Imagine an online tool that will help you design your residential projects, gain fully certified council and engineering approvals within minutes and save up to 70 per cent when compared with normal approval costs.
These are the core promises of udrew, a new one-stop-shop created by Curtin Ignition graduate Tom Young. Launched as part of a pilot program with the City of Wanneroo in late 2018, udrew gives you access to a growing library of structures, including fences, gazebos, patios, sheds and walls, to help you build or renovate your property.
The tool saves both time and money when compared with manual, often month-long council approval processes because it is directly synced with local government authorities and national building regulations and can automate the approval processes.
The tool has already been recognised for its potential, taking out the prestigious Mitsubishi Corporation Overall Award at the 2018 WA Innovator of the Year Awards.
It has also received strong interest from authorities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, as well as internationally from Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
While udrew is supported by a complex collection of data, Young insists that its front-facing interface is as easy to use “as ordering a pizza online”.
“Basically, if you can use an Android or iPhone, you can use udrew,” he says.
“As you can easily control every aspect of your project, it means you will have more flexibility, control and less frustration, and it allow you to play around to create exactly what you want, in real time. This eliminates timely delays through project amendments, which would usually require re-engineering, drafting, council approval, etc.”
The benefits don’t just lie with the users. Cost and time reductions will carry over to local government organisations, which are expected to save millions of dollars each year. And despite the processes being automated, the Wanneroo pilot suggests udrew could help create new jobs, with the potential to increase building submissions by up to 35 per cent, because of the low cost and ease of the process.
“The work will flow back into the local economy through more building projects with lower overhead expense,” Young says.
“The tool will also help to filter out jobs with low profits, allowing councils and engineers to work on larger and more complex areas, such as house design and smart city planning.”
The udrew system may even directly contribute to smart city planning because of its byproduct data, which gathers information such as components for designed structures, traffic data from local trade and industry involved with the project, geological data, wind tunelling effects and local economic snapshots. This can then be fed back to government and the building industry.
“Because the system creates a digital copy of the site, we have a unique window in future policy planning where we can see what homeowners and industry want and need, versus what the current regulations and policies permit,” Young says.
The need for a simplified system first came to Young as a young engineering draftsperson, when he saw how expensive and frustrating it was for clients to get projects designed, built and improved.
It then turned into a reality in 2008, after his own house renovations were extended by nine months because he forgot to include his front fence design with his original council submission.
“That was the point when I thought that if I, as someone in the industry, was having so much difficulty, then what chance would someone without the background have?” Young says.
Young began collating data and designing udrew, but he knew that creating a sustainable business was going to be a challenge. That changed in 2016 when he successfully applied for a scholarship to join Curtin Ignition – an intensive one-week training program for aspiring entrepreneurs to trial and prepare their business ideas for market.
“The whole course was useful. Learning financials, legals, marketing, how to pitch my concept and how to network really helped my growth. I tried to soak up all advice where possible,” Young says.
“The structure of Curtin Ignition caters for everyone, no matter what stage your business is at. It allows you to focus on the areas that your business needs improvement in.”
Udrew expects to have a wide release in early 2019.
Name: Tom Young
Role: Founder and CEO, udrew
Studied: Curtin Ignition