The idea for Higharc started with the frustrations I experienced in 2018 while trying to build a home in North Carolina. I had a false start with an architect who made costly errors, so I began to look online for a semi-custom, off-the-shelf home design to use instead.
What I found was that there wasn’t an easy way — beyond paying a better architect — to build a semi-custom home on my lot. The online home plans I found were too generic and didn’t take into account the context of my lot: its orientation and grade, the surrounding forest, existing (or lack of) utilities… The issues of complexity and change that an architect would solve hadn’t yet been translated into a modern technology product. I began to believe that there was an opportunity to create something to solve this problem.
In April 2018, I came across a thesis authored by Michael Bergin: “Housing Agency System (HAS): Multi-Criteria Satisficing and Mass-Customization of Homes.” His thesis spoke to an unrealized solution I had been looking for – a way to lessen the complexity of homebuilding using software.
Michael had worked on generative design his whole career, and at the time, was running all of the research functions for architecture, engineering, and construction at Autodesk. After many conversations, Michael agreed to embark on the Higharc mission with me. We were introduced to Thomas Holt (co-founder, VP, Visualization) through one of my friends in the gaming industry, and Michael connected us with Peter Boyer (co-founder, CTO) who was also at Autodesk.
Higharc was born in the fall of 2018, and we set out to create a product that would modernize the process of building a home from the inside out. The first three years of the company were spent developing the product from the ground up, and by bringing industry veterans such as Jennifer Hoops, former Director of Product Development at PulteGroup, and Ed Kubiak, former VP of Construction for both production and high-end, luxury home builders, into our company, we learned a lot about homebuilding in a short amount of time. The current way we build homes in the U.S. is rooted in older, more analog processes that don’t take advantage of modern technology. In fact, most of the major design tools we use today were brought to market in the pre-internet 60s. And the most modern tool in use was brought to market in the early 90s, when the internet was created.
What is the cost of using old tech and processes? We know that variance and errors can cost more than $20,000 per home. With over 1.5M homes built in the US each year, that means variance and errors alone cost homebuilders upwards of $30B each year. And siloed departments and data across operations, sales and purchasing teams further increase on-site errors, resulting in bloated material costs and cycle times.
What if there was a way to bring every homebuilding team and every tool together in one platform? And instead of working with static documents, we allow them to work with intelligent, digital models of their homes, where they can overlay different views on underlying data based on their needs and function? What could this level of modern tech unlock for the industry?
We believe Higharc is going to reinvent the way we build production homes forever, because it’s unlike anything on the market. Higharc isn’t a BIM, ERP, CAD, or Revit replacement. It’s something entirely new, and doesn’t fit neatly into any pre-existing category. So what exactly are we building at Higharc?
Higharc unites operations, sales, and purchasing in a single, web-based platform that eliminates silos and unlocks 100% accuracy across the entire home builder value chain. And by understanding each home as a unique database, we enable automation across key areas of a homebuilder’s business, saving time and money.
“Higharc has quietly developed the leading design system for generating buildings.” Michael Bergin, Higharc Co-Founder and VP, Product
With Higharc, you design homes from scratch using generative design principles. That means you gain a more streamlined, powerful plan library in less clicks, by letting the computer do the heavy lifting. And since Higharc-built plans are datasets, you can easily:
Every output from Higharc updates automatically, in real time, when you make changes to your original plan. This is the power of a web-based platform.
Higharc is delivering centralized data, universal plan management, and automated processes to the production home building industry. These are new concepts for production builders that, once embraced, will lead to better margins, improved customer experiences and greater efficiencies. We’re proud to have many top builders as early adopters of our software today, and we’re excited to watch our platform enable better homes and communities to be built across our country, more affordably, in the years to come.