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Friday, Aug 19, 2022

Building Los Angeles with Leading Innovation

Swinerton has a long tradition of leading through innovation. More than 130 years ago, Swinerton’s earliest founders were experts in the pioneering use of new materials that withstood the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and became invaluable in rebuilding the city after the ensuing fires.

Swinerton’s forebears thrived by hiring the best people and always adjusting to market conditions. After the Roaring 20s, they found ways to finance and pivot into markets that gained them strength while holding onto the best builders throughout the Great Depression and onto another 90 years of success. Now that Swinerton is entirely employee-owned, motivation and innovative culture are unlimited.

Modern technologies are at use in every part of Swinerton’s business. Administrative processes are using integration tools that automate communication and record keeping as projects go from concept to execution; analytics dashboards and dataflows connect foreman, supervisors, and project teams to critical project controls; and the same data visualization tools connect pre-construction teams or executives to combined metrics that give insight to regional or market specific trends.

Virtual Design and construction teams are collaborating across multiple geographies by sharing 3D models and tracking issues in common platforms that can speak to each other in common while allowing trades the freedom to use the most appropriate design tools for their disciplines. This design coordination is then laying the groundwork for transformational technology like drone-based laser-radar scanning, and computer vision tools that can verify precise locations of work in place or in progress. Soon there will be scalable solutions that integrate sensors, cameras, and edge computing simulations to make in-the-moment scheduling suggestions and can identify construction defect at inception.

Innovation at Swinerton isn’t just chasing the newest shiny objects. It’s doing the work to understand its core capabilities in the context of world events and client needs. The company has worked hard to balance short-term profits with long-term sustainability. Its leaders don’t focus on this quarter as hard they do on this decade of progress. So, Swinerton builds strong relationships based on developing novel solutions for long-term clients and delivering predictable results.

Swinerton’s innovation tactics rest on effective communication. Innovation thrives when Swinerton’s team connects to the story of its brand, the story of its unique human capital (employees and subcontractors), and the stories of Swinerton’s clients together with the critical stories of our time. Swinerton is convinced that cutting edge technology has a place alongside human workers and can improve its business if it can also improve jobsite conditions, accessibility, and the quality of its finished product.

Swinerton’s use of the Canvas drywall finishing robot and Dusty Robotics’ Field Printer are examples of humans working alongside robots to enhance quality and safety while increasing accessibility and enticing a new generation of construction worker to the jobsite. Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence are allowing Swinerton’s project teams flexibility and adaptability while still delivering standardized, enterprise-level insights about cost and schedule, and the company’s Mass-Timber manufacturing is thriving through making connections between 3D design and milling machines while keeping construction teams informed about delivery and installation directives.

We frequently hear that “we must take risks and fail fast,” but this is not a sound directive for an organization that manages huge client investments and project risks at a $5 billion scale. Principled evaluation and open communication are the keys to Swinerton’s innovation. The company fosters psychological safety through rewarding creative thinking, it trains creative thinkers to evaluate and iterate on ideas by establishing internal networks, and it sets strong standards for the success of testing through sharing experience across generations and business units. In the end, Swinterton solves problems by intentionally taking measured risks.

There are guiding principles that just make sense. Swinterton takes vision and mission together to optimize the gift of human labor by reimagining enduring processes through emerging technologies. The company’s targets are set by maximizing the benefits of safety, profitability, risk reduction, sustainability, inclusion, and job satisfaction. Swinerton measures innovation in many ways, but the most critical changes expand the shared value for all its stakeholders.

Learn more at swinerton.com.


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