A Proven Solution: How Johnson Development Reduces Land Development Costs and Maximizes Efficiency on Award-Winning Master-Planned Community Harvest Green

From optimized project management to enhanced collaboration, discover Johnson Development's success from implementing TraceAir.
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One of the fastest-growing land developers in the country, Johnson Development repeatedly impresses the industry with their well-designed communities. Their commitment to excellence is backed by a long list of awards and accolades, including 2022 Developer of Year for the second time in three years by the Texas Association of Builders.  

When it comes to master-planned communities, Johnson Development sets the bar high. In fact, they have more top-selling communities than any other developer in America in the past decade. More than just homes, Johnson Development has earned a distinguished reputation for communities that foster an active, family-oriented lifestyle while preserving the natural beauty of the local landscape. 

Coined “agri-hood” for its unique agricultural aspects, their Harvest Green master-planned community outside of Houston, Texas is one of the most sought after communities in the country. Due to tremendous demand, Johnson Development recently expanded the community to build more homes. 

The Challenge

With over 2,000 acres and growing, Harvest Green is a huge project. In addition to thousands of homes, the community also includes schools, retail stores, parks, amenities, as well as an on-site community farm. Managing such a large project presented Johnson Development with several challenges, including:

  • Staying on top of dirt movement to achieve a balanced site 
  • Overseeing all the builders and contractors working on the project
  • Ensuring all stakeholders were informed of progress
  • Avoiding schedule delays, rework, and cost overruns
  • Validating work completed for billing accuracy

The Solution

To overcome these challenges, Johnson Development’s team at Harvest Green utilized TraceAir’s site intelligence software. TraceAir offers unique tools specific for homebuilders and land developers, including the ability to check the grade of individual lots and easily manage dirt movement and progress. The tools within TraceAir are designed to empower users to make fast, confident decisions and keep projects on schedule.

Trusted by top homebuilders and land developers, TraceAir was particularly appealing to Johnson Development’s Harvest Green for several reasons:

  • Ease of implementation: Using TraceAir’s licensed drone pilots and data processing eliminates the need and hassle of purchasing drones, hiring pilots, or processing any data to receive topographic data. Implementing TraceAir is fast and easy.
  • Fast turnaround times: TraceAir eliminates the traditional multi-day lag time between surveying a site and receiving the data by processing scans overnight, so they are ready within 24 hours.
  • Support: From the start, TraceAir assigns a dedicated customer success manager to each project, helping guide users through the setup process and providing them with white glove service all throughout their project. 
  • Collaboration: TraceAir provides users unlimited licenses at no extra charge, so they can provide access to their entire project team, contractors, and stakeholders, enabling seamless collaboration.
  • Easy to Use: TraceAir was designed to be used by the entire team, even the least tech-savvy. Most tasks can be completed with a few simple clicks. 
  • Remote accessibility: Users can access project data, conduct measurements, and track progress from anywhere using TraceAir’s cloud-based software, no downloads needed.

The Results

Implementing TraceAir completely transformed the way Johnson Development manages site work at Harvest Green. TraceAir allows them to gain control of their project data, track progress and dirt movement, and hold everyone accountable with accurate data. As a result, the increased efficiency has helped them better manage land development costs. After successfully implementing TraceAir on Harvest Green, Johnson Development now utilizes TraceAir on several of their other projects.

With TraceAir, we’ve successfully tracked progress and dirt movement on Harvest Green every step of the way. From the start, working with TraceAir has been super easy. The platform is simple to use, so I don’t have questions often, but when I do, the customer success team is always right there to help.”

David Hogue, Vice President and General Manager of Harvest Green, Johnson Development

Better Dirt Management & Billing Verification

TraceAir helps Johnson Development easily manage the millions of cubic yards of dirt moving throughout the Harvest Green project. “We initially started using TraceAir in response to some problems we had chasing dirt around, and discrepancies with our contractors about how much dirt was moved versus how much dirt they billed us for moving”, shared David Hogue, Vice President and General Manager of Harvest Green. “Prior to TraceAir, we didn’t have a good way to verify how much dirt was moved or when. This could have resulted in overpaying on periodic pay-apps and costly schedule delays.”

TraceAir completely eliminates these issues by allowing the team at Harvest Green to not only see dirt movement throughout the site, but also quantify it and keep a historical record of when dirt was moved and how much. With one click to turn on the cut/fill balance tool, TraceAir creates a heat map analyzing all the dirt on the project against the design grade. Project plans and drawings can be easily overlaid, making it easy to see exactly which areas have a shortage or excess of dirt. To achieve design grade, areas in red must be cut and areas in blue filled. Areas in white meet design grade plus or minus 0.4 feet. 

Tracking dirt movement and progress within TraceAir is easy using
cut/fill heat maps and high-resolution aerial images.

Improved Collaboration

TraceAir provides users with unlimited licenses at no additional cost to promote collaboration and transparency. By sharing TraceAir with the entire project team, all members have access to the same information and can easily collaborate and share updates. This allows Johnson Development’s team at Harvest Green to stay on top of any issues or delays that may arise, and take action quickly to address them. The markup tools within TraceAir make it easy to add notes or drawings for clarification. Using detailed topographic data in meetings, and then providing everyone with access to the same data, allows everyone to leave the meeting feeling confident and informed.

