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If it weren’t for modern models of vehicles and machines, at a certain distance this classic artwork would look the same today as it did in the nineties. But the reality is in the details. You approach the magnifying glass like the village of Asterix and you see a crucial sector (10.5% of GDP in 2019, according to Statista) in full mutation of substance and form.

Almost all are digitized, but real estate, due to the diversity of actors and social impact, serves as few as a model to understand the opposing forces between opportunity and resistance to change. Its digitization has a name: Proptech, technologies applied to real estate.

“The ability of people to inform themselves about both their rights and their possibilities has greatly improved. It allows them to carry out procedures more quickly, compare characteristics, prices and conditions of properties for both the user and the companies and improve wealth management. It is a way of taking advantage of the data for the benefit of all ”, explains Pere Navarro, president of BNEW Real Estate (one of the largest real estate meetings in Europe) and of Barcelona Meeting Point, as well as special delegate of the State in the Consortium of the Zone Franca de Barcelona (CZFB).

Errors are repaired in the digital model and its evolutionary leap already points to the industrialization of processes

Xavier Vilajoana, president of APCE

For the planning, promotion and construction trio to deserve a “4.0” it has to integrate another trio: the BIM methodology (Building Information Modeling, the aggregation of the multiple 3D layers of the project project that is a work), plus the system of Lean Construction organization and the IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) model of collaborative contracts.

Translation: the three integrate in a shared platform of design, development, organization and decision-making the tense ecosystem of actors (architects, engineering companies, structuralists, promoters, construction companies, contractors, suppliers …) to build with data what is later reproduced by cement. and bricks. “Errors are repaired in the digital model and its evolutionary leap already points to the industrialization of processes”, explains Xavier Vilajoana, president of the Association of Promoters and Constructors of Buildings of Catalonia (APCE).

Pieces cut like a tailor’s pattern

BIM saves a foreman from a bad start to the day by discovering that the space provided for a downspout is occupied by a load-bearing pillar. A very expensive mistake to correct a posteriori and unthinkable in the computer model. Planning to the millimeter promises to reduce waste, that tile that used a triangle size dorito for an auction and the rest, to the rubble.

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When industrialization advances, explains Vilajoana, “it will be normal to order the pieces of plasterboard cut like the pattern of a suit, even with the hole for the ventilation ducts ”. Or the exact number of half bricks.

It is not only sustainable due to its tendency to zero waste, with the consequent energy savings in production and transport, but also due to the calculation of energy efficiency from increasingly precise variables, from the insulating capacity of a plaster material to a radiant ceiling or orientation.

And isn’t that efficiency party going to save me a few thousand? Any buyer will say. Not much or not at the moment. Because the final price depends on other factors in addition to the invoice of the work. And because the possible cost and time savings of BIM and other Proptech has yet to overcome an internal resistance: digitization in traditional trades that account for 75% of the intervention.

Planning to the millimeter promises to reduce waste, that tile that used a triangle size dorito for an auction and the rest, to the rubble.

Far are the glory of the real estate bubble, when a formworker could charge more than the director of a construction company. There is hardly any generational change, Vilajoana points out, but precisely digitization (more efficiency, more productivity, more social prestige …) would be one of the reengagement stimuli. “I would tell a son who studied architecture to also set up a paletería company, but well, with qualified training, he would have plenty of work.”

Virtual reality visits

Or an agency of real estate agents (API) at the other end of the sector, where Proptech comes into direct contact with buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. Until not so long ago, a way to get to know a city in depth, even your own, was to run from floor to floor with the supplement of real estate ads stamped with a marker.

Today augmented or mixed reality allows a 360º tour in 3D and saves time / money and frustration with a filter to visit only viable candidates. Some developer simulators allow you to configure a home as a high-end car on the dealer’s website. In this teak flooring shower, this island countertop in the kitchen, here this reference in the pantone Of paint…

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Efficient technology, direct to the user experience, but far from the only one. Josep Manel Ventosa, corporate executive director of the servicer Servihabitat, highlights many, from the electronic signature in the hiring or renewal of rentals to apps mobile devices applied to the management of agents, in addition to big data, artificial intelligence and business intelligence to understand patterns of market and customer behavior, robotization for the automation of information flows or digital images of a furnished house before the first brick or the projection of a reform.

