Most people in the construction industry have a story to tell, often it's humorous: a column in the wrong place, missing walls or a stairway to nowhere. But all these stories are costing us time and money.
We believe that the root cause of many of these issues lies in the fact that while we are designing digitally we are still constructing manually, software tools have developed rapidly but onsite tools have remained the same. Buildings are complex, with even simple developments requiring tens of thousands of elements.
Currently, Site managers have no way of quickly and accurately comparing as-built to the digital model, relying either on spot checks which are slow, labour intensive and not fully representative.
Put simply, if you cannot measure it you cannot manage it and if you don’t understand a process objectively you will never improve it.
At Scaled Robotics we are bridging the gap between the digital model and the physical job site to verify work and provide objective analysis for staff to make better decisions quickly.
In this case study, we will demonstrate how on an exceptionally challenging site we were able to automate the quality assessment of the structural works within 24 hours. Providing critical insight at the right time into a complex project that saved the construction team both time and money.
Highlighting areas where we caught significant defects, streamlined documentation and improved coordination. Mitigating risk to keep management focused on delivering the project.
To demonstrate the product's capabilities we set up a test case. Taking a 9-floor hotel building, we analyzed data from 3 floors to verify quality and track progress. This constituted 3,500 m2 of built area and over 4,000 elements.
The test demonstrated dramatic reductions in rework costs, increased collaboration and reduction in friction. Delivering over €50,000 of direct savings on rework costs whilst improving overall quality and productivity.
3,500 m2 and over 4,000 elements
analyzed automatically in under 24 hours
How does it work?
The site is laser scanned.
Raw laser scan data uploaded to our cloud platform
Those scans are automatically processed and compared to the digital model.
Displayed for the user in a clear interface.
This analysis is fully automated by our computer vision and machine learning algorithms
This test focused predominantly on the structural steel and concrete phase of construction.
Over 4,000 elements were analyzed automatically overnight.
Results were delivered on an easy to use web-based viewer, where data could be searched for.
The user required used a regular computer to access this complex dataset.
Catching errors in real-time
In total, we estimate a reduction in re-work of between €50,270 and €67,190.
Approximately 1 week of working hours saved by the site team.
Flagging high-risk issues in hours, not days or weeks
There are a number of benefits our users found through using our software platform.
Catching errors in real-time
Catching issues early is crucial to reduce the impact they will have on the building project. The longer it takes to discover an issue the more expensive it is to resolve. On this project, this was exemplified in the reservations / block-out results, you can find details on this in the later section “Real-time error example“.
Free up time and increase productivity
Our software saves site management time, issues are brought up ahead of time which reduces the severity and complexity of the issue which saves management time. Instead of manually checking thousands of elements to be 100% sure there are no issues staff can focus their energy on high-risk issues. That is time which can be reinvested into the project to proactively identify and solve problems that can reduce rework or warranty claims, and have a positive impact on margins. This is exemplified in how thousands of elements were filtered to bring to management attention the most damaging issues, in this case, reservations / blockouts, this is highlighted in the later section “Real-time error example“
Objective information about subcontractor performance can also be used to improve processes and actively prevent issues from becoming chronic within a project.
If an issue is identified it means nothing unless it can be clearly communicated to the relevant parties. One centralized automatically updated place for information means that fewer pieces of information fall through the cracks or are underutilized. In this case, objective information was used to collaborate with subcontractors and fix issues without the usual effort.
Having that single source of documentation for site management allows staff to go back to previous dates and evaluate the state of the site instead of pouring through documentation. This pays dividends in avoiding costly litigation or conflict with stakeholders to recover costs, this is covered in more detail in “Documentation, communication and litigation“.
Working proactively instead of reactively reduces risk
Real-time error example
A great example would be concrete reservations/block outs. These voids in the concrete for services are often misplaced or missing causing ripples of issues through a project because of the number of dependent tasks later in the programme. The value of catching this early is significant because traditionally these kinds of issues would be caught months later when the next trade relying on that void for services being accurate could no longer do there work. Causing disruptions, emergency work, possible health and safety considerations and extra costs.
Over 3 floors there were 15% were missing and 20% were not in the correct position. Each of these issues had not been previously detected.
As shown in the image above the BIM and actual site conditions do not match. The software brings this to the user's attention in a clear concise way, to quickly diagnose and communicate a critical issue.
Stakeholders can highlight these issues in 5 mouse clicks as opposed to hours or days of manual work onsite. Sharing those issues with the right people to make better decisions with better data.
15% of reservations were missing
Documentation, communication and litigation
We discovered with the customer that having accurate documentation for work pays dividends across the project lifetime helping to reduce the impact of litigation. Having an objective source truth on progress and quality helps General Contractors hold subcontractors to account and slash litigation costs.
Once an issue has been highlighted early it is easier to resolve before payment has been made. Opposed to addressing hard to prove issues months later when that subcontractor has moved to another job and them incurring extra costs impacts their ability to fix problems.
Objective truth documentation helps reduce friction and cut down on extra costs. Our customer estimates that of every issue that reaches litigation 40% of the value is recovered while the remaining 60% is wrapped up in legal fees, documentation and time wasted.
While it may be unrealistic to entirely eliminate rework, litigation or all inefficiencies the fact is most projects typically suffer from far too much of it. The Scaled Robotics software platform provides the tools for site management to take a big chunk out of the problem helping to save significant time and money. This pilot demonstrated a significant return on investment both in direct costs and productivity gains.
On this project, we highlighted the reservations (block-outs) but on the next, it could be any number of issues that were overlooked, that risk is always there but reducing that uncertainty helps deliver projects on time and on budget.
The benefits felt from this test have now led to a longer-term deployment which we are undertaking currently and look forward to sharing the results.
“The technology will streamline quality assurance processes by replacing subjective assessments with empirical and reliable data, delivered in an open and transparent platform.“
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