Construction Services

5 Attributes of High Quality Construction Data

The quality of construction data matters. Here’s a look at five characteristics of good data, how to avoid some common pitfalls that lead to bad data, and how to tell the difference.

In the construction industry, we’re no longer dealing with the issue of not having access to data, but instead with a lack of information to drive decision-making. What’s the difference? While there’s no shortage of data, many firms are still learning to use that data in an insightful way. The benefits of mastering this skill are plenty; they include having a stronger competitive advantage and greater project outcomes. 

Good project outcomes stem from good decision-making, and nothing affects the decisions you make on a construction job like the quality of your data. The information gathered can have an impact on everything from timelines to budgets, bid performance, and even site safety. What’s more, using bad data over the course of a project has the potential to affect your current work and future jobs. Its predictive nature can create systemic inaccuracies down the line.

Why Quality Data Matters

All construction data is not created equal, and time spent gathering poor data is time lost. According to a new report from Autodesk and FMI, Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction project data has grown exponentially — doubling in the last three years. Yet not all of that project data is created equally. Roughly half of the survey’s respondents shared that “bad” project data (e.g., inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent data) contributed to a poor outcome for one in three project decisions. What’s more, bad project data is costly. Avoiding rework triggered by bad project data could save the global construction industry over $88 billion annually.

How do you tell the difference between good and bad project data? Let’s take a look at five characteristics of good data, how to avoid some common pitfalls that lead to bad data, and how to tell the difference.

How to Spot Bad Construction Data: Siloed, Unreliable, Inaccessible

Bad project data doesn’t come down to a single reason. Research indicates that data management solutions and the challenges the industry faces vary and are unique to each organization’s way of working. In Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction, the most common contributors to bad project data included:

Inaccurate/Incorrect data* (24%) Missing data* (24%) Wrong data* (21%)

*Please check out the report for definitions

While it’s not always easy to spot the difference between good and bad data, there are a number of key attributes of bad data that can help construction professionals avoid using it in the first place.

For one thing, bad data is siloed, meaning there’s a disconnect between the systems used to access the data, and the possibility that not everyone is on the same page regarding which data is most reliable and relevant to the project at hand. Unreliability is another characteristic of bad data, and professionals can spot it by ensuring that data is not outdated and doesn’t contain mistakes. Finally, poor quality data is difficult to access, making it hard to pull up relevant project information.

5 Qualities to Look for in Construction Data

Beyond identifying poor quality data, construction professionals must understand the characteristics of high quality data. Doing so not only helps to avoid wasted time but it also sets projects up for success by providing as many resources as possible. So what characteristics make for good construction data? Read on to learn more about the five attributes of quality construction data and a few resources to help you collect and use it.

1. Consistency

The nature of data captured by the construction industry is often what is considered “heterogeneous” data, or data that has multiple variable types, (e.g., comparing apples to oranges). This type of data is ambiguous and inconsistent in the ways it measures something and what it measures that something against. 

As industry data expert Jit Kee Chin shared, construction professionals must gather “a lot of information across contracts, across text documents, across drawings and across financial information. So the challenge in construction data is heterogeneity in terms of the data that we historically collect.”

With the variety of data formats available in construction, how is it possible to maintain consistency? It all starts with how data is collected. Consistent data requires collecting insights in a uniform way like adopting a common data environment, which helps create a standard platform to capture data. A common data environment typically takes the form of a digital hub, where all information comes together during a building project. Any information gathered for or about a project during any part of the process should be stored in the common data environment to ensure the consistency and accuracy of all project data. 

Organizations committed to quality data typically share these three most common efforts or investments made to ensure decision-makers have access to actionable, high-quality data:

Regularly reviewing data at set intervals for quality purposes (40%) Having established data reporting and monitoring practices, both at the time of collection and use (38%) Structuring data in a common data environment (38%)

2. Cleanliness

Just like clean job sites are integral to successful project outcomes,clean data is vital to ensuring the information you’re relying on is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. In fact, data cleansing — the process of reviewing all project data and eliminating data that is not currently relevant or accurate — often leaves construction professionals with only the best quality data to work with, thus elevating the likelihood of the successful completion of a job. In contrast, data that is not clean creates increased opportunities for mistakes and rework, as well as wastes professionals’ time when they must go back and search for correct information.

The first step toward achieving clean data is to fine-tune your information collection and management processes. Examining vital tasks like data entry, including how and where information is entered into a common data environment, and the controls around what information is considered clean data can go a long way to help ensure the timeliness and accuracy of the data used in a project.

