PORTLAND, Ore — Technology has never been as important as it is now as we navigate through this pandemic working at home, meeting "virtually."
But one Portland construction company is taking "virtual" to a whole new level.
It sort of looks like an online video game.
But it is actually the first step in Portland construction company Eteriors design process.
"There isn't anybody else locally doing this," said Johnson.
Principal Mike Johnson said the company's initial concept was to help the environment by creating sustainable work spaces and reducing the amount of waste that goes into the landfill.
But about three months ago he realized the company could also help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We really found that there was such a correlation between reducing carbon footprint and reducing COVID footprint," he said.
And here's why:
The company uses technology for just about everything it does.
Forget about meeting around a blueprint. The company uses augmented reality to bring clients, at their homes around the world, into the design.
"With an app and the software we can all join in a space, virtually walk through the space, and actually see each others avatars," he explained.
Once the design is finalized, it's then fabricated in a manufacturing facility, mainly with machines.
Then, it's delivered to the site where, sort of like Lego bricks, it's simply assembled.
No need for a large number of construction workers working close together.
"We take those materials that were manufactured and we assemble them and we can do it with 70 percent fewer people on site," Johnson said.
But the true beauty comes when the business wants to redesign.
Say it wants to reopen spaces in the future when COVID-19 fears are a thing of the past.
"We take those exact same parts and pieces that are in your office space, we can relocate them and turn them into spaces that are then more relevant for your business," Johnson said.
Want to open up those closed off workspaces? It can be as a simple as sliding around a few walls.
A way to re-purpose and re-use entire office spaces now or later.
"This whole method of construction is future-proof," said Johnson. "Even to a pandemic."