In the Media
June 21, 2022

Using Technology to Track Building Construction in 3D

Erik Sherman recently wrote a blog about using technology to track building construction in 3D. We were happy to be included in the list of tech companies changing the construction industry with their technology. You can read the original article on here.

For better construction, you need an improved way of dealing with reality.

There’s a fundamental issue in solving problems. Many are intractably complicated, so we build models to address them. But the models are just that, simplified representations, not reality.

An example that happened years ago: a contractor had taken on a job of remodeling a basement into an apartment. The architect insisted on ordering the kitchen cabinetry rather than allowing the contractor to do so. The cabinets came in and didn’t fit, because the architect ordered them to the dimensions on the drawings and didn’t come down to measure. The irate contractor went on to explain that no one in their right mind would do that. Instead, you’d order the cabinets slightly smaller and then a spacer that could be trimmed to fit as necessary.

The architect made the error of oversimplification, by relying on blueprints rather than being in touch with the reality of the physical space. And that was in a basement rehab. Large-scale, multi-story construction offers exponentially more opportunities for simplification to blow up. Some companies are trying to address that through technology.

Vendors like Avvir, Reconstruct, StructionSite, Disperse, OpenSpace, Constru, SiteAware, Doxel, and Scaled Robotics offer systems and services that are supposed to help keep building projects on schedule and budget by capturing information and performing analysis.

The information capture is frequently done by computer vision, which means applying artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning to images captured by special cameras, and then comparing the current state of things at any given time to what might be expected given detailed construction plans. Software systems can then, in theory, see what has been done or hasn’t, and if there are deviations from the plan.

This sounds related to automated floor plans and space measurements, only far more complex and demanding. If you can document the current process of a project, review it in an effective and efficient manner, and detect problems as they begin to happen, not after they are so far advanced that correction becomes cumbersome and expensive, it should be possible to waste less money and time.

The remote nature of the scanning and then the data analysis means that much of the monitoring work can be done in an office rather than having people spending time on the construction site trying to document things by hand.

As in any type of software, it can be difficult to compare products from different vendors because they structure and describe things differently. Also, companies often grasp onto terminology that’s gaining popularity, claiming to offer something that they might not exactly. But the potential advantage is something any company with sizable projects might explore.

If you'd like to learn more about Avvir's Reality Analysis platform, visit our solutions page for more info.

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