Baupal: An Online Building Application Service Making Architecture More Accessible
By digitizing architecture services, German firm baupal seeks to democratize sustainable and customized architecture, making design, energy assessments, permitting and cost evaluations more accessible and straightforward for private builders and smaller construction projects. Baupal is an online building application service that takes advantage of digital processes and efficient team structures to streamline design, planning and permitting processes for a range of small-scale projects.
Selected as one of Archdaily’s Best New Practices of 2021, Baupal is a Berlin-based start-up co-founded in 2020 by Constantin Schmidt-Thomé, Justus Menten, and Max Schroeren with the purpose of “simplifying design and building application for everyday homeowners and their contractors. “With backgrounds in finance, entrepreneurship and architecture, the team set out to transform the design and planning approval process into a customer experience through digital and transparent workflows. The firm specializes in conversions, extensions and new single-family houses, while also providing building application services to construction companies.
While construction firms and contractors can develop projects, they require the services of a licensed architectural practice for formal approval. At the same time, homeowners require permits for a wide range of small-scale interventions such as extensions, garden additions and conversion of spaces. Baupal represents a user-friendly alternative to the complex and specialized planning process, allowing clients to verify in a few steps whether the project requires a building application and communicating fees almost instantaneously. The planning process is then conducted via a digital user interface with document management features and through online meetings. The client has access to the documents and can review essential data on the online platform.
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Our goal is to make buildings more sustainable and livable. In this way, values can be preserved for future generations and resources can be conserved.- Justus Menten, Co-Founder & CPO
Baupal places great emphasis on the opportunities provided by digitalization in terms of lowering costs and improving communication between clients and architects. Automating project analysis and various work steps, as well as standardization of operations are the main features that distinguish baupal from a conventional architecture practice. With a team of architects, engineers and energy consultants, the company has already completed over 2000 dwellings and home extensions. The firm provides advice on financing and funding of the project, as well as on choosing a construction company.
It has never been more important to know the energetic condition of your property and to improve it. With baupal, we make this as easy as possible for every homeowner. – Max Schroeren, Co-Founder & CEO
Sustainability is a core value for baupal, expressed through the focus on the energy efficiency of dwellings. Energy consulting is a significant aspect of the firm’s activity, helping individuals secure funding and subsidies for energy improvements to their homes. As described by Energy Consultant Nadine Eberhardt, one of the goals of the firm is to “advise homeowners individually and according to their needs, so that they can renovate their homes in a climate-friendly manner and thus already be able to live more energy-efficiently today.”
Baupal cites an annual turnover for architecture practices in Germany of almost 30 billion euros from planning services alone and around 9.5 billion euros is the value of planning services commissioned by private clients. It could be argued that services such as baupal, while making construction more affordable, cut into the earnings of small architecture firms, for which fees for planning permissions constitute a significant part of their revenue. At the same time, they provide people who wish to build their own house or create a conservatory, a garden house or a simple carport with a user-friendly, fast alternative to the daunting task of engaging the services of a conventional architecture firm.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily’s comprehensive coverage of the curated selection of 2021 New Practices. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you want to nominate a certain studio, firm, or architect, for the 2022 New Practices please submit your suggestions.
This feature is part of ArchDaily’s series where we share a general overview of a firm or an architect’s career and present some of their iconic projects. Every month, we explore new names, highlighting their story and their architectural expression. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you think we should feature a certain unfamiliar studio, firm, or architect, please submit your suggestions.