with a volumetric modular company in the uk and, um, we basically spent two years including a lot of lockdowns, working through a process that would bring them from a low-level design file into their fabrication content instantly.

All built on top of Revit, all built on top of the idea that you would have a low-level model that would essentially articulate design intent, for let's say a house type. And you already.[00:50:00] , your sequencing of fabrication that was happening on the floor. So those two things are relatively well defined, but the translation of information between the two of them was very disconnected.

And how we did that was we basically went to each team, each essentially each station in the factory and said, well, how do you do your, your job? Like, what do you do? Um, why do you break a wall? to the plasterboard in this particular way. How, why do you insulate in this particular way? Why is the bats in in this particular Order? And all of that was then codified, and turned into some automation steps that we had inside Revit. And we were able to get them from that early stage, low level detail model into something that was actually driving the cutting machines on the factory floor automatically, directly from the Revit file.

Super successful. We're really happy with how that went. It was, it was a great experience for us, but we realized that the logic that we'd built was ultra customized, it was hyper-specific to what they did. And the idea that you would maybe, uh, you know, agnostic justify that. So you would move it a tear up and you would [00:51:00] say, well, maybe anyone is putting plasterboard onto a prefabricated steel frame.

Might use something similar. And let's say that they want to then turn that into a closed cassette and they want to sell that cassette, what would the logic look like? And so we started to design the process that would be a little bit removed from one company and basically say, well, let's focus on the product.

So let's think about the logic of that construction piece and how that might get installed. And that, that then led us into the world of KOPE. So, um, it was kind of organic. I think from, from that step, we knew that. Pretty good at the computational piece. It was something that we were, um, one of the leaders at anyway.

Um, but where we really lacked a lot of knowledge was in the fabrication space, and we really didn't understand how that was happening. So we leveraged those partnerships. We started to, to, to involve ourselves with a lot more businesses who were doing that. We brought the computation to the table with them, and we started to write the logic for, these, how these processes would work.

What was fascinating though, was realizing the amount of tech you'd have to build [00:52:00] to actually get that to work. Um, and that's kind of where that the concept of marketplace was developed and, you know, optimization and, uh, automatic drawings and automatic, uh, bill of materials and all these different things to string together a, a vision for that.

But it definitely lent into that first piece, which was, can we automate a process for an offsite company as the client? They have a very regular process and then start to move it

a tear up from there. 

Evan Troxel: Hmm. And, and has this enabled these manufacturers of these assemblies or products, you know, to. Uh, it seems like if you build it, they will come, if you have a marketplace for those kinds of things. Specifically, has this opened up, uh, to enable businesses to become something that, you know, maybe they're pivoting away from traditional construction into this or new factories are, are springing up because there's basically this, I don't know, Shopify for these, these kinds of products now.

David Flynn: Yeah, that's a good question. I interestingly, that's actually kind of leaning onto the [00:53:00] commercial aspect of the fabrication piece in the first place. So if you have a company who have pre-fabricated elements that they would like to. to, to actually put into their buildings that they're winning. Let's say you're a general contractor, you, have been bidding for a project.

You probably have your design system understood and your supply chain understood of how you actually want to get this thing built. What we're providing is the ability to then say, well, let's digitize those systems and let's have them, uh, applicable instantly. So with the Lango work example, the main driver there is to make more planks and to more wall assemblies, to place more of them into a project.

And the therefore the business growth will happen secondarily. Um, and the old way of doing that would take, let's say six weeks, and you'd sit there and you'd, you'd do your grid and you'd start to break the, the slab down and you'd start to break the walls down. You'd have a, a couple of designers working through that.

What we're now doing is saying, well, how about you bid for more projects? And how about we always push our products [00:54:00] into them? We always test. All of your pre fabricated products in there and see the growth of the way that we're actually starting to get them applied. So that's kind of the journey that we're on at the moment.

So the division, from your point of view, is to really allow people to be able to get their products into more projects. That's the, that's the kind of, you know, the tagline to a certain extent. Um, but we, we don't fill ourselves into thinking that we understand the nuance of the fabrication commercials themselves within those businesses.

It's a incredibly competitive, uh, industry and it's also one with very fine margins a lot of the time. So, um, we're still learning a lot about that space.