3. Transparency and accessibility

When working to improve your construction data, ask yourself, “Can your team see the data in real time? Can they access it across devices like mobile, and from remote locations?” These are two of the most common issues facing construction professionals when it comes to the transparency and accessibility of data. 

Quality information should be accessible and transparent to reflect what is currently happening. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a one-day lag in accuracy can lead to immense setbacks for a project. Survey respondents from the report Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction, shared that having access to data was essential to accurate project decision-making. When asked what the greatest risk was to project decision-making, 43% said “time constraint/urgency of decision”.

The quality of project data needs to improve if project leaders are to make critical decisions in the field quickly and autonomously. Accessibility is also important for  distributed teams, especially those out in the field. The ability for a team to obtain quality data across devices and locations is essential to the success of a job.

To improve the transparency and accessibility of quality data on a project, industry professionals should consider adopting connected and cloud-based construction technologies that ensure project information is always up-to-date, accurate, and accessible across devices, locations, and project phases.

4. Usability

Let’s say you have consistent, clean data that can be accessed universally across team members’ devices and locations. Oh, and that data transparently provides up-to-date information about a project. What more could you want? 

Usability. Usability is a major factor in whether this data can actually be put to work to solve real problems you might face on the job. Good data can be used to inform work decisions as well as to solve both present and future issues that may arise on the job.

To help support your project staff over data management and analysis, make sure you have a formal data strategy in place. This framework will help to alleviate burdens on busy supervisory staff, and improve data consistency moving forward. Formal data strategies combined with data-rich environments could reduce the number of delayed or poor decisions, saving the industry $50 billion annually. 

Furthermore, adopting solutions with advanced analytics and machine learning can provide insights for both today and the future that can improve project outcomes. According to McKinsey & Company, quality data “increases in usefulness and generates a competitive advantage as it increases in analytical richness” or, put another way, data that does the work of enhancing the quality of available information in the most efficient way possible—on its own. Moreover, companies that use machine learning and other advanced tools like predictive analytics and simulation modeling are best positioned to make the most effective data-driven decisions throughout the entirety of a project.

5. Connectivity

The final attribute of good construction data is connectivity — ensuring that information does not live in silos and shares a common access point among team members. Most projects involve a constant flow of information that originates from multiple stakeholders and takes a variety of formats. Back in the days of paper documentation, data connectivity was nearly impossible, and miscommunication was common. Even now, when more projects than ever are digitized, construction professionals are facing connectivity issues regarding the data they gather and use during a project.

To avoid the risk of siloed data, which can lead to communication issues, all project information systems must interoperate, with common access to critical information and documentation across the entire workstream. One way to achieve this is through integrated construction technology, which helps different data systems communicate and work together. This integrated approach to data is vital to connecting and automating workflows to improve project efficiency.


Download the Data Strategy checklist

Don’t settle for less than high-quality data. High quality construction data can save time, improve teamwork, and greatly contribute to a project’s overall success. Spotting the difference between good and poor quality data, and ensuring that the information you’re using for a project is consistent, clean, transparent, accessible, usable, and connected might sound like a heavy lift.

Nevertheless, adopting a formal data strategy can make a huge difference when it comes to promoting a good project outcome, a happy team, and an efficient work process. What’s more, putting quality data standards in place through advanced analytics and other innovative construction technologies can set you up for success not just now but also in the future.

Start building managing your data more profitably with the 4-step process revealed in our latest report, Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction, made in partnership with FMI. Download the data strategy checklist here.

The post 5 Attributes of High Quality Construction Data appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

Faster Resolution of Design Issues with New Feature in Autodesk BIM Collaborate

At the core of successful construction projects, you’ll find clear communication and continuous collaboration. Yet from 2012 to 2015, just 25% of projects came within 10% of their original deadlines. It isn’t uncommon to encounter bottlenecks as a BIM manager, especially during the preconstruction phase. This is especially true when issue identification, assignment, and tracking are managed by a single person. 

In order to accelerate the design and coordination phases, architects, engineers, BIM managers, and trades must have the ability to identify and track issue resolution. Best case, this is all in the same solution when they review designs or create packages. 

Likewise, upfront issue detection is essential to construction project success. Issues that occur during the design and preconstruction phase may only cost a few thousand dollars to resolve, while those discovered in the field can cost tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate.  