There is scope for creativity, such as the smart lock that a client opens with his mobile so that he can visit a home alone, at any time. “We are living a paradigm shift, and operators that continue to not offer an attractive digital platform for this new type of buyer will lose market share, the good news is that all the players in the sector are on time,” says Ventosa.

Very informed clients

We are talking about homes not only built but promoted, selected, sold and bought on data distilled into transcendent information. For Fernando Conde, founder and president of the Newland Property Management consultancy, one of the keys to digitization is access to an exhaustive dossier full of market studies, characteristics, compared price and all the administrative data from the cadastre to the registration certificate. habitability. “Today any client has more knowledge about a home than the most applied seller 10 years ago.”

Some developer simulators allow you to configure a home as a high-end car on the dealer’s website

Conde believes that for now there will be a market for everyone, pure digital customers or those attached to the analog way. But the first group will gain ground and better see the cultural transformation of the APIs as a mandatory opportunity. This is the association of the APIs of Catalonia from at least three fronts and with the aim of extending them to the rest of the Spanish associations.

One, “the client and not the property as the center of the business, the agent as a service provider before, during and after the sale, such as tax or financial advice and technical and emotional support in that mortgage process. to the notary who makes his legs shake ”, explains Vicenç Hernández, president of the APIs of Catalonia and CEO of Tecnotramit. Two, err that err in front of the administration to regulate a sector that today totals some 30,000 APIs in all of Spain and only 4,000 members, with official registration and training, continuous recycling, code of ethics and a court that decides on bad practices for a jump qualitative quality of professional prestige. Three, mutually beneficial pacts with startups through platforms like MapPropTech. They put the technology and the agencies, the test lab on the real market, even financing.

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Not all technologies have to be tolerant of intermediaries, the blockchain can certify security in direct sale from owner to new owner. Amazon’s fearsome foray to sell houses like any other product would be possible.

Digitization brings transparency

Will all this sociological transformation take hold? Will the change of mentality accompany the digital one? Not a single doubt about it, the question is how and when.

“The network is a confessional, it knows everything, and Proptech brings transparency, efficiency and above all peace of mind to both parties, because we sell trust,” says Conde. “The new habits after the pandemic will strengthen digitization, it is a natural and organic matter,” adds Ventosa. For Hernández, “the world advances and the transformation will fall under its own weight because we are talking about safety for the user, period”.

“Everything helps,” Vilajoana concludes, “the environment, the evolution of mentality and technology. We have an opportunity to boost the engine and attract foreign investment with more legal certainty. The change, if it is not by conviction, will be by drag. So we better do it out of conviction ”.

BNEW Real Estate, the impact multiplier

Proptech not only has an economic impact, but also a social one. Not all assets have an express mention in the Constitution, for example.

In a still incipient digitization process (“with the pandemic it has multiplied by four”, says Vicenç Hernández, president of the Association of Real Estate Agents of Catalonia) international forums such as BNEW are multipliers of this impact. “It acts as a Connection Hub and is very positive for the sector, it fosters digital ecosystems, networking and the exchange of information and experiences ”, explains Josep Manel Ventosa, corporate executive director of Servihabitat, one of the servicers participants.

“Last year we celebrated the first edition of BNEW,” adds Blanca Sorigué, CEO of CZFB, “and we already said that it had come to stay. We had about 11,000 participants from 111 countries, with 90% connected online, and its high technological and innovation component has allowed us to generate synergies between companies and promote business opportunities for a sector that suffered a lot from confinement, but which is key to economic recovery ”.

The second edition of BNEW will be held from October 5 to 8 in Barcelona.

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