Evan Troxel: and is. Platform taking out the bidding process, like how has it changed and Yeah. So there's different ways that projects are delivered. Right? And this probably narrows that down substantially, 

but, but, it's like, is that, is it making it easier for people to understand, I mean, obviously it's making 'em easier to understand costs, but then I would assume, you know, I come from a, a public [00:55:00] project kind of standpoint where there was the bidding process, low bid, all those things.

It seems to me like in this, you're removing that from it. And so are you guys specifically seeing, things play out in an advantageous way from that aspect as well?

David Flynn: yeah, heavily. Um, we're really lucky to be in a country where the approach has been to set up frameworks, so to set up pre-organized supply chains for the delivery of consistent building types. It's very, very dominant approach in the UK at the moment. And the, the ability then for us to provide software to, let's say a hospital framework where the, the wall buildup is highly, highly consistent across projects.

And the, the growth of the commercial aspect for the manufacturers is all tied to the amount of hospitals being built, not just how many walls are in one hospital. been quite useful for us. So we we're basically in a situation where we can say, within our framework, We're gonna digitize that supply chain for a certain level of the componentry that goes in the building, [00:56:00] and we'll give you that cost assurance directly from the fabricator, , as opposed to just being through that, you know, traditional tender process.

So you're able to have that cost be applicable really quickly. , it's a little bit different when it, when you move outside of the framework because there's millions of products and there's millions of building types. But when you get into something that's a little bit pre-ordained, it's, it's

hyper, hyper. 

Evan Troxel: And so then does it also. Help with the procurement process, because if the software is, you know, you're picking stuff off the shelf, the marketplace to put into your model and decisions are being made, is there some point at which those decisions kind of get locked in and that can start

the procurement process earlier so that

these projects can happen quicker? Like, Is that ecosystem developing 

or, is it working? 

Mark Thorley: that's definitely something that's on our kind of roadmap for the future. I, I think what, you know, to some degree we, we know what we know and we know what we don't know. Um, and I think that has got us to where we, we, we have, fairly well to date. Uh, procurement is a [00:57:00] big beast in 

construction. Um, especially when you consider the, the change of what would be needed to procure something, offsite.

Especially if you are procuring multiple systems from multiple different manufacturers, um, obviously, you know, design and build and, subcontractors and it, it just changes the, you know, the, the, the playing field a little bit. Um, and so I think in the, in the long term, we, we have aspirations that KOPE can be the catalyst to, to change some of that, because, you know, you know better than anyone as well.

I think we touched on it before around, you know, some of the challenges with, you know, resorting back to risk mitigation and, that's typically the approach that happens with, big contractors and, um, you know, the way that they deliver buildings at the moment. So, yeah, I, I mean we have aspirations to, change that.

Whether we're able , to build something that enables that is, , I guess, For 



Evan Troxel: It, it does seem kinda like an obvious future step because it seems to me like , [00:58:00] the thing that I keep thinking as you guys are talking is it, as a designer, as an architect using a system like this, it, it builds confidence along the way a lot faster in what's gonna actually happen in the physical. In a much shorter amount of time than traditionally happens on projects, right? So I think there's always this sense of confidence that we can build what we design, but, but this is a different beast, right? This is like, this is a product. And so because it's already a product, it already exists the physical world.

This is a digital representation of it. I already know it works. And on some level I would assume I already know that it's available, that I can get it, how much it costs. Like there's all of these things that kind of help build that confidence along the way. And that, you know, it's not for every architect out there, for every practice, but it is for the ones that adopt this methodology of doing projects, it really makes a lot of sense.

It just reinforces along the way, [00:59:00] it's this reinforcement mechanism of like, yep, this is totally possible. This is totally possible up this, I'm not sure it's possible. Let me, let me reach out and talk to somebody. Okay, yep. That's possible. We can do that. We can get around that. And, and that to me shortens the time span because again, architect will have this kind of sense that like, yeah, we, we will figure out a way to do this.

But that figuring out is like eight weeks away or 12 weeks away or two years away. And architects n used to working like that, right? It's like big picture. We start with a sketch, we start with ideation, and then we continually refine that until we figured all that stuff out and coordinated it all.

And that, that happens over an extremely prolonged amount of time. It seems like with a system like this, it enables things to move much faster. and again, that isn't for everybody on every project, but it does seem like for the projects that it is really. Suited for that. It just shortens those time periods so much, to build that confidence along the way.