With that in mind, Autodesk Construction Cloud now has Design Issues in Autodesk BIM Collaborate’s Design Collaboration Module. Issues in design collaboration can be tailored to suit your team during the WIP phase or when sharing packages with other disciplines. These issues are accessible across teams, phases, and desktop applications through a common data environment (CDE) to extend the lifecycle of an issue beyond just WIP. 


Resolve design discrepancies faster with new Design Issues feature 

Find and assign issues in the design collaboration phase Accelerate content creation Understand an issue and its history in full context Identify an issue, assign who is responsible for its resolution, mark its location, and note the deadline for resolution Resolve issues in a common data environment Access, review, and resolve issues in other connected applications 


Key benefits: Design Issues feature 


Save time with up-front issue identification 

Instead of having to wait for a coordination meeting, or for a BIM manager to identify issues, project teams can identify and resolve issues as they design. Doing so will save time, as WSP Canada found. The engineering consulting firm used a check-as-you-go method in Revit Cloud Worksharing, which is a part of BIM Collaborate Pro. This saved the BIM manager 20-30% (conservatively) of the time it took to find and assign issues. They have since moved to using this method on over 15 projects. 

In the context of an aggregated model, as you evaluate your team’s designs in a WIP folder, cloud-based issue resolution accelerates the design phase and provides better visibility into the constructability of a model across disciplines. Here’s what you can expect from Design Issues: 

The ability to clearly detail what the issue is, who needs to resolve it, where the issue is, and when it needs to be completedComment capabilities on issues to gain clarity and see the history of that issue for greater context2D Markup tools to pin issues to a model in 3D or 2D sheetDiscipline colorization to more easily identify the responsible teamsDiscovery of new issues through first-person interaction with the aggregated modelQuick resolution in the authoring tool with the free Revit Add-in, connected to the CDE

void time wasting file transfers with a common data environment 

Conducting file transfers from authoring tools to collaboration or coordination tools and back takes up plenty of time and slows down productivity. Some firms use third-party applications to deal with this non-optimal task. However, these applications don’t natively resolve issues and add more cost while the data gets stuck without the use of a CDE.  

That’s why it’s key to be able to resolve issues with a common data environment inherent to the whole eco-system. When issues arise, firms can address them in the tools they already know—like Navisworks and Revit. They also have a running record of issue occurrences and resolution status across disciplines. When an issue gets resolved, the decision details are stored to better predict future builds or provide greater context for field teams. 

By resolving issues in a common data environment, Morgan Sindall Construction found a 78% reduction in synchronization of uploading and downloading models. The firm also generated a 67% reduction in design team meetings by addressing issues in the 3D model. 

With Design Issues in Autodesk BIM Collaborate, you can recapture time spent chasing documents and drafting follow-up emails.  

Speed up resolution with Revit, Navisworks, and Model Coordination 

Consider that 66% of general contractors carry added costs from overtime or second shifts on at least 75% of their projects due to schedule slippage. 50% of these contractors need to extend the project end date as a result.  

When multiple teams can create, assign, review, and resolve issues all in the same place, work is completed faster. With Design Issues, the same issue created in the design phase can be accessed, contextualized, and resolved in other connected applications.  

You can resolve issues in Revit, take a closer look with Navisworks, or use simple automations in Model Coordination to check changes to the model. By surfacing the very same issues in Autodesk Build, a multi-directional link is created between design, coordination and field issues. This makes RFI creation easier and more detail rich.  

Here’s an example of how this plays out

An architect creates an issue in design collaboration. While performing a visual inspection of their design against a structural model, they’re unsure whether the issue will have an actual effect on the constructability of a design, so they assign it to the BIM manager.  

The BIM manager then runs a sophisticated clash test in Navisworks and provides a solution.  

The architect then jumps back into Revit to make the adjustment and double check their work using an easy-to-use, automatic clash detection tool in Model Coordination. They resolve the issue.  

Now, the general contracting firm and its manager can review the closed-out issues using a dashboard and better predict schedule improvements.  

The project manager can now look up the history of the issue and see why certain changes were made to the design and follow the thread of communications.  

Want to see the Design Issues feature in action? 

No two projects are ever the same. Some adhere to traditional ways of working while others look to different delivery models. According to FMI, 58% of owners have used or plan to use design-build, moving away from traditional design-bid-build. As the design-build trend continues, the importance of strengthening your relationships with project partners will continue to grow.  

