Using Field Technology to Connect Construction Workflows & Drive Productivity Gains

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By Cassidy Gaertner

There has long been a communication gap in construction between the office and the field. When teams are working in isolation and project information only exists in silos, productivity and efficiency suffer.

Connected construction addresses this problem by centralizing project models and data, and making this information accessible and shareable for all project stakeholders. By promoting easier and more effective communication, collaboration, and information sharing, connected construction can help you achieve meaningful improvements in productivity and efficiency.

One way to facilitate connected construction workflows is with field technology tools. 3D laser scanners and robotic total stations, in particular, open up the flow of project information between the field and the office. Here’s a closer look at how you can connect your construction workflows using these technologies.

Capture Accurate Field Data to Develop Constructible Models

During the project planning phase, field technology tools can help you capture field conditions as 3D data. This data can then be used to develop accurate constructible models, which replace the need for 2D drawings that are more difficult to interpret.Trimble X7 Laser 3D Scanning

3D laser scanner can be used to capture complete and precise 3D measurements of existing conditions on a project, like a remodel for example. The scanner gathers millions of points of data that are used to generate a detailed composite point cloud. The point cloud functions as a 3D representation of the as-built space that can then be shared with stakeholders.

A scanner with in-field registration and referencing capabilities allows you to view your scan data right in the field alongside model and layout data to ensure you’ve captured everything you need the first time. You can also add field notes and export your data directly to modeling software, enabling teams back in the office to utilize the data right away without the need for further refinement on their end.

By collecting all the data you need at the beginning of a project and storing and organizing the information in one centralized location, you can lay the groundwork for creating constructible models while improving project productivity from the get-go.

Share Information to Increase Communication & Collaboration

Both laser scanners and robotic total stations make it easy to collect and share data between project teams. A 3D laser scanner is a versatile tool that can be used to capture data for a variety of construction workflows, including renovations, as-built verification, precast setup verification, prefabrication skid QA/QC, post-tension cable verification, and more.

robotic total station can also be used to bring data back and forth between the office and the field. You can use a robotic total station to take the 3D model into the field to lay out points, instead of relying on 2D plans. The tool allows you to increase layout productivity by upwards of 10X with just a single operator. By automating layout workflows, you can lay out 300-400 points per day vs. the 30-40 points per day that is typical of two-person manual layout.

A robotic total station also lets you collect field data to take back to the office. You can use the tool to gather measurement data on the work performed to check accuracy and identify clashes. This information becomes part of the central project information, making it easily shareable with and accessible by other teams. You can even take photos with the robotic layout station to generate field reports and add notes for reference.

The data you collect with field technology solutions doesn’t just help bridge the gap between the field and office. It can also help you discover and resolve problems earlier and make better, faster decisions. You can also use the project data to inform and streamline future projects, like renovations, and other workflows, like maintenance and repair.

Enhance Communication & Collaboration for Greater Productivity

When you use a collaboration platform like Trimble Connect together with field technology, you can make accurate project data centrally accessible and available across the entire project lifecycle, connecting the right people to the right data at the right time.

The cloud-based software solution acts as a single source of truth for the project. All project teams, no matter which phase of construction they’re involved in, can access the same up-to-date project information. Information flows back and forth freely to enable successful project delivery and minimize costly RFIs, rework, and change orders.

You can also view, upload, or download files to your Trimble Connect project with the Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2 while in the field. Any notes, comments, or data updates you make are recorded and synced with the shared project for the project team to access and use. With access to the right information, you’re able to make sure the model stays aligned with the actual environment and reduce problems like misinterpreted design intent, missing data, and other mistakes.

Connect Your Workflows with Field Technology Tools

When teams and workers are connected to the same project information, you can coordinate and communicate with greater success—which further boosts your productivity. Trimble’s field technology tools integrated with a collaboration platform like Trimble Connect make it easy for you to connect your construction workflows with digital project data and, in doing so, improve your productivity and efficiency.

When accurate, updated 3D project data is available to all stakeholders through the latest field technology solutions, you can:

  • Capture field conditions to create constructible models
  • Share information more easily across teams and workflows
  • Improve communication and collaboration
  • Realize big gains in productivity

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