With the speed that technology is changing and impacting our lives it is clear that there is a new generation that thrives on technology. Last month, at Autodesk University (AU) 2013 the “iGeneration” came out strong and was ready to consume our technology. At the Construction Zone (within the Exhibit Hall) along with our partners, NRI, Williams Scotsman, TOPCON, Hewlett Packward, Smart Technologies, Southland, PENTA, EarthCam, & Bergelectric we demonstrated how technology is changing construction sites today.
We started out with the Moduflex Trailer from NRI Williams Scotsman. This stackable modular trailer provides you with the “office in the field comforts”. No matter where your project is they have a solution that will fit your site! The onsite trailer was outfitted with everything a BIM project and construction manager would need.
With the continual growth of BIM (Building Information Modeling) in construction, over 70% (McGraw Hill Construction) there is a need for design and construction teams to be connected to a data source of truth all times. Autodesk solutions like BIM 360 Field and Glue, Vault Collaboration for AEC, and Buzzsaw can be accessed via a WAN, broadband, or WIFI connection. In the Construction Zone, our teams were able to connect iPads to our data source live, for all our demos.
With the data connected and the questions coming in we demoed how BIM 360 connects the office to the field team. We first took our guests to one of the two trailers that were set up, as the home office, with a computer workstation and collaboration “war room” set up with a 55″ SMART Board. We showed how design teams and construction managers can view and analyze the construction model via BIM 360 and make real-time decisions.
While the office team was reviewing information, we had the field team inspecting our MEPF installation. Southland Industries provided us with a show stopping conversation making MEPF rack. It was complete and complex. The MEPF rack allowed our team to demo our BIM 360 Field and BIM 360 Glue app on our iPads. We were able to show how any member of the team could access project documents from the field, do walk thoughts, quality and safety checks, work on commissioning and handover, and look up installation and maintenance information from the field. Guests in the Construction Zone were able to inspect the MEPF Rack find and an issue, take a picture of that issue with an iPad, connect it to a location on the model or drawing, and insert an explanation and if you wanted to sync it back to the office; all using WIFI or 3G, LTE, as available.
As the questions continued, we showed how Constructability Modeling workflows benefit the contractor. Using Autodesk Revit and Navisworks, we showed how you can interrogate the model for planning phases of Pre-Construction. We uploaded the model to BIM 360 Glue or BIM 360 Field. We continued with a Multidiscipline Coordination workflow using BIM 360 Glue, our cloud based application, that provides a system for multi-trade teams on construction projects to collaborate, coordinate and perform clash detection on Building Information Models. We continued by showing BIM 360 Glue’s ability to manage the “who and what” part of the process to assign the conflicts found to the appropriate stakeholders. As we moved from the office trailer, we walked out to the show floor space and started our Revolutionary Field Management demo. With iPads in hand we set out to re-imagine the way you can deliver on construction projects by leveraging the advances in mobility and cloud computing, out at the point of construction, in the field where the work is done.With BIM 360 Glue open on our iPad we were ready to do our walk through. We opened the model of the AU 2013 Construction Zone and noticed a column that was right in the middle of our display. We were able to confirm that it was in the model, mark it to be removed and sent the information to the team. As we did our inspections our guests we able to take pictures, log them to an issue, and report them back to the office. With a picture being worth a 1000 words, they were clearly communicating the issue to the office.
While that was going on one of the more exciting moments of the night was the announcement from our partner Topcon of a future product, with no release date, (I had to say that for legal reasons) named the LN100. Currently, with Autodesk Point Layout which takes advantage of robotic total station technology, we can create and manage models in Revit, AutoCAD, and Navisworks. Load that data in Autodesk Point Layout, go out to the field and layout points and or collect point with the Autodesk Point Layout and then use the field data for As Built models. In the future we will manage the Model in the Cloud, create and manage the model points, layout points and or collect Points in the field with the Topcon LN100 and then use that data for as-built models.
The demo ended with a trip to the second trailer that was set up as a field office with a computer, a coloration or meeting table, and a 55″ SMART board. Here we showed that the field office can have the same technology as the home office.
With teams having to stay connected, because timelines and margins are growing shorter and the days of the old trailer are done. It has to be a smart jobsite office. Digital workflows are now maturing and programs are talking to each other. Paper drawings may be required by law, but collaborative decisions are being made in the cloud digitally, with computers, iPads. Touch screens and iPads are producing red lines, marks ups no longer smear, and the digital drawing is always up-to-date. If your submittal or RFI is late an email is automatically sent. The iGeneration is here to stay and the construction industry can only benefit.
What do you think? Please feel free to comment.
This was my first time attending AU was an Autodesk employee. In years past, I attended as a guest. I still firmly believe that AU is the best learning, networking, and collaborating event there is!