Communication, accountability, and trust are essential to building upon those relationships. These three qualities are made easier with end-to-end collaboration tools. Case in point: 43% of high trust construction companies make collaboration central to how they work. The new Design Issues feature will help to clearly define problems and provide for better communication to achieve timely resolution. These issues may be as simple as identifying an unintended design element between teammates, or address recurring issues across the organization. In either case, up-front communication has a cascading effect on downstream workflows to prevent risk and consistently deliver quality models. 

You can explore our newest feature and Autodesk BIM Collaborate with a free trial.

Reach out for a demo today

The post Faster Resolution of Design Issues with New Feature in Autodesk BIM Collaborate appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Management

How Permasteelisa Deploys Hands-free Construction Management

Today, construction companies have more choice than ever before when it comes to technology. Not only are software solutions proliferating construction businesses, but innovative hardware is becoming prevalent on the jobsite.  

Twenty years ago, technology-forward companies were setting up infrastructure to have laptops and internet at jobsites. Ten years later, we saw smart phones and tablets becoming an industry standard. Now, wearables and extended reality (XR) devices are becoming increasingly common on jobsites.  

One company providing these wearables is RealWear, delivering ruggedized wearable, hands-free assisted reality devices (on the XR spectrum, but closer to physical world) to improve safety and efficiency. And Permasteelisa Group, is one of those innovative companies driving technology forward. Permasteelisa Group is a global leader in the engineering, project management, manufacturing, installation and after-sales service of advanced building facades, architectural envelopes, and interiors. 

Part of Permasteelisa’s promise to its clients is to leverage integrated and digitized processes that help ensure high quality and safety while improving management of the large amount of information that characterizes modern curtain wall projects. Permasteelisa has used Autodesk Construction Cloud products for many years to connect design and field teams to solve challenges posed by “free-form” projects such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Olympic Fish in Barcelona.

Permasteelisa Group specializes in curtain wall projects, where there are multiple control activities that must be carried out on exposed areas, or in some cases, on the floor edge at considerable heights and in confined spaces, where handling a tablet can be dangerous. The need to access information and capture notes is still present on projects like this, but it is also crucial to maximize the safety of workers on site.  

In a recent press release, RealWear announced a new and exciting integration with Autodesk® BIM 360
, built in collaboration with Permasteelisa, to solve exactly that challenge. The result was a connected, multimedia device that allows repetitive control operations to be carried out onsite using voice commands, keeping the operator’s hands free for the work. The integration with BIM 360 has helped them optimize time spent in high-risk spaces on the jobsite, reduce the risk of errors, and improve collaboration between all different stakeholders.

“Running BIM 360 on a RealWear device will be a gamechanger, keeping us on the cutting edge of technology and innovation,” said Gordon EarleGroup Operations Executive, Permasteelisa Group. “We are excited to deploy the devices to empower and retain our best workers by outfitting them with a full solution that will make them safer and more productive, delivered by two of the leading technology players in the field.” 

The primary reason Permasteelesa approached RealWear to develop the integration was to enable the execution of hands-free checklists. With this seamless integration, the team can inspect the quality of a curtain wall project while at great heights and maintain employee safety, helping to ensure safe quality deliveries for their clients.  

With this integration, teams can now also hands-free videoconferencing and live sharing of high-resolution images or videos. The project’s field team can bring their colleagues from the other side of the world with them to the construction site for a virtual general inspection or to observe a specific detail. 

“Delivering BIM 360 on the RealWear HMT-1 hands-free assisted reality device means that worker safety is enhanced,” says Gordon Earle. “During the pandemic, this has also helped us limit travel as much as possible, which has been crucial to mitigate the virus and keeping our teams safe.” 

Looking to the future, leaders at Permasteelisa also see this as a great way to avoid international travels for simple, half-day meetings on site that can now be executed virtually with a wearable.  

The advantages, in terms of collaboration and efficiency gains from an integration like this, are evident. For example, the Senior Designer of a project can check the construction site as soon as a potential issue emerges, in real time—resolving field issues remotely from the office. Travel times have been significantly reduced, keeping projects moving forward more efficiently. The video conferencing also allows a seasoned manager to scale across multiple projects and teams, by avoiding in-person meetings. Teams located in different countries can work in real time, favouring collaboration across the different time zones. Thanks to the integration of BIM 360, RealWear HMT-1 and Permasteelisa’s internal systems, the information captured by the field team is immediately available to colleagues, regardless of location. 

If you’d like to learn more about the RealWear and Autodesk BIM 360 integration, you can check out their RealWear’s press release here.