And you just know that what you're delivering is gonna [01:00:00] work because everybody on the platform is a professional. They wouldn't be there offering their products if they didn't stand behind them. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of, is the product going to perform as I need it to? Because like, there's somebody right who's done it before saying, yep, it absolutely works.

Here's an example. You can go look at it yourself. It just seems to me it takes a lot of that prolonged amount of time out of this process, which I guess ultimately is great for projects to actually happen faster.

Um, but, but,

just overall, like that's one of the big things holding industry back, right, is just the speed at which things actually happen.

Mark Thorley: Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, I think just to tie into that as well, every

project is unique in some regards.

and The drivers for what that project's trying to achieve are, are fairly unique as well. And so all, all KOPE is enabling is that, upfront decision making, and giving informed choices.

So, you know, one time it might be a case of, okay, we're, we're trying to [01:01:00] optimize to reduce cost. I'm sure that happens on, on most projects. But, uh, you know, and another project, it might be around reducing embodied carbon. It might be around, You know, improving the, project, program, you know, getting it built as quickly as possible.

So all these things come into play, and when you put products in the center of that, you can really drive some very unique decisions early on. Let's go with this manufacturer because they've got a load of these products in stock and they're available to move into our program fairly quickly.

You know, it, it's all about decision making, I think at the end of the day. And, if we can improve that decision making, then as you said there, then the timeframe for, you know, a lot of this process is shortened. You know, we don't need to go back and forth the usual kind of way in, you know, emails and phone calls and, you know, five, six, seven, eight weeks before we've, know, come to a decision.

We can actually make those on the fly fairly 

David Flynn: Yeah. And I'd add to that, to the idea of trust as well. I think Evan, you kind of touched on it there. The reality is that designers [01:02:00] typically either don't trust, let's say a Revit family, that they might be loading into a project to truly be the true representation of what they're intent is.

You know, it's just a placeholder to a certain extent or they don't do it at all. And it's maybe just done as a, some 2D information that sits within a PDF set. Um, There isn't really that connection and what we're trying to achieve here is to say, no, we're actually gonna put the product into your project.

It's literally the product, it's, it's got all the data that you require. It's directly connected back to the people who understand why it does what it does, and connect it all the way through to the design piece. But to do that, you gotta build a lot and you gotta kind of sit adjacent to some of the legacy tools that are out there.

It's kinda where we find ourselves today.

Evan Troxel: This has been a great conversation, gentlemen. I think there's probably even more that we could get into, but I do feel like we're running long on this particular one, so maybe we'll, we'll continue this conversation in the future. , this whole idea of decision making early.[01:03:00] , which is when decisions have the most power.

And if you think about it, you know, just kind of wrapping up here thematically, that's what a set of documents in construction is, right? It's just decisions on paper. Like these are the decisions that we've all made along the way to get to here. And by including the logic, like the wisdom idea, the decisions that can have the most impact are made are early.

So the earlier you infuse your decisions with logic, with real products, with the wisdom of the people behind those it makes such an enormous impact. And again, to kind of build confidence in the system early helps also along the way. And that, that, I don't think that could be understated.

So I, I applaud the work that you're doing and of the breadth at which you're, you're tackling this issue, and so I'll include links to you guys, the company KOPE, all of that in the show notes. Is there anything else that you want to add before we hit stop on the record button here?[01:04:00] 

David Flynn: Just a thank you, I suppose, uh, for having us on and also for, for, uh, you know, helping. Um, people like ourselves and, and other

people that on your podcast to actually kind of talk about these topics. I think it's, uh, it's really reassuring for a lot of us that there's many like-minded people out there doing insanely cool work.

Um, it's great to, great to see it, so thanks for that. 

Mark Thorley: Yeah, just echo Dave's comment, sir. Thanks. Thanks for having us on. Evan. I've

been a big fan of

your podcast for a while now,

so, happy to join the conversation.


some great things going on in construction at the moment and, I think that there is light over the hill, you know, in relation to where the industry's going, even with all the kind of negative press that we've come so familiar with.

So, um, I think it's an exciting time to be in construction, to be honest. And I think we need to continue these conversations and keep moving the industry forward as best we can.

Evan Troxel: All right. Until next time. Cheers guys.

David Flynn: Thanks, Evan. 

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