Shaken not stirred

When Matt Chernishov signed on to the payroll only a couple of months ago, we thought his intriguing name deserved an intriguing job title so we dubbed him Head of Stealth Projects. Matt is a builder with an MBA – yep go figure – and although he sounds like an undercover operative, his role at Box™ is out there in the open. His unique skillset is being put to work transforming the stick-by-stick building operation into one where pre-made parts are assembled on site.

Matt likens the process he is developing to the cut-out dinosaur kits he used to be gifted for birthdays as a child. The grown-up game uses precision machined panels that fit together on site like a cardboard cut-out to form floors, walls and roof structures.

Of course, no good stealth operator would be without his high-tech gadgetry and for Matt that is the BIM (Building Information Management) system. “We’re playing with Google Sketchup with the Plus Spec plug in,” he explains for those who care for the technical data. The beauty of BIM is that it can tell the operator in an instant what any change out of materials or design will cost. It calculates, for instance, the fiscal implications of switching out Shadowclad for corrugated cladding, or steel windows for aluminium, even suggesting how many more battens would be needed or how heavy and long the result will be and what sort of crane will be required to lift it.

Speaking of which, the plan is for bathroom and kitchen pods to be pre-made in the factory and craned into place in one fell swoop. The canny computer will model exactly where the pre-routed holes for plumbing, wiring and even lifting lugs need to go. This means that all the different trades – window joiners, plumbers, electricians, waterproofing guys – don’t have to travel: they can do their bit in the controlled conditions at the factory. It’s a huge time and cost saver especially when you’re working in remote locations.

The prototype building that Matt has devised – a 20-square metre mini house on Waiheke Island – is scheduled to start construction in February. Watch this space for updates.