The idea: Online home platform

Put together your house digitally

Homebuyers are keen to have an increasingly significant degree of influence over the design of their new-build properties. Whereas Heijmans wants to build these as quickly and efficiently as possible. An online platform could help both parties in this regard, thinks Residential Concept Manager Remko Tesselaar.

December 21, 2017

Enticement and perception

Today’s property market is overheated. And demand for owner-occupied properties is only set to grow. Remko Tesselaar and his colleagues at Heijmans Vastgoed & Woningbouw are tasked with enticing house-hunters into purchasing a Heijmans house. For buyers this includes ‘Wenswonen’ houses. ‘What’s clear is that we can use perception and enticement to expand familiarity with the brand Heijmans Wenswonen.’

‘The aim is to improve the process for the buyer from estate agent to signing the contract. At present, homebuyers are required to specify their wishes in a huge pile of paperwork. They’re then whisked off to a kitchen and bathroom showroom. After that they fill out the hard copy option list for the property, which we subsequently have to enter into our computer systems manually and communicate the options selected to subcontractors, suppliers and colleagues. Plenty of things that need to be done behind the scenes.’

Add the finishing touches yourself

Inspired by Volkswagen’s configurator and Ikea’s kitchen planner, our colleague and product developer Willem van den Berg came up with the idea of enticing potential homebuyers by giving them greater freedom of choice by means of a similar system. ‘What could be nicer than choosing your favourite kitchen, bathroom or doors for your own home before it’s complete? In due course, Heijmans’ online platform will be linked up to the websites of bathroom, door and kitchen suppliers. Right from the start of the construction work buyers can get inspired, get informed and, if they like, proceed with requesting a quote. We even reflect upon a styling function, which sees buyers getting involved in choosing things like wall colour beforehand. Hence you’re directly involved in how the finished product will turn out. As a result, the design process is partly determined by buyers themselves.’

No more paperwork

Whilst the customer is putting together his house, the BIM model is of it is working in the background. ‘Our system links all options selected by the buyer to the electronic version. This way, each and every customer’s personal wishes get automatically incorporated into the purchasing process. The benefit is that as a buyer you’ll still be able to make amendments within a given time frame. That’s tricky at present, because in such cases you’d need to fill out a paper form. Whereas with personal log-in credentials you can stop putting things together, save what you’ve entered so far, and continue whenever you like.’

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Personal model

The most significant benefit for Heijmans is that customer choices are known much earlier on. It is also the case that it will no longer be necessary to enter that list of demands into a BIM model manually. ‘This will save time and money. The system stores all data from the customer in a personal model, thereby allowing choices and costs to be monitored. Furthermore, the buyer will be able to view his choices 24 hours a day. Due to the fact that the process is more streamlined and all information can be found on a single platform, what this means for us is that the costs of failure are lower.’

Start of pilot

‘Once everything has been put together, you’ll get a personal contractual drawing at the touch of a button, as well as comprehensive pricing, sent to you electronically, which you’ll obviously need to sign. The entire system is under starter’s orders. We’re intending to start a pilot in June 2018.’