ith each case study. 
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Management at Work

Leaping to Constructions

How much does it cost to build a school? As a rule, between $280 and $310 per square foot. Ash Notaney, however, told officials in Santa Ana, California, that he could build one for $200–$210 per square foot, and Santa Ana’s El Sol Academy gave him a chance to make good on his sales pitch in the summer of 2013. As of May, demolition of the old El Sol structure hadn’t yet begun, and work on the new building couldn’t begin until July, but Notaney was undeterred by the daunting schedule: He promised to finish construction by December. The two-story 12-classroom building was finished when Notaney said it would be, and on top of everything else, it’s 40–50 percent more energy efficient than buildings erected by conventional means. When a second phase of construction is completed, the total price tag will be $15 million—about 20–25 percent cheaper per square foot than that of traditional permanent structures. Ash Notaney is VP of product and innovation at Project Frog, a San Francisco-based builder of component structures designed for onsite assembly. “We design a common chassis or platform for different types of building that people can reprogram according to their needs,” explains CEO Ann Hand, who thinks of her company as more of a tech firm than a construction company. Project Frog (which stands for Flexible Response to Ongoing Growth) was founded in 2006, and Hand, who’d been an executive at BP for 20 years, was brought in as CEO in 2009, just after RockPort Capital had invested $8 million in the company. RockPort thought of Project Frog as a “smart building start-up,” and Hand realized that its industry “space” was located in the vicinity of the construction industry, if not necessarily within its traditional perimeters. “You would look at construction,” she recalls, “and say that nothing much had changed in a thousand years. It was an industry just waiting to be disrupted.” Hand thus benchmarked companies like Toyota and Boeing—manufacturers noted for process efficiency—and from the beginning, her approach to industry-wide disruption has involved both product and process. Like Boeing, she insists, “we are a product manufacturer, but if Boeing can assemble a 747 in eight days, why does it take 24 months to design and construct a building?” According to Project Frog President Adam Tibbs, we focus on smart manufacturing techniques rather than merely shifting construction from onsite to offsite. By doing this, we can bring the same efficiencies as really smart, highly efficient industries. … This is about being smarter and building a process that can be replicated easily in order to both stay efficient and maintain quality. How does “smart manufacturing” work at Project Frog? The company manufactures building components, ships them in flat packs to the construction site, and partners with local contractors to assemble the finis

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