Epcon BIM Designer Taylor Kuhlman discusses the next generation of connected homebuilding

Discover how Taylor Kuhlman, a BIM designer at Epcon Communities, leverages Higharc's intelligent data modeling to revolutionize drafting teams and optimize operations for production builders.

In the world of building design, individuals like Taylor Kuhlman stand out. Raised in a family steeped in construction tradition, Kuhlman has devoted over thirteen years to refining his expertise in the architectural engineering and construction industry.

Taylor, a BIM designer at Epcon Communities, comes from a long line of builders who started their own company in the late 1950s. After earning his Bachelor of Science from Ohio Northern University's prestigious construction management program, he honed his expertise through a seven-year tenure at Schaefer, a reputed commercial structural engineering firm, where he served as a draftsman and Revit modeler.

Conor Sedam, Customer Marketing Manager at Higharc, sat down with Taylor to understand and share his journey and how tools like Higharc have helped him grow in his career.

If you're a production builder looking to optimize your operations, this conversation illustrates exactly how Higharc's intelligent data modeling can revolutionize your drafting teams and eliminate bottlenecks.

Conor: You've worked in Higharc for a few years now, and you've worked in other drafting programs before as well. Tell me about the similarities and differences between the software systems you’ve used.

Taylor: Early on, I was trying to compare other systems to Higharc and vice versa and trying to find similarities. I was so used to doing things a certain way that it was more comfortable for me to try and find similarities. But I found out very quickly that it's very different. I think the biggest difference between software systems specific to drafting, is the automation, which Higharc is the most capable.

In Higharc, if you draw a box or a house, you get the walls, the exterior facade, windows, and doors. In other systems, you can draw that same box, and you only get walls. You have to model the windows and the doors individually. And when you start putting things on plan and tagging certain elements like window size or size of doors, those tags are also individual components within that model.

With Higharc, though, when you draw four walls, you get so much more out of it. That's the biggest difference I noticed right off the bat. That blew me away, and obviously, that saves time.

With Higharc, though, when you draw four walls, you get so much more out of it. That's the biggest difference I noticed right off the bat. That blew me away, and obviously, that saves time.

There will always be some editing involved, but with two clicks, you can get a bunch of different elements and components within your studio file. That's just a huge time saver and a big game-changer.

The amount of individual components that a model takes to build a home is in the hundreds. You have to physically touch, move and align each one, and it definitely becomes very tedious work.

In Higharc, you draw a box, you break it up into rooms, you put your roof on it, and the majority of those elements are automated and already there for you to input information to produce the house you want specifically. I haven't exactly timed it, but the process takes way less time in Higharc. Maybe 50-75% faster.

Conor:  What advice from the architecture and drafting side would you give not just a franchisee but any builder who is looking to scale? What can builders do on the drafting side to scale our operations?

Taylor: First, keep your homes simple but unique, which means designing a home that is efficient, easy to build, and easy on everything in the background that people don't see. But also unique enough for the customer so when you walk the final product, it just blows them away without the builder having to do a ton of work behind the scenes.

Second, limit the options that you offer. You might be offering options that don't even sell, but you're still maintaining them, which eats up resources. Find your best sellers, the ones that people really like, and just get good at those options. Be really good at your bread and butter.

For Epcon, that's our P series. I think we can probably build those three homes with our eyes closed now. I think what took our company to the next level was just getting really good at what we do best.

Last, provide resources to your drafting and architecture departments. Spend the money to get the best software. It can really bog you down when you don't have the best software or computers — you end up wasting time and efficiency. Spend a little money on software that can take you to the next level.

Here at Epcon, we've made a great investment in Higharc. Having a great system in place to set your employees up for success is huge. Related to that is investments in training. Training and investing in your people is invaluable. People need to learn new things, not get stuck in the mud, and evolve over time.

Conor: You're a grizzled veteran now and a new dad as well. What's your advice for people interested in the residential construction world? What's the most important thing you think for people to know if they're coming out of school?

Taylor: It sounds pretty simple, but don't stop thinking. Be innovative. Suggest ideas. There's always a different way to do something — you just have to think of it.

We get so bogged down in our day-to-day work that we're just doing what we know. And if you really just try and think of new ideas and new ways of doing something, suggest those to your superiors, and see what they say — I think they would appreciate that type of stuff.

So I would say don't get stuck in your old ways. Always try to evolve and think of different processes or ways to set your company up for success in the future. The next generation is so important for this industry to help it evolve to a better future.

Always try to evolve and think of different processes or ways to set your company up for success in the future. The next generation is so important for this industry to help it evolve to a better future.

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Ready to see how Higharc can help level up your drafting and design teams? Contact our team to find out how our intelligent building models can transform the way you build homes.

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