Aug 24 2018

Kreo pushing cloud-based AI and BIM

An Anglo-Russian SaaS startup, Kreo is looking to revolutionise BIM-based design and construction through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Kreo logoLondon-based startup Kreo has developed a cloud-based software platform to support building information modelling (BIM) during design and construction. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, it aims to transform construction project collaboration, quantity take-off, cost estimating, scheduling and bidding processes – improving the quality of project planning and reducing bidding costs.

The business was incorporated in September 2017 by founder and CEO Magomed Galaev, a Russian-born businessman and private investor with six years’ investment banking experience at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, followed by three years as CEO of the Russia Platinum Group. A small executive team in Kreo’s central London office covers sales, marketing and HR; software development and support work is mainly undertaken by a team of around 25 based in Minsk, Belorussia, but UK-based technical support staff are currently being recruited.

Kreo products

Kreo currently offers two products: Kreo View and Kreo Plan, with Kreo Design coming soon (early September 2018):

  • Kreo View screengrabKreo View allows users to upload a Revit model (Kreo offers a Revit plugin – other BIM authoring tools may be added if there sufficient customer demand), then share that model and collaborate and communicate with other team members online. Videos show collision (clash) detection, the viewing of model attributes, a clip-box function to isolate smaller sections of large models, and model ‘teleport’ and ‘walk-through’ capabilities. While a free trial is offered, the core product is priced at £20 per user per month, with no limits on storage. Data is currently hosted by Amazon Web Services in London, and user interactions are encrypted for security.

  • Kreo Plan is described as “AI-powered 5D BIM construction software“: a single, cloud-based integrated platform for construction cost estimating, scheduling and bidding. It enables users to take-off quantities, estimate costs, produce Gantt charts and 4D models, run scenarios, optimise cost and duration, and price bids. No price information is given for this product (prospective customer are urged to seek a custom quote).
  • The website provides no information about Kreo Design (I hope to get a demonstration in London in September). When I enquired about the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the product, I was told Kreo would automate error detection, with users able to either let the system fix the errors automatically or to generate a report detailing the errors for manual updating. Update (14 November 2018) – I am told “Kreo Design allows you to design a 3D model in minutes, linking architectural, structural and MEP design. You can get dynamic schedules, material take offs, and reports in real time. You can then choose to export your model into Revit or continue to Kreo Plan to get your 4D and 5D BIM.”

Marketing

Kreo is at an early stage in its sales and marketing, with several contractors among its early adopters, according to sales director Giada Ligato. She told me Kreo would also be exhibiting at Digital Construction Week at London’s ExCEL, 17-18 October 2018 [Update (8 November 2018)Read this BIM+ article]. Meanwhile, the company’s website features a blog and resources including a guide to BIM classification systems (out of which Kreo has opted for Uniclass), a report “The State of Construction Bidding, Tendering and Pricing,” and a white paper about unleashing the potential of 4D and 5D BIM – seemingly emphasising the capabilities built into the Kreo Plan toolset.

While Kreo has launched into one of Europe’s biggest and more sophisticated BIM markets, as far as I could see its products are not being described as common data environments (CDEs), and there is no mention of compliance with UK BIM Level 2, etc. Perhaps this is a toolset that is intended to be used for detailed design and construction tasks in parallel with a CDE, with the CDE capturing associated workflows and aggregating deliverables for eventual handover to the client? Or maybe the business is just opting to talk about BIM without lapsing into industry jargon – though AI is a buzzphrase/abbreviation that I’ve heard and written about more in the past year than in the previous ten.

Update (11am, 24 August 2018) – If you are interested in the growth of AI in construction, read this April 2018 article from McKinsey: Artificial intelligence: Construction technology’s next frontier.

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