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As the construction and built environment industry moves into a digital era where accountability is more important, solutions are provided by those with specific areas of expertise that are being applied to extended areas of our work.
FARO’s BuildIT Construction software allows almost completely automated Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) management processes to take place on site. It enables construction professionals to continuously compare real-world conditions against CAD models, Udo states that “the development team have been working hard to embed traceable construction concepts that compliment or replace traditional workflows”.
BuildIT Construction software provides the ability to quickly and efficiently verify that objects are placed correctly during or after construction (from openings & columns to rebar).
With a background in structural engineering, Udo is obviously keen to see what clear benefits are available to his profession, but he’s tasked with identifying opportunities for other stakeholders and making them ‘real’.
Designers of almost any discipline can learn a lot from reports generated from the BuildIT Construction software. While on the surface, it may seem that an on-site construction issue is the fault of a contractor or subcontractor, it could perhaps offer insight as to the cause of the issue. Was it that the item was constructed in the wrong place, the contractor amended the design or that the original design didn’t give enough thought to constructability?
The question then passes to the designer – is the reported deviation related to my design errors/assumptions – are there constructability issues? The identified deviations shouldn’t be seen as a ‘policing’ of the process, but rather a helping hand to ensure the best possible result.
Now with the ability to import native Autodesk® Revit® files, the time taken for a model comparison workflow for Revit file ‘creators’ or ‘consumers’ is greatly reduced and the process simplified.
For non-Autodesk® Revit® BIM users, the import of IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) files is also now possible, widening the ability to import and check against files from many other BIM authoring tools.
As the original target users for this technology, the benefits are more obvious – the ability to check, in ‘near-real-time’ what has been constructed in reality against what has been designed and specified by the design team.
As the stakeholder most likely to undertake the data capture work on site, the ability to register FARO Focus Laser Scanner data files directly during import reduces the time from capture to validation report by half – heading towards a seamless workflow, with real-time comparisons.
Whether these are ‘simple’ checks, such as floor flatness to ensure rework is avoided, checking pre-cambered steel beams for their appropriate settlement or checking surfaces for smoothness prior to the application of decorative finishes, similar techniques provide evidence that the correct standards have been met.
The BuildIT Construction software report template library is increasing – as such, templates such as floor flatness checks to the American Standard ASTM E1155 are available and can be amended to suit other standards.
At a larger scale, early warning for potential design coordination issues between trade contractors is now possible but also for determining accuracy in critical situations. Greater accuracy and the ability to ‘see’ coordination issues provides more flexibility in finding solutions.
KPMG’s 2015 Global Construction Survey stated that “one of the industry’s most pressing needs is well-trained project managers to complete projects on time and on budget”. While this comment was three years ago, the requirement still exists. Tools such as BuildIT Construction provide greater insight into construction progress and traceability, enabling better decision making at project management level.
Excitedly, Udo mentions that “the BuildIT Construction development team uncovered technology that can automate repetitive tasks… allowing users to create, in a user-friendly fashion, bespoke workflows to increase speed and efficiency for on-site reporting” benefitting both PMs and contractors.
In addition to this, communicating with other stakeholders in an intuitive way is now possible through the export of colour-coded models – including the ability to customise the colour scale in deviation. This is essential in the communication of issues, simplifying construction project management by identifying and resolving issues quickly with traceability.
Whether checking that work has been undertaken to the most accurate of tolerances at a micro level or simply reporting overall progress at a macro level, BuildIT Construction can help cost consultants plan and report financial aspects, enabling greater control, reduced risk and increased clarity of what has been built by whom and to what standards.
FARO continues its investment in the platform to enable a wider usage in the construction industry. The focus is very much on improving user adoption of the tool into their workflows through usability. Obviously, this will produce better outcomes than traditional methods and is driven at the moment by development roadmap themes such as data consistency and faster creation of deliverables.
By integrating BuildIT Construction into the wider FARO product portfolio, we can see extended opportunities for automating many repetitive and laborious built environment tasks.
The user scenarios above are a handful of the current capabilities of BuildIT Construction in relation to traceable construction. With this technology, borrowed from years of use in the manufacturing industry, playing a vital part in capability and many more standard checks and measures planned and features allowing users to create their own checks, we can see project stakeholders very soon demanding more stringent quality – we now have the tools to ensure it is delivered…with the added traceability.
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