14 May 2019
sponsored by Clearbox
Give Us A Wave - submitted by Willmott Dixon Cobham
With BIM becoming more and more established within the industry, the use of 3D models offers project teams new ways to visualise and interrogate the design and project information. Benefits to construction planning, stakeholder approvals, logistic planning, project understanding, and engagement are all enhanced through a 3D lens.
However, accessing these models has been limited to designers and BIM professionals alike, who have the necessary high-powered computer hardware in which to scrutinise effectively. When handed over to the project team, they hit the hardware barrier with laptops that cannot support viewing the models, so teams revert back to providing fly through MP4’s and still images as a means to bridge the gap.
Ebb3 and Scan, who are their technology partners, collaborated with Willmott Dixon to provide project teams with a solution to run these power-hungry gamification models no matter where they were. Through consultation with all users, a simple solution emerged centred around a digital tool called the Raspberry Pi which acts as the access window to a cloud-based service which runs all the processing, and streams (like Netflix) to wherever the user is.
This was piloted on the University of Kent Economics building project in Canterbury Kent with the project and construction teams as the primary end users. To date, they are using this system to better understand the design at various stages, signoff proposals, and communicate better with their internal and external stakeholders.
The solution is also shared with the customer’s estates team and wider university stakeholders. Project upstanding levels have increased, while efficiencies in the number of meetings required to achieve sign offs had reduced by over 50%. Directly impacting sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint due to the reduction of meetings.
The Raspberry Pi is cheap to replace, durable and can be hidden within the site cabins while not presenting itself as a high value asset worthy of theft. The Pi holds no data on its internal hard drive due to being a cloud-based device. Even if the unit is stolen, the data remains protected and safe.
The solution has opened up the gateway for future prospects in the establishment of virtual design and team meetings. They are addressing the problems of ‘fee burn’ in travelling to meetings, and the inefficiencies associated with such practices. Benefits to projects include greater time spent working on the design as opposed to travelling. Multiple team members are able to dial in, in both Virtual Reality immersive and external viewer modes, without the need for a physical meeting of teams in a single location.
Project teams as a result increase their communications and collaboration with each other, as they have the ability to meet more often and for shorter timescales to discuss ideas and resolve issues.
Environmental benefits through sustainable travel also emerge, with the added benefits realised towards time management efficiencies and work/life balance alignment due to less travel time during unsociable hours.
It is benefiting the business, the people, their partners and their customers. As engagement increases, new problems are being identified and solved, to the benefit of all.
For more details:
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The SECBE 2019 Digital Construction Award is sponsored by Clearbox.