Seamless Project Management

Although Harvest Green is over 2,000 acres, the team at Johnson Development can easily look at the entire project on one screen within TraceAir. With TraceAir’s Time Machine tool, users can toggle between scans to easily see progress and compare any scan to design grade. They can zoom out and see the whole project, or zoom in to a specific area. This information can be used to identify any delays or issues that may impact progress, and to adjust the project plan as needed using data. 

Eliminate Disputes

No one likes dealing with disputes — especially when they result in time-consuming finger-pointing matches. Disputes often result from misunderstandings or lack of information. Traditionally, land development projects lacked a central source of information or a way to make quick, data-driven decisions. As a result, people are operating off different information and making decisions based on their individual knowledge or best guesses. 

TraceAir eliminates disputes by ensuring everyone is on the same page and empowered with data to make informed decisions. Since implementing TraceAir, the team at Harvest Green has seen a major reduction in disputes and mistakes. Disagreements are quickly settled by pulling up TraceAir and looking at the facts. Being able to access historical project images and data in the event of a dispute has proven valuable to the team Harvest Green.

Get Started

TraceAir is the premier site intelligence software for homebuilders and land developers. Its innovative features and capabilities far surpass traditional methods — enabling users to take control of their projects, gain valuable insights, and stay on schedule. Industry leaders like Johnson Development save hours, even weeks, on key tasks and significantly lower their land development costs by utilizing TraceAir for more efficient workflows. 

To experience it for yourself, schedule a demo today and discover how your team can benefit from TraceAir. 

I’m mesmerized by the engineering complexity and beauty of the process of converting the designs into functional spaces. A powerful blend of people’s creative ideas, brutal economics rules, laws of physics, and construction people’s skills and expertise makes this industry so unique. It’s incredibly cool to be a part of this process and contribute to empowering people in it.”

Maria Khokhlova, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer

Construction marketing has always been a challenging and highly rewarding career path. Now that I’m in construction technology, I enjoy communicating how adopting new solutions can drastically increase efficiency for construction teams.”

Samantha Burns, Head of Marketing

I really enjoy being a part of the construction tech industry. It’s exciting to see ideas such as drones and automation that once were very futuristic now be an everyday reality that helps people and businesses. As a creative person, I find it empowering to work in a space that embraces out of the box thinking and going against the grain.”

Katie Larrimore, Marketing Specialist

My favorite part about working in the construction industry is listening to customer stories and being able to provide tech solutions to make their job easier. No two divisions are the same, and it’s rewarding to be able to connect and help clients solve their unique challenges here at TraceAir! I am eager to hear new challenges and look forward to the tech solutions down the road that TraceAir will create based on the needs of our clients.”

Jordan Wojtowecz, Account Executive

The construction technology industry is constantly changing and I love being a part of that evolution. I get to speak with a diverse group of land developers and acquisitioners who are integral parts of the home building machine; making their lives easier is so rewarding.”

Lauren Schaefer, Business Development Representative

I find it thrilling to be part of an industry with so much room for innovation and growth. Every day I am given the opportunity to speak with and learn from best-in-class homebuilders. At TraceAir, it’s incredibly rewarding to watch great minds come together to make construction a more collaborative and effective industry.” 

Kyra Ketch, Market Development Representative

Built environment impacts our lives on so many levels and the significance of what we do as an industry inspires me every single day. Our shared responsibility for the fragile nature we transform keeps me laser-focused on innovating sustainably. And I am beyond grateful to do so alongside the many amazing women leaders and professionals of TraceAir!” 

Alena Petrova, Product Manager

I've always been fascinated by how so many construction projects are so unique and individual, though the construction processes are the same for all of them. It is awesome to be a part of and to see how choosing to use sustainable materials, taking into account environmental factors, applying innovative engineering ideas and using digital technology make construction better, smarter and faster.” 

Olga Rollins, Operations Manager

I enjoy seeing the projects come together, each project is so different and presents a multitude of challenges that take real teamwork and collaboration to overcome. I love working with my clients in the construction industry and helping them utilize powerful tech tools to help their projects run smoothly.” 

Isabella Knori, Customer Success Manager

I’m particularly interested in the ever-evolving use of spatial data to inform decision making at all stages of construction. The increase in innovation and application, of both vector and raster data products, is really fascinating.” 

Cari Ruffino, Operations Manager

I worked at construction sites for 9 years and I can tell you that it’s so inspiring to see how your efforts grow into real objects. I was a surveyor and I saw all construction processes with my own eyes. The construction industry adapts to the technical progress so slowly, Traceair makes this process better and faster. It's why I like our company - it drives construction to the next level. We are on the way which turns the dreams of our clients into reality, and our dreams too.”

Olga Razina, GIS Specialist & Customer Success Engineer

Throughout the past  5 years in cartography & GIS, I have observed how technologies and automatization are making the industry better and faster. I find inspiring bringing this into construction to make the industry even greater! Humans are everywhere, everybody needs place, construction grows. TraceAir shows that we are able to reach our designs faster with drones help and to enjoy the process using platform, maps, tools, etc. Join us!”

Vera Lugovskaya, GIS Specialist

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