Construction Curiosities #7 – Constructing The Augmented Reality, Pass the Chips, Formatting Windows in Word

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This weekly Newsletter explores my Curiosities around the Construction Industry. It’s meant to make you think, smile, and become a better, more well-informed Construction Professional.

The real value in this newsletter isn’t necessarily what I think and say, it’s the conversation by the group. I hope you will join the conversation on !


This week we will look at:

  • One Curiosity: Constructing The Augmented Reality
  • One Article: House passes CHIPS Act
  • One Tweet: Interview tips to Stand out
  • One Quote: Breaking Tradition
  • One Meme: Formatting Windows in Word

One Curiosity

Augmented Reality and Holograms in our everyday lives are closer than we thought and it’s more than going to a virtual Tupac concert.

One company saw the technology and had the vision of how it could apply to the Jobsite. So they got to work building it.

I recently caught up with Maret Thatcher, ex-lawyer turned ConTech innovator and had a Q&A with her about her baby Argyle.

As a teaser, here’s a few looks of their technology, that I’ve scraped from their Youtube demos and website. I’m not generally a techie, but this stuff has me nerding out. My mind has been running wild, as the use possibilities are endless.

Using the HoloLens on a site walk to look at planned ductwork
Screenshot of the menu. Each layer of the BIM model can be turned on and off with the click of a finger.
Augmented Reality of BIM on a site, in this case a house. Image from Argyle unreleased ios version 1/22
A teaser of the iOS app. While not as immersive as the HoloLens, this could be more accessible for use.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Maret Thatcher:

Q: Give us a quick introduction of yourself

A: I’m Maret Thatcher,  I’m a 3rd generation construction contractor, a lawyer, a mom, and CEO of Argyle – we augment big buildings.

Q: What’s your 15 second elevator speech?

 A: “We help construction projects go faster with fewer f*ckups by overlaying their BIM on site.”

Q: The technology is definitely cool but what’s the real world use cases?

A: The causes of rework aren’t a mystery–AR makes those omissions, errors, changes–all those rework culprits–obvious. And at a point where it’s bragging rights because the fix is so early, fast, and painless.  It narrows the experience gap. Take an intern and give them Argyle for QA/QC–they’re suddenly competent and coming back with a full report. It gets everyone on site, regardless of experience, to a faster place of understanding. 

Q: How accurate is the alignment to the real world?

A: Centimeter. Like everyone in the AR industry, we get centimeter alignment out of calibration points–but Argyle’s centimeter accuracy extends to the WHOLE SITE. How? Our patented alignment tech Risa forms a cohesive site alignment. It lets you walk from one side of the project to the other and maintain alignment while the BIM loads around you.   When you update the model with changes, the alignment persists. When you show up the next week your holograms are there waiting for you, even if that pallet of materials moved or a wall was built. Alignment usability is what makes or breaks AR on site–make sure it lasts or it’s not worth the trouble.

Q: What’s your roadmap and where are you on your journey?

A: Today’ we’re the best BIM visualizer in the world (but only if you like one click uploads, persistent large-scale alignment, and interactivity). 

Tomorrow – we’re Spatial Project Management–we thrill in connecting construction data like BIM to its real world location with our Risa tech. Whether it’s an install error, a punch list item, a photo, an RFI–whatever your team is tracking–all of those bits of data are then tied back to a spatial database that–in my wildest dreams–lasts the life of the building. 

Immediate roadmap: Navisworks integration and get iOS ready for release (any Revit using iPad owners please head to my website if you’d like to test that).

Q: What’s been the biggest surprise to you as you’ve been building this business/ technology?

A: Building an application to distribute as a download was 10x harder than the prototypes and one-off builds we made for contractors in the beginning. It’s the difference between a mockup and actually connecting the plumbing and electrical to the grid.

Q: What’s been your biggest challenge so far?

A: The biggest challenge was exactly what we signed up for–we weren’t satisfied with existing solutions for alignment, rendering, and model upload so we ended up building everything from scratch. It took a long time and it shows in its ease of use. 

Q: How do you get an Old School/ “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” industry to adopt technology like this?

A: Ha. I don’t. I focus on the folks who are ready for change and who see the opportunities in tech like this. There’s about 650,000 new-to the industry workers needed in the next few years. If you are lucky enough to attract Gen Z to your jobsite, you’ll probably get more success out of them with clear, easy to use visuals. Blueprints are great legal documents, but there are better tools for visualizing how to build your building. 

Maret and Argyle’s CTO, Logan Smith, were kind enough to also take me on a virtual Argyle Demo of their office space. They built a BIM model of their office space to use as a sandbox. Getting to see to see Logan walk around in real time and interact with it was awesome.

The demo is a bit long but if this technology interests you I think it is worth the watch. You can see:

  • How the QC checklists work
  • How easy the alignment of the model to the real-world is. Essentially drag and drop.
  • We discussed how the “Unplanned Uses” for this are only limited by the imagination of the Site Crew/ Building Owner/ etc.

One of my favorite uses of this would be to supplement your “Builder’s Intuition.” On The ConTech Crew Podcast, Maret talks about how when you as a Project Manager or Superintendent are doing your daily site walk your “Builder’s Intuition” and “Spidey Sense” is on. Having the BIM model visually overlaying the real world can supplement your instincts. For instance, you will be walking around the site and can see there is a sink planned over on that wall. You will notice there is no blocking being installed. It’s not that the blocking was modeled but the sink was and it triggered your “Builder’s Intuition” to know there was a problem.

You can check out them out at Also check out their YouTube page for more real world jobsite demos. This stuff is awesome.

My next step is to get myself a pair of HoloLens.

One Article

CHIPS Act passes House, secures $52B for semiconductor industry

  • Samsung plans for 11 chip plants worth $191 billion in Texas
  • Intel’s $20 billion facility in Licking County, Ohio.
  • GlobalFoundries chip factory in Malta, New York.
  • Micron Technology manufacturing expansion in Boise, Idaho.
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s $12 billion computer chip factory in Arizona.

One Tweet

I’ve received compliments that my ongoing “22 hacks to win as a Young Construction Professional” series on LinkedIn has been very helpful for interns and entry-level folks. I’ve noticed many of them have subscribed to this newsletter. (Thank you!)

So with it being that time of year: Recent college grads are looking for full-time work and other students are looking for co-op internships for the Fall or even Spring.

Sahil Bloom hit it out of the park again with this great thread. He’s got great interview tips that would apply to anyone from an intern to the more seasoned professionals.

They would even help to make a lasting impression and to stand out when talking to Contractors at a Campus Career Fair!

Sahil Bloom @SahilBloomThe interview process is never fun. But it’s a real opportunity to stand out. Master these 10 common questions to nail your next interview:July 28th 20221,711 Retweets9,019 Likes

One Quote

One Meme

geez. I hate formatting in Word.

Thank you for reading! Head to the Substack post page to join the conversation.

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Let me know in the comments or send me an email ([email protected]) what you liked, didn’t like, want to see more of in the future, or have suggestions! Look forward to hearing from you.

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