The search for suitable building products has never been easier

The market for construction products is confusing and complex. Therefore, the search for the optimal product is often complicated and time-consuming for planners and architects. At the same time, it is difficult for manufacturers to place their products close to the customer and to recognize current market trends early on. The start-up company Plan.One offers both sides a solution: a search and comparison portal for building products.

Plan.One enables architects and planners to conduct an intelligent, manufacturer-independent product search. Via the website, which will go “live” on 22 January 2018, or by means of a BIM plug-in directly from their own planning software, users can have suitable products suggested to them. Equipped with a standardized database, the tool supports users in filtering out the products that meet their requirements from the wide range of products on the market and comparing them clearly. At the same time Plan.One makes the entire product range of a manufacturer, including all product-relevant information, accessible online on one platform. The times of time-consuming comparisons via catalogues and manufacturers’ websites are thus to be a thing of the past.

At the same time, Plan.One creates transparency for the manufacturer’s website as to which product features are being searched for. Market trends and gaps in one’s own product range can thus be recognized and taken into account at an early stage. “Via our portal, suppliers have the opportunity to see in real time which requirements are internationally demanded of building products. This enables targeted product development, exactly the way manufacturers want it,” explains Plan.One founder and CEO Patric de Hair.

Plan.One – big goals for a great industry

The challenge Plan.One faces with its services is nothing less than the digital transformation of the construction industry. “In all industrial sectors, as well as in everyday life, the digital transformation is progressing at an ever increasing pace,” says Patric de Hair. “However, the hoped-for increase in productivity in the construction industry has not yet taken place.” Plan.One sees one reason for this in the fact that the solutions developed so far miss the actual target group. “The construction industry is a complex industry that is difficult to meet with a software solution from outside”, explains Patric de Hair. It requires a deep understanding of the industry – an understanding that Plan.One brings with it due to its connection to its parent company, Schüco International KG.

“It is time for the industry to take action itself,” demands Patric de Hair. The reason: the disruptive nature of digital innovations. It is not unusual for industries to face a major upheaval in their own business models as soon as major software companies from Silicon Valley innovate an industry with digital tools. “Anyone who just waits and doesn’t take a proactive approach will be left behind,” explains Patric de Hair. That’s why Schüco decided to actively shape the transformation by founding Plan.One instead of being shaped.

Further services will follow

However, he said that this is not a path that one wants to take alone. Whoever wants to digitalize the construction industry also needs the common knowledge of the industry, so the idea of Plan.One. Schüco brings expertise in the field of transparent building envelopes, and other trades will follow, developed with representatives of the industry. Together with manufacturers, initiatives and associations from all trades, the start-up company will gradually work its way forward. The credo is to bring together product expertise and digital know-how. “We have taken the first step alone, the next steps must be taken together,” says Patric de Hair. In doing so, he says, particular attention should be paid to understanding the needs and interests of the various industry sectors and developing joint solutions. Open interfaces and the use of the universally applicable IFC standard also enable manufacturers and third-party providers to set up services they have developed themselves on Plan.One and actively participate in shaping the functions offered.

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