Haskell Quality Coordinator Chris Castleberry, right, and Quality Systems Specialist Susan Payne use Precogs.

June 13, 2023

Dysruptek, VIATechnik Team to Activate Construction Lessons Learned

Haskell's Waqas Sharafat and Chris Castleberry won Big Pitch 2021 with their knowledge-retention concept. Precogs is the result.


Construction projects invariably come with obstacles and complications, and capturing the lessons learned in overcoming these challenges, both positive and negative, is a staple of project management that provides invaluable information for the future.

Over the past 15 years, Haskell projects have generated more than 2,000 lessons learned. But they existed as individual, manually cataloged files. The pain point was surfacing the right information at the right time for the right application. Historically, members of the company’s Quality department distributed the lessons learned as best they could to current projects.

“It was all based on Excel,” said Hamzah Shanbari, Haskell Director of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives. “It's one thing that's on somebody's computer and not easy to access. When there was a new project, that quality person had to go in and start looking for things that were relevant to the new project.”

Cue Chris Castleberry, Waqas Sharafat and Big Pitch 2021.

Dysruptek, Haskell’s innovation and venture capital arm, annually stages the Big Pitch, a Shark Tank-like innovation competition judged by Haskell executives and directors, during which team members propose solutions to architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry challenges.

Castleberry and Sharafat won the 2021 event with their idea for creating a companywide, searchable repository of lessons learned. Top Big Pitch finishers win a cash award, funding and support from Dysruptek to make their innovative concept a reality.

In this case, a significant component of Dysruptek’s help involved finding a software developer to create the platform. The team received proposals from four technology vendors and chose VIATechnik, a company specializing in building information modeling (BIM), virtual design and construction (VDC) and software development with which Haskell had previously partnered.

As it happened, VIATechnik had created and was internally using the rough framework of a knowledge-retention platform that it called Precogs, named for the psychic characters who predicted and pre-empted crimes in the 2002 Tom Cruise/Steven Spielberg movie “Minority Report.”

“When we talked to them, they said, ‘We already have the framework. We have the backbone of something. Do you want to partner and make it something that we can bring to the industry at large?” Shanbari said.

A deal was struck, and collaboration began, with Haskell’s team providing expertise, experience and multiple end-user viewpoints. Over the course of two years and 6,000 hours of work, the partnership produced a platform that took 15 years of Haskell’s lessons learned and created a repository of lessons, checklists and predictive analytics based on a user’s project characteristics. Precogs is cloud-based and uses CSI MasterFormat codes, discipline, and other metadata to distribute tips and analyze the progress of specific areas in active projects. The most recent version includes GPT integration for AI recommendations.

The intuitive and structured platform increases knowledge transparency and allows instant access to critical knowledge at the right time. It also integrates with construction-management system Procore to enable the direct import of ongoing issues and the use of digital checklists compiled from Haskell's Lessons Learned library.

“Dysruptek did a phenomenal job of sifting through the hundreds of companies and found VIATechnik, who had a program similar to what we were looking for. It was quite an endeavor,” Castleberry said. “They were able to do the coding, and Haskell’s team – between Hamzah, Cutler (Knupp, Dysruptek Managing Director), Waqas and myself – narrowed down what we really needed out of the program. Our lessons learned from 15 years ago until today really informed VIATechnik as to where we were going.

Precogs is still in its first phase. The development roadmap features full automation to suggest checklists and tips to better align active projects with pertinent information. Shanbari hopes the database can grow to encompass lessons learned from across the industry.

“I have an imaginary plaque on my wall that says, ‘For the Betterment of the Industry,’” he said. “Everything I do, I try to look at through that lens. How do I make our teammates better? How do I make the industry better? We're all in it together. I hope eventually we can consolidate lessons from everybody in the industry so we can become better together.”

Through Dysruptek, its innovation and venture capital arm, Haskell leads the construction industry in technological development and adoption. Contact the Dysruptek team to discuss your idea “For the Betterment of the Industry.”

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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