Director, Digital Fabrication & Construction
Sidewalk Labs, New York
Sidewalk Labs is reimagining cities to improve quality of life.
Who are we?
Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company with a mission to radically improve urban life. We aim to create inclusive communities by bringing together an innovative planning approach, products and services designed to address urban challenges, and capital for real estate and advanced infrastructure.
Since our founding in 2015, we've grown into an organization of over 100 employees based primarily in New York and Toronto. Our cross-disciplinary team consists of experts from real estate, urban planning, government, finance, technology, and engineering, among other backgrounds.
To date, we've incubated and invested in multiple companies focused on solving urban problems. Sidewalk Labs is currently standing up a new business unit, FactoryCo, a solutions business that will deliver mid- to high-rise buildings made out of mass timber and produced through a net new build of an advanced manufacturing facility. FactoryCo is focused on reducing both the cost and emissions associated with buildings.
- FactoryCo uses advanced digital manufacturing techniques to deliver a better product faster, at a price point that is competitive with traditional construction techniques.
- FactoryCo will produce prefabricated mass timber components (facades, floor cassettes, walls, and structure), which will be transported to site for assembly.
- FactoryCo is a solutions provider that will sell to developers as a supplier of turn-key buildings. On site, its parts will be integrated with other building components (e.g elevators) that are procured from partner vendors.
With the potential to catalyze and scale new models for inclusive growth, our work is both highly exciting and complex. We are working to achieve something unprecedented — help us build it!
What is the role?
This role will own the creation of the holistic digital strategy for our highly-automated, digital fabrication process that will produce mass timber building components and ultimately deliver entire buildings to customers. As an essential member of our ‘startup team’, you have an opportunity to bring digital tools into the next generation of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC).
Building on top of the manufacturing platform, we believe that the digital layer can set a new standard in the emerging building fabrication industry. This is the opportunity to define the digital tools which will unlock the “future state” for the AEC and Real Estate industries that we foresee. Succeeding in this role requires an understanding of existing AEC practices (design and management practices, and the practical implications of building design and construction decisions), combined with fluency in the powers and limitations of digital tools, alongside a vision for the future and the ability to define and execute on a near and long-term roadmap.
We have developed points of view on three primary areas of ‘digital opportunity’:
- End-to-end project delivery: Putting in place a digital workflow and tech stack for the business that engages all stakeholders across the entire process from design, supply chain, and factory fabrication to onsite assembly.
- Factory operations: Streamlining, digitizing, and automating the process by which the factory can source, fabricate and build the range of building components we target.
- Digital building design tools: Allowing potential customers (developers / architects) to design with the kit of parts supported through software.
What You Will Build
Your responsibilities will center on defining the 1, 5, and 10-year digital strategy and delivering on it. We also look to you to integrate that digital strategy into the business’ broader go-to-market strategy, profitability, and long-term growth prospects.
Hand-in-hand with strategy, you will move into execution quickly, identifying the needed resources, diligencing potential automation hardware and software solutions, and developing a framework for prioritization and make-vs-buy decisions while protecting IP.
We expect that you will implement the digital strategy on early projects and the build process for the first factory. Given how much this effort gets at the core of the existing development and construction paradigm, this role also has to successfully integrate the new approach across all process steps and with our partners, e.g. required integrations across suppliers, design team, on-site GCs, subs, etc.
After 3 months, you will have:
- Understood the kit of parts and existing digital assets
- Understood the manufacturing process of the kit of parts
- Developed a vision for the digital layer of factory for the next 5 years
- Developed a critical path schedule and plan for the next 12 months
After 6 months you will have:
- Identified a digital execution strategy for our first building
- Begun integration of software layers for key components
- Identified resources (in-house talent or hiring needs) and external partners to execute
After 12 months you will:
- Be actively working with a team to deliver our first building
- Set up first equipment in the factory and integrate the digital layers
- Have a clearly articulated 5-year strategy, building on the vision you identified and refined.
What We Expect
Direct experience of bringing digital technologies into the nexus of real estate, construction, automation, and manufacturing is highly valuable, but rare and not required. We believe there are different backgrounds that can be successful in this role, and can provide support for a passionate, invested person from an adjacent field (e.g. aerospace, auto, or other advanced manufacturing industries).
We believe the following is essential:
You have a deep practical understanding of bringing digital layers into traditionally analogue processes.
- You have a strong underlying understanding of software for architectural design, manufacturing, or construction, possibly including an advanced degree in architecture, engineering, or technology.
- You can point to success in using digital technology-based approaches to drive innovation, value, or optimization into a design/production/delivery operation.
You are passionate about or even intimately familiar with ‘building buildings’, i.e. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.
- You have a nuanced understanding of the problem you’re solving, e.g. through experience in the real estate or construction business, or as a client or supplier to them.
You have experience leading an initiative from concept to operation, working through all the stages and ambiguities along the way.
- You have significant success demonstrating the judgment, skills, and experience to build a successful strategy, and deliver on it.
You are motivated by an entrepreneurial environment and highly effective at using it as a launch pad.
- Senior enough to have knowledge, insights, relationships, and credibility—but willing to roll up your sleeves to do the work required.
We are very excited to hear from you.
The community of the future is a place for everyone, and Sidewalk Labs is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to apply. All employment is based on merit and business needs.
About Sidewalk Labs
About us Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet Company tackling the challenges of urban growth. In partnership with Waterfront Toronto and local community, we are currently designing a district in Toronto's Eastern Waterfront. This joint venture, called Sidewalk Toronto, will blend people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology to achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.
Want to learn more about Sidewalk Labs? Visit Sidewalk Labs's website.
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