The industry continues to struggle with construction productivity. 2017 was plagued by a massive nationwide worker labor shortage and technical skills gap brought on by a lack of trained workers. Continue »
The volume of construction output worldwide is projected to grow by 85 percent by 2030. This puts the global construction industry in a challenging position: it will have to meet increasing demand even as the world faces mounting resource constraints and demand grows for high performance (even “net zero”) buildings. Continue »
WeWork Acquires Fieldlens: Two Tech Startups Are Changing the Face of Co-working Both Companies Leverage Massive Amounts of Data to Increase Efficiency in Building and Office Utility
It’s All About Big Data
The market leader in shared and co-working office space, WeWork, which is now adding office space at a mind-blowing rate of half a million square feet per month, recently acquired a small construction management software startup called Fieldlens. What’s the connection between these two companies? As WeWork’s Head of Construction Tim Dumatrait and Fieldlens founder Doug Chambers announced at the annual Bluebeam eXtreme Conference, the answer is all about data. Continue »
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Ready to Disrupt A Closer Look at New Technology Impacting Construction Industry
No doubt, there are many moving parts to any construction project — whether it is a high-rise apartment tower or a housing development. As a contractor, a big part of your job is to document the project and keep stakeholders up to date with photos and on-site tours. Wouldn’t this be easier if you could use an app that delivered a 360-degree photo of your project to share with clients? Or even better — what if you could see inside the walls of a building using photos taken earlier in the construction process?
Clearly, this is an exciting time for those who are eager to embrace emerging construction technology like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). Even though this technology has been on the horizon for a while, its potential has not gone unnoticed. A report released by Goldman Sachs in 2016 predicted that the AR/VR market in the U.S. could be as large as $182 billion by 2025. The report cites some construction companies are already seeing ways the technology can be useful in the pre-construction stage.
BIM Leads the Way
One thing everyone can agree on is the potential for this technology to save real money for construction companies and solve critical challenges. Some contractors today are already seeing the benefits: faster project completion, less rework, improved safety, lower labor cost, issues resolved faster and improved quality. As this technology continues to save time and money, you will begin to see greater acceptance.
In fact, the wider acceptance of 3D and Building Information Modeling (BIM) may signal a push in the industry toward more contractors using this ground-breaking technology. Its potential to change the way projects are designed and built is awe-inspiring. While tablets at construction sites are nothing new, the possibility of integrating digital content with real-world images opens up new possibilities for how contractors plan work, quality management, safety and inspection.
A Closer Look at AR and VR
Let’s take a deeper dive into these two technologies and how they are being used in the construction industry.
Augmented Reality (AR) is any technology that superimposes spatially contextual information over the user’s view of the real world, providing additional data while still permitting interaction with the real environment. With AR, a designer can overlay an interactive design model on the real, live environment.
The most practical implications for AR is that a project manager or contractor could walk through a construction site and easily view an overlay of a BIM model on top of as-built construction. They could then compare the two while also accessing up-to-date change orders or other project documentation. The project manager could instantly take pictures or record video of the AR walk-through and send it back to the design team for clarification as issues arise. Some believe that AR will do for BIM what BIM did for CAD and 2D architectural drawing.
By comparison, Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-simulated environment that allows you to interact in a realistic and/or physical way within the environment. With VR, you wear a virtual reality visor and become immersed as it replaces the real-world with a computer-generated environment.
In theory, moving to VR should be easy since architects and engineers already create digital models of their designs. But experts say these existing models will likely need to be augmented or even rebuilt to be used for VR. Some of the strongest arguments for AR and VR center on the potential for engineering design and project collaboration. This means all parties involved in a project could meet and resolve any issues in a virtual building that is being designed. With everyone present, you could alter the design in a shared space.
What’s Driving the Market?
Much of the interest in AR and VR has to do with its potential for cost- and time-savings to streamline processes. Here are some of the potential benefits of this evolving technology:
- Ideas for customers, planners, investors and other critical stakeholders can be quickly visualized by architects and developers
- These groups can more easily discuss changes and up-sell to more costly options
- It also helps to reduce expensive late-stage changes because you can more easily explore and evaluate options at any stage
- It can improve early-stage collaboration between architects, engineers and construction specialists
The Next Big Thing
We can all agree that estimating has come a long way since manual takeoff with colored pencils and calculators. It has not been that long since the construction industry began to embrace digital takeoff and estimating tools and BIM. This technology has led to great leaps in speed and accuracy — allowing estimators to bid and win work more quickly.
To take things to the next level, the construction industry will need to connect modeling and estimating software so they can take full advantage of the promise of AR and VR solutions. This change will likely disrupt what estimators and project managers do and how it is done — just as digital takeoff and BIM have revolutionized and sped up the entire building design process.
Just like the hype around AR and VR, the market is saturated with noise around BIM and its impact on traditional 2D estimators. Let On Center Software help you grapple with this next-generation technology. Don’t miss our must-read white paper, “Is Takeoff Dead?”
If the rapid advancement of virtual reality (VR) technology being used in the design and building process is any indication of what’s to come, it’s not a question of if, but when, there will be a large number of construction firms adopting some form of VR. Continue »
From Concept to Completion: Augmented Reality’s Role in Designing and Constructing Commercial Buildings
Every industry is facing common challenges in terms of retaining expertise, delivering knowledge effectively to workers when and where they need it, and improving efficiency in operations. Continue »
Large organizations have enormous productivity potential at their disposal, but they deliver only a small fraction of that potential. The amount and type of productivity impact that a company achieves directly relates to how the organization approaches friction and the way it fosters, selects and funds innovation. Continue »
At the heart of every project management system is the control of time. In a perfect world, the project schedule runs smoothly and on course. But the unpredictable and complex nature of construction leaves little room for seamless time management. Continue »
Deadlines are not arbitrary and rarely optional. Yet more than 50 percent of construction jobs finish late. The Project Management Institute found last year that for every $1 billion in spending, nearly $122 million was wasted as a result of poor project management practices. Continue »
Eight Considerations for Choosing the Right Construction Management Software Amid Industry Digitization, Contractors Benefit From a Connected Platform
It’s no secret that digitization is transforming the global construction industry. In its most evolved form, digitization means that project collaborators are all connected on a single technology platform, sharing information freely among different companies and across different departments within the same company. Continue »
Not that long ago, smartphones, tablets and mobile laptops did not exist. Technology has advanced so quickly that mobility has become a primary factor in a construction company’s ability to succeed in the highly competitive market. Continue »
This week’s rundown features a boom lift operator safety system, image capture and mapping, new software for accounting and project management, subcontractor management system and inventory tracking software. Welcome to Dexter + Chaney, newest ABC Strategic Partner. Continue »