The post How Permasteelisa Deploys Hands-free Construction Management appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Management

Trafficking gang arrested and 55 builders safeguarded

Met Police and officers in Romania arrested 13 men on Tuesday morning in a series of raids as part of a major investigation into human trafficking.

Following the raids 54 men and one male juvenile have been safeguarded

The investigation was launched by detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command in August 2019 after intelligence highlighted a Romanian organised crime group (OCG) operating between Romania and the UK.

Romanian adult nationals have been recruited and trafficked to the Kingsbury area of north London to work on building sites as unskilled labourers.

Four warrants were executed in Harrow and Brent. Cash and a firearm were also seized.

The males were found housed in multi-occupancy addresses with mattresses covering the whole floor space. Occupants were found sleeping in extremely cramped conditions. They are now receiving support from specialist officers.

Eight men have been arrested in London for human trafficking. They have been taken to a north London police station.

A further five men were arrested in Romania where gold and around 250,000 Euros were seized from the OCG.

Those arrested are aged between 22 and 49 years old. They have been arrested for a variety of offences, including causing another to complete forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking contrary to the modern slavery act 2015.

Detective Constable Dec Wilson, from Central Specialist Crime, said: “These arrests in the UK and abroad are the result of working closely with our partners in Romania for the past 18 months, to identify those involved in the human trafficking and labour exploitation.

“This Eurojust Joint Investigation Team should serve as a warning to other organised crime networks that the Met is committed to working with international law enforcement to target those committing modern day slavery offences in London.

“We need the public’s help as they have an important role to play in recognising and reporting modern slavery. If you suspect someone may be a victim of modern slavery, report it. You will always be taken seriously, and protection and support is available.

“Often those affected do not see themselves as potential victims of labour exploitation and many will have been coerced into this life to make money for an organised crime network.

“We believe there are victims of modern slavery in every borough across London and the public may encounter them every day, possibly without realising.

“As well as being exploited for labour, victims have been found working in construction, domestic servitude, agriculture, cannabis factories and in places you use yourself, such as car washes, barbers and nail bars.”

Police said their enquiries are continuing.

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Digital Builder Ep. 19: 3 Takeaways on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Construction

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) aren’t just buzzwords, and these tools are no longer reserved  for construction technologists like BIM and VDC managers. These technologies have come a long way in just a few short years and these days, they have practical use cases that owners and builders alike can benefit from at every stage of the project lifecycle.

Angel Say, CEO and Co-Founder of Resolve, and Dr. Mani Golparvar-Fard, CTO and Co-Founder of Reconstruct Inc., join the podcast to explain what’s possible with AR and VR in construction. They also bust some myths and share practical tips on implementing AR and VR.

Specifically, we covered:

How AR and VR have evolved over the last few yearsWhere these tools fit in the project lifecycle Getting started with AR and VR yourself Potential advances in the technology we may see in the near future

“It’s actually some of the less technical end users who stand to benefit the most from VR and AR.” —Angel Say

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The difference between AR and VR

Before diving into the episodes’ key takeaways, it’s worth exploring how Angel and Mani view AR and VR, particularly when used in construction.

“When I think about these two technologies and what they represent, it really boils down to bits and atoms. Bits meaning those ones and zeros in computers, and then atoms being the building blocks of the physical world,” says Angel.

According to him, virtual reality (VR) is “all about full immersion.” You wear a device on your head, which then uses sensors and a computer to hijack your senses and make you believe you’re somewhere else. “It gives you these superpowers,” adds Angel. “I could put on a headset and teleport from my home office to an unbuilt building.”

On the other hand, augmented reality (AR) is all about “augmenting the world around you, meaning you’re taking bits and you’re overlaying them on the atoms in front of you,” says Angel.

“And so that could be metadata about pipes that you’re looking at or it could be, ‘Hey, I want to bring a piece of equipment into my home office so that when I get to the site I know what I’m dealing with.’”

Mani weighs in, saying that AR in particular has evolved quite a bit over the past five years.

“In the earlier days, it was all about augmenting someone’s view live. But for all kinds of practical reasons, we realized that you can also augment any form of reality capture data. If you have access to a static image from a cell phone device or if you have access to videos that are being provided from job sites and you’re augmenting that with planning information, that’s a form factor of AR.”

3 Takeaways on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Construction

After discussing the fundamentals of AR and VR, Angel and Mani shared their thoughts on the myths surrounding the two technologies, as well as how they can be applied in construction. They also discussed the steps an organization can take to implement AR and VR.

Here are the key takeaways from the conversation.

