StructionSite, the widely used 360 reality capture provider, just launched a fast, low-cost jobsite mapping system for lean construction workflows that is akin to Google’s Street View. The reason for the company’s new system? Project teams are more mobile than ever and require even further versatility and efficiency.
Lean teams reduce with a digital copy of the jobsite
Lean construction teams are at their most efficient when the right information is available to the right people at the right time. But when an issue comes up, the right people are rarely physically on the jobsite — the superintendent might be available, but the engineer is across town, and the subcontractor is in the trailer. Hours are wasted every day as stakeholders go to and from the jobsite, take pictures, and make notes, all so they can be marked up and emailed out.
What if a jobsite could be captured by one person, then shared with the whole team in a digital format? A superintendent can do a daily walk with a 360° camera, dropping a pin at their starting point on the drawing before walking the floor. Using StructionSite, the super can create an immersive digital version of the site as they walk. When the walk is done, the super/foreman simply drops another pin on their final location, then uploads the video to the web.
When project engineers come online to address outstanding issues, they can skip the field trip and immediately take action with a 360° photo, the location on the drawing, and a live chat interface to coordinate with project teammates. Using StructionSite’s Navisworks integration, they can also bring in a 360 photo of the coordinated BIM, easily comparing design to reality. Communication now happens instantly, when the right people are available, and entirely in the context of the jobsite.
“There will always be situations that require a trip to the field,” said Matt Daly, StructionSite’s CEO. “But think about how much time we waste trying to communicate field conditions. We throw on our PPE and head to the field, locate the issue, take pictures and make notes, go back to the office, mark up the pictures, find the drawings, mark those up, then put it all together and email it out… StructionSite shortcuts this process, so decisions get made faster and the project schedules move forward.”
Making technology more accessible
One of the things that makes products like StructionSite possible is the dramatic decrease in the cost of technology — in StructionSite’s case, the $300 360° camera. The idea might seem simple: StructionSite’s workflow puts the right people on the jobsite at the right time. But the increase in efficiency on the jobsite turns out to be enormous.
“After the field worker walks the site with their 360° camera, we create a path showing where they’ve been, and anyone working on that job site can click on that path to view the 360 photo from that location,” said Daly.
Like Google Street View, but for construction
StructionSite lets users navigate an environment, move forward, look up, and more, all the while cutting out the noise of multiple communication channels with a built-in chat function. The idea is to communicate within the context of the jobsite and spend less time lost in emails.
Although a 360° camera might not capture a millimeter-accurate point cloud like a terrestrial 3D scanner, it’s more than enough information to communicate site conditions, according to Daly, and at a fraction of the cost. He adds, “3D laser scanners are amazing technology, and we plan to integrate several into our workflows this year, but we started with 360 cameras due to the low cost and simple operation.”
Some of the inspiration for StructionSite’s work comes through a partnership made earlier this year with project management software platform Procore Technologies. For 2018, StructionSite has several other integrations planned to create seamless integration with other applications, including Autodesk BIM 360 and Bluebeam.
This article was brought to you in partnership with StructionSite.