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Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021

Microsoft Paves Digital Twins' On-Ramp for Construction, Real Estate - Construction Links Network


Microsoft Digital Twins

(1:21) Video by - Microsoft Cloud

Digital twins for the smart building of the future are still under construction. But Microsoft is working to enable this advanced technology with a special ontology that works with its internet of things (IoT) platform Azure Digital Twins. Such capabilities move smart buildings closer to reality.

An ontology is essentially a shared data model that simplifies the process of connecting applications in a particular domain, and it’s one of the core elements for developing digital twins.

“Microsoft is investing heavily in enabling our partners with the technology and services they need to create digital twin solutions that support new and existing needs of the world’s largest real estate portfolios,” said Microsoft Azure IoT general manager Tony Shakib.

This recent push into construction extends the utility of . . . Read More

Digital Twins

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021

8 Ways Augmented and Mixed Reality Improves Remote Collaboration and Worker Safety - Constructible


Trimble Connected Construction

(0:52) Video by - Trimble Buildings

Physically, much of the world has remained the same as it was before the pandemic.

But, if you’re anything like me, the way you move through the world has been completely transformed. How I spend my time, the details I notice, and what I care about are not the same as they were even just a few months ago. And, flaws and opportunities that were once unknown seem glaringly obvious to me now.

It reminds me of the first time I looked at a jobsite through a mixed reality headset. Standing on a freshly poured slab, I was able to see an entire engineering project finished — long before construction began. Yes, my feet remained firmly planted in the same world they had always been in, but my eyes showed me something completely different.

With remote collaboration during COVID-19 and social distancing in construction now our reality, I see many companies turning to mixed reality and augmented reality technologies for a better way to . . . Read More

Mixed Reality

Friday, May 14, 2021

Virginia Tech Research Unleashing Robotic Technology on Campus Construction Sites - Virginia Tech


Checking In: Spot the Robot Dog at CID and Holden Hall

(3:19) Video by - Virgina Tech

Virginia Tech researchers are unleashing an autonomous robot dog on university construction sites to investigate the applications of using robots to monitor construction progress.

Faculty and students from Myers-Lawson School of Construction, within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and College of Engineering, are partnering with the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities and industry sponsor Procon Consulting to deploy Spot, a mobile robot dog developed by Boston Dynamics, to conduct this innovative research.

The ongoing experimental investigation is exploring whether construction progress monitoring – a traditionally human-dependent, labor-intensive, and error-prone process – can be improved by leveraging autonomous robotic technology to lead the systematic collection of data in construction environments.

Six months into the yearlong study, the team recently published its initial findings, which include operating procedures required to launch legged robots in dynamic construction settings and early opportunities and limitations in using robots in this capacity . . .
Read More

BIM/VDC Services

Thursday, May 06, 2021

3D Scanning Technology Plays Key Role in Historic Preservation Project - Directions Magazine


Introducing the Trimble X7 Scanning System

(1:25) Video by - Trimble Geospatial

As more countries move to preserve their historic relics, one Vietnamese municipality is turning to 3D laser scanning to document its treasured buildings, with excellent results. The Saigon Opera House—also known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City—is a beloved structure that has served as both a performing arts facility and government building. Now, it has returned to its roots as an events venue and the local government wants to ensure it can be rebuilt should anything happen.

Old Versus New

With modern advancements continuing to creep further into our lives, many governments are realizing the importance of saving historic relics. In Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, there are more than 150 historic structures, including the Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, Museum of Fine Arts and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Perhaps one of the most cherished buildings in the city is the Saigon Opera House . . .Read More

X7 3D Scanner

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

More Accurate Estimates Start with More Constructible Models - Engineering News Record


Trimble Content Enabled Video

(1:45) Video by - Trimble Buildings

The dynamic visuals of BIM and 3D models provide an impressive way to bring the design vision for a construction project to life. But today’s BIM models do more than simply deliver the wow factor.

More than just 3D models, BIM is a process that’s intended to improve planning, communication, and coordination. In fact, when models contain 4D, 5D, and even 6D BIM information, including details about materials, costs, schedules, maintenance data, and more, BIM’s real value begins to be realized.

“As modeling has matured, an increasing number of contractors and fabricators have embraced BIM for its exceptional value in downstream activities, such as detailing, fabrication, installation, and handover; integrating the complete design and construction workflow as an efficient, collaborative digital effort.” - Using Building Information Modeling to Connect Design and Construction, Dodge Data & Analytics

The more detailed the model, the more constructible it is. By designing to a higher level of detail, not only is the structure . . . Read More

BIM/VDC Services

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2021

Talking to Boston Dynamics' Brian Ringley About the Future of Construction Robotics & Automation - Constructible


114: Canine Robots for Construction with Brian Ringley, Boston Dynamics

(1:02:31) Video by - Business of Architecture

Meet one of the most important people working in construction robotics today. Brian Ringley, Construction Technology Manager at Boston Dynamics, talks with Constructible about Spot's current and future use cases, how innovative contractors use Spot today, 'digital twin starter sets', what construction bots might look like in 2040, upskilling for an automated future, and more.

