Customer Story: Arroyo Capital Reduces Costs with Virtual Site Inspections

Using drones and 3D mapping software allows Arroyo Capital to cut down on travel costs, mitigate against market risk, and manage their portfolio efficiently.
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As a leader in residential development, Arroyo Capital knows effective project management is essential to the success of its $2 billion real estate investment business and has made their operational efficiency a focus. To date, they have acquired over 7,000 residential lots across 22 markets in the US. They primarily act as a land bank, which purchases a property under an agreement with a builder, who then has the option to purchase the lots back from them at an increased, agreed-upon price. With such a broad portfolio, Arroyo Capital has adopted TraceAir to help save time, improve project management, and mitigate risk on its projects through remote site inspections and construction data collection. We sat down with Jeff Brouelette, Principal at Arroyo Capital to learn how TraceAir has significantly improved their project management workflows.

Reduced Travel Expenses

Prior to using TraceAir, Jeff and his team traveled frequently to conduct site inspections on each of their projects. Conducting a quarterly site visit for each project required visiting ten projects per month, which was not always feasible for their small team. "We were on the road non-stop and didn't have enough time to spend with the construction teams on site to discuss the project and solve issues while we were there," Jeff lamented.

Thankfully, Arroyo Capital was introduced to TraceAir through one of their homebuilder clients as a solution to their challenges. TraceAir provides monthly drone flights for each of their thirty active projects, which their team can access via the user-friendly platform. TraceAir allows Arroyo Capital's team to remotely monitor construction progress through high-resolution aerial site surveys, saving valuable time and money from conducting regular site inspections.

It reduces our travel costs significantly and allows me to be more strategic with my time."

Jeff Brouellette, Principal, Arroyo Capital

Financial Due Diligence Made Simple

As a land bank and investor, Arroyo Capital must fund development costs on each project. A typical part of the construction progress are development draws, in which a builder will draw a portion of their development costs based on project milestones and work completed. In this case, Arroyo Capital must compare the builder's draw documents with actual site conditions. This helps protect cash flow and ensure they don't take an unnecessary financial risk in paying for work that hasn't yet been performed.

TraceAir allows Arroyo Capital to oversee construction progress and ensure milestones are met and portrayed accurately in draw documents. Aerial site surveys and 360 panoramas give Arroyo Capital a clear view of each site all the way down to 1/10th of a foot accuracy, allowing them to quickly and review and approve construction draws.

TraceAir gives us visibility into how our projects are progressing, so we can spend less time on routine site inspections and more time focusing on helping our builders solve problems."

Jeff Brouellette, Principal, Arroyo Capital

Mitigating Market Risk

Risk mitigation is an intrinsic part of construction management, and schedule delays are a major source of risk for land banks. Whereas builders own construction risk, Arroyo Capital assumes the risk of market conditions. For instance, if a project is delayed by six months, and the market happens to decline, the builder may choose not to purchase the lots, leaving Arroyo Capital at risk. "I need finished lots to sell to a builder, so schedule delays are a major source of concern," Jeff stated.

Arroyo Capital uses TraceAir to monitor progress and identify potential construction issues early on without relying on information from their builders. For example, if grading is supposed to be complete on a job, but they see that some of the site is still undisturbed, they can easily recognize that there's a schedule issue. "It allows us to be proactive and identify problems before it's too late," Jeff said. 

Benefits for the Whole Team

In addition to the value Arroyo Capital realizes from using TraceAir, they also share these benefits with their builders. By inviting their teams to the platform, they are able to conduct productive, collaborative meetings whether in person or via video conference using TraceAir as a valuable visual tool. "I love using TraceAir in meetings because it allows us to look at current site conditions together," Jeff stated.

The Bottom Line

Arroyo Capital uses TraceAir to conduct remote site inspections, manage draws, and reduce risk on home building developments. The benefits have been significant- both in cost savings from conducting regular site inspections and the value Arroyo Capital realizes from using TraceAir with builders. TraceAir continues to be a valuable visual tool for construction management for developers, homebuilders, and contractors.

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