Perhaps you’ve read the statistics or seen the graphs of flat or declining productivity in the construction business.
Quit a few studies across the globe said much the same thing. Productivity almost everywhere else has been going gangbusters, but construction productivity has remained flat or declined. Even changing base periods or following different types of construction had little or no effect on the results of these studies. Productivity in construction lags seriously behind the rest of industry and commerce.
Most articles on the subject say similar things, if in different ways. Poor project management, inadequate communications, poor risk management, poor project organization, and inadequate Work-Breakdown-Structure are among the most commonly cited culprits. While all these, and more, undoubtedly contribute to the problem, one common thread warps and woofs its way through all the studies, papers, and research. Communication.
We’re not talking a lack of cell phones here. It’s communication among groups. Here’s an example. The architect may work on paper, or with a 2D CAD program, or with a 3D CAD. The engineering firm(s) might work in different CAD programs. The CMR might work with one set of programs, while the construction firm and subcontractors work in large format paper or some other set of software programs. And often, the communication medium among these groups is paper.
Enter BIM (Building Information Modeling). Construction professionals have been widely adopting the BIM process to design, construct and manage buildings with the assumption that this level of 3D coordination will improve communication and increase productivity. In the field, however, manual errors still exist. Installations that deviate from the model even slightly will have a domino effect on the remainder of the project. The resulting modifications will invalidate the original model, often making it useless for long-term facility maintenance.
Progressive laser scanning throughout a project detects deviations from the coordinated model. All parties will see the changes and the affected trades can quickly modify their planned installations or adjust prefabricated components. These changes are then communicated back to the field immediately. This halts the domino effect and maintains the accuracy of the model. The resulting virtual model will reflect precise, as-built conditions for inclusion in a useful turnover package.
The combination of BIM and progressive laser scanning is improving communications on construction projects around the country. This leads to considerably improved productivity. In one case, 250,000 sq. ft. of medical office space was constructed with zero field-detected RFIs.
Do you have questions about how this technology might be applied to your business or area of study? Give us a call or drop a line.