Tell us a bit about your background in construction and automation.

I graduated in the recession and could not get a professional job in architecture, so I ended up working in digital fabrication labs, on a design technology team, teaching in academia, and picking up a lot of technology skills along the way.

While I was a construction automation researcher at WeWork, we asked our superintendents and assistant supers, "If we could automate one thing you did to make your life easier, what would you like us to work on?" They said, "Please do my daily photo documentation or job walk."

During this work, we found drones to be unfeasible for interior commercial construction spaces in terms of battery life, payload capacity, and operational safety. We tried wheeled and tracked robots, both those that we developed ourselves with kits, and ones that were available on the market. Ultimately, there was no method of wheeled or tracked locomotion that could get everywhere on the site that we needed it to get.

In 2018, Boston Dynamics released a video of Spot on their Japanese customer construction sites and I said, "We've really got to try this." We became Spot early adopters and were able to get the robots on our sites, and demonstrate that they could get anywhere in the environment. It could autonomously trigger 360 image capture and it could do it . . .Read More

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021

Data Across Construction Phases is Finally Here - Construction Executive


The Constructible Process

(1:28) Video by - Trimble Connect

"The benefits of digitization are truly new levels of visibility into individual jobs, and across jobs."

Construction is famously fragmented, with dozens of companies on a given job using their own software, processes, and formats for working, producing information and communicating data and materials. This problem is not new—in fact, it is why the industry has produced standards such as MasterFormat, Uniformat and OmniClass. Standards like these exist so contractors can organize and keep track of the hundreds of thousands of items that come together to become a building, and communicate the quantities, costs and schedules required for that coming together—otherwise known as construction.

The problem is that different phases of construction need different things. Designing focuses on what gets built, whereas construction focuses on how it gets built, and so on. Translating the work product of different teams in different phases wasn’t an issue when that meant a human looking at one sheet of paper and interpreting information to fill in another sheet of paper. Humans are much better at this than is often recognized, despite the odd transcription error. So the industry adopted practices such as material takeoffs—it’s easy to . . .Read More

Trimble Connect

Monday, Mar 29, 2021

Three Tips for a Successful Pull Planning


pull planning

Conducting either a Pull or Phase Planning session with stakeholders is critical to a successful construction project.

Phase Planning Sessions are typically used before a construction project begins, or a major portion of a project kicks off, to successfully navigate possible complexities in the construction process. A Phase planning session creates activities in a schedule with 8 - 25 day durations.

Pull Planning Sessions are used during the construction project to assess durations, relationships, and to navigate which subcontractor might have difficulties during the construction process. A Pull Planning session creates activities in a schedule with 1 - 7 day durations.

In this blog I will refer to both as PPS as they typically share the same techniques to have a successfully session.


A PPS session is often referred to as Last Planner® System which was developed by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). LCI’s definition of the Last Planner® System is defined by “The collaborative, commitment-based planning system that integrates should-can-will-did planning: pull planning, make-ready look-ahead planning with constraint analysis, weekly work planning based upon reliable promises, and learning based upon analysis of percent plan complete and Reasons for Variance.” The Last Planner® System incorporates more than a PPS and for this blog we will focus on improving the PPS with a couple of tips.

The first tip to have a successful PPS is to schedule the PPS 2 to 3 weeks in advance with clear, defined goals or milestones being discussed. A 2 to 3-week written (email) and spoken (phone call) notice will allow the session to be staffed with both the Superintendent and Project Manager (PM) from each trade along with owner representation. The buy-in from both the PM and Superintendent is essential to a successful PPS. The Superintendent has the knowledge and the plan to construct their respective portion of the project, and the PM controls the purse and manpower. The 2 to 3-week notice will force both the Superintendent and PM to look at the plans, communicate between themselves, and to deduce a strategy before the PPS to accomplish their goals within their budget and schedule. If both the PM and Superintendent are in the same room, understanding the coordination of the project allows each of them a time to discuss the plan, manpower, supplies, materials, and budget for their respective portions of the project. This time will also allow the PM and Superintendents a time to discuss the complexities that may arise during the construction phase of the project between the various trades. If the PPS facilitator passes out the stickie notes for the PPS 2-3 weeks in advance with the expectations that the stickie notes will be completed before the session begins, this will allow for a much smoother and efficient PPS.

The second tip is to have a facilitator who comes to the PPS with an expectation of cooperation, collaboration, encouragement, and professionalism. The facilitator must understand that the group is smarter than any one person in the room and the facilitator will not be the expert. Expect the facilitator to ask a lot of questions such as:

  • “Who will need access first?” or “Who is critical to this goal?”
  • “What are the limitations or restrictions on this activity or goal?”
  • “Why will this activity go before that activity?”
  • “When can we allow the next trade to come into the area?”
  • “How many man hours are planned for this activity?”
  • “Are these durations excessive or weighted heavily on a certain task or procurement item?”
  • “Can certain tasks be concurrent?” or “How can we make these activities concurrent?”
  • “Where can we divide the layout of the building to allow activities to run concurrent to accomplish the goal faster?”

