Aerospace contractors, private spaceflight companies, and NASA all maintain libraries of history and benchmarks for their spacecraft and equipment. They use this data to justify and validate current project costs or compare past projects (or elements within projects). However, with the exponential technology advancement curve they undoubtedly operate under, I can imagine how hard it is to keep this data current, much less collect and calibrate the volume of data necessary to achieve a meaningful analysis.
Without a doubt, this is true for engineering, architectural, and contracting firms building Spaceship Apple, the technology giant’s new corporate headquarters targeted for completion at the end 2016.
Popular Science’s June article, “Spaceship Apple,” reminds us again about the almost complete saturation of new engineering and construction materials and methodologies this program requires. The design, supply, and installation of steel, glass, concrete, mechanical, electrical, and energy supply & efficiency all break the mold for what we know and can achieve in the building industry. Benchmarks that can be applied with any measure of usefulness just aren’t available for most components. The price tag alone seems to indicate as much.
Until these benchmarks exist, the industry will continue its shift in applying benchmarks and project history to create a science out of decision-making in combination with traditional techniques. Owners, engineering & design firms, and contractors all leverage what they know to make decisions about projects going forward. The technology is now available to quickly mine, adjust, and apply this knowledge to feasibility, estimating, project execution, and facility management. Certainly, these systems will soon include self-sustainment and space-age materials for the building industry.