These along with other questions will allow for further discussion of the trades. The goal is not to have the trades discuss with the facilitator but with each other.

The third tip for a successful PPS is to have the Building Information Modeling (BIM) coordinator flying through the 3D model or BIM model on a large screen in the same room as the PPS. A great example of software for BIM modeling is VICO Office Suite. With Vico Office, building owners and general contractors can collaborate efficiently, manage costs, and optimize schedules on complex building projects. Vico Office is a 4D modeling tool that allows users to interact with the 3D model as the PPS is in progress.

Questions should come up during the PPS which will require the participants to fly through the model. Having the 3D model open and displayed allows participants a chance to see what is being discussed, question the validity of the model, and ensures all participants are engaged. Often the PPS is conducted with just a plan sets of drawings. We find not all participants come with the most current sets of revisions, which often bogs down the process, and creates confusion or in accurate durations. A 3D BIM model allows for a visual model where participates can ask for clarification to a specific portion of a project by sorting, hiding, modifying, or deleting scopes which will allow for more accurate what-if discussions.

Contact Us

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021

Piaggio Fast Forward and Trimble Announce Proof-of-Concept Collaboration - Rock to Road


PFFtag™, Piaggio Fast Forward and Trimble Announce Proof-of-Concept

(2:25) Video by - Piaggio Fast Forward

Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) and Trimble announced a proof-of-concept collaboration to enable robots and machines to follow humans and other machines in industrial applications.

Together, the companies have integrated a patent-pending PFFtag smart following module prototype developed by Piaggio Fast Forward onto a Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot platform controlled by Trimble’s advanced positioning technology. The companies say this eliminates the need to solely control the robot via joystick. This proof-of-concept is one of the many robots and autonomous vehicles Trimble provides solutions for and could apply to many industries Trimble serves, including construction, mining, agriculture and logistics.

Through PFF’s extensive research and observations of how people navigate the physical world, the company continues to create innovative mobile technology solutions dedicated to improving human efficiency through intuitive collaboration with machines. The Trimble proof-of-concept is a natural iteration of PFF’s technology and business activities.

“We design behaviors that understand people and help automate tasks so you don’t have to build complicated hardware,” said Greg Lynn, PFF’s chief executive officer. “Working with Trimble to boost the process of replacing . . .Read More

Jobsite Security

Thursday, Mar 11, 2021

Worksite Safety: The Post-Pandemic Construction Site Priority - Construction Week Online


Trimble Crewsight - Testimonial with Matt Ogle, Safety Manager at JE Dunn

(2:26) Video by - Trimble Buildings

Paul Wallett, regional director for Trimble Middle-East and India region, makes a point

The Secretary-General of UN had in April remarked that the post-coronavirus world will be different and much more digital than before. The jury is still out on whether this prediction will hold universally true for the global construction industry, otherwise remarkably skeptical towards embracing digitalized processes. However, the need to ensure safety for construction workers and maintain worksite social distancing could be an important trigger for the long due digitalization in construction.

The construction industry is one of the most labor intensive industries, and also the second largest employer after agriculture. Of the millions of core migrant workers in India, around 35% are employed in the construction sector alone. By May 23 last year, after nearly two months of a nationwide lockdown, many of these workers had gone back to their homes by trains and buses . . . and this count does not include those who walked back on foot.

This departure hit the construction industry hard when it prepared to resume work on pending projects. While the migrants have finally and slowly started returning to construction sites in order to earn their living, the labor shortage remains an active concern. This is further exacerbated by the prevailing social distancing guidelines, hampering project developers’ plans to press full throttle at onsite work.

Enter the ‘Digital’

Resuming work at a time when workplace safety measures have become paramount, many leading construction companies have started exploring how they can minimize their dependence on labor by embracing digital construction technologies. While these technologies have existed for a while now, the pandemic has brought them in the front and center of boardroom discussions.

Take cloud-based collaboration, artificial intelligence, IOT, construction robots or specialized software solutions, these tools are now finding a much greater interest among progressive construction players as a means of executing complex workflows that have otherwise required human workers to work in close proximities for long hours. Combined with 4G or WiFi connectivity onsite as well at the office or home, these tools are also making it possible for construction teams to collaborate effectively, save time, and be their most productive on projects.

Ensuring a safer worksite

Many of these tools have a big role to play in ensuring project site safety for workers, engineers, supervisors and managers. They do so by minimizing the need for having large number of people onsite at any given time. For example, project managers typically need to limit who is on site and also confirm that those on site have passed their safety training, have attended safety briefings and also passed background or drug checks . . . Read More

Jobsite Security