1. AR and VR are more affordable and accessible than you think

Angel and Mani had a lot to say when asked about the common myths and misconceptions about augmented and virtual reality.

For starters, they dispelled the Hollywood depiction of AR, which usually involves people swiping virtual elements in the air.

“There’s a misconception that you would be able to visualize all kinds of information at the right point in time,” shares Mani. But this isn’t the case, as AR involves processing a lot of details, hosting information on the device, and filtering data.

Angel adds, “People always talk about Minority Report as the quintessential example of augmented reality. It’s like swiping through things in the air. We’re quite a ways away from that. It looks a little different today.”

There’s also the view that AR and VR are tools that would only benefit folks working in virtual design and construction. However, this is far from the truth.

“One common misconception that’s more industry-specific is that VR and AR are going to help BIM and VDC teams the most, and I think it’s quite the opposite. Because BIM and VDC teams spend so much time in 3D tools like Revit or Navisworks, they’re pretty good at what they do. They’re really good with 3D controls, and it’s actually some of the less technical end users who stand to benefit the most from VR and AR,” remarks Angel.

Another myth worth busting? AR and VR are expensive. That may have been the case several years ago, but these technologies have become more accessible and far less expensive over time.

As Angel points out, “Now you have VR headsets that are under $500, which is the cost of a tablet. Anybody can unbox it and jump into a virtual environment on their own with minimal help. And that starts to really democratize the use of the technology.”

2. Why AR and VR are a big deal in construction

AR and VR have practical applications that would benefit every stage of a project, from preconstruction all the way to handover and even building operations.

“All of these technologies — AR, VR, AI — are really augmenting people’s workflows. This is especially true in construction because the industry has already moved towards having so much rich data in BIM, which they’re using to coordinate and produce drawings. It’s so much rich data that we can feed into these technologies to help people be more productive,” explains Angel.

On the owner’s side, a key benefit of using AR and VR is they help mitigate the loss of information when a project is being brought to life.

AR and VR “provide the opportunity for the owner to see the end product with a level of detail that matters to them,” explains Mani.

He states, “if we can provide the owner with an opportunity to verify the work by contrasting the scope of the work that was promised from that VR model versus the reality that they’re looking at, we have yet another opportunity to make sure owners are benefiting from it.”

These technologies can also play an important role in helping owners maintain and operate their buildings.

According to Angel, “We hear from a lot of owners that BIM assets end up on hard drives and they don’t get touched until maybe you need to hand them off to a new engineer contractor working on a retrofit. But there’s so much value that you can be tapping into [with AR and VR] even after construction.”

Angel adds that most of the teams running buildings and facilities won’t get a lot of value from BIM assets since these folks don’t specialize in Revit and Navisworks. This is where VR comes into play, as it allows users to view the information in a way that they can understand and engage with.

“With VR, you put on a headset and you can walk through a BIM file. Operators can then start to leverage that asset for procedure simulations, onboarding of the employees — and in the world of remote work — making sure people know what a site looks like before they visit. And so you really start to multiply the ROI of BIM beyond the construction lifecycle,” says Angel.

3. How to getting started with AR and VR

Mani and Angel offered some of their top advice from organizations that want to get started with AR and VR. If you’re looking to implement these technologies in your projects, keep the following steps in mind.

1 – Determine the exact problem you’re trying to solve

Before investing in AR and VR, make sure you know your objectives and understand your end users. By getting clear on what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to figure out the role of technologies in your projects.

2 – Assess whether you have the right type of data to tackle the problem you’re trying to solve

In order for AR and VR to work, your data needs to be able to support these technologies.

That’s why Mani recommends conducting a self-assessment “in terms of how mature your data is” to be able to support AR and VR capabilities. “Depending on what problem you want to solve, you need to make sure your files are at a certain rate of maturity per model discipline, which is really hard to see even these days,” he adds.

3 – Set your KPIs

You need to measure the success of your AR and VR initiatives, so think about the KPIs you need to hit.

Aside from metrics that tell you whether a project is completed on time and within budget, Mani says you also need to design KPIs that measure the impact that AR and VR have on the personas using the technologies.

“Make sure you understand how many personas are being touched by that product and data,” he says.

4 – Acquire the right technology

The next step is to get the devices needed to power AR and VR.

Virtual reality, in particular, requires an investment in headsets, and Angel recommends providing a headset to every stakeholder who needs it, instead of having everyone share just one or two devices.

“It’s a lot more empowering if you can buy a headset and assign it to someone even if it’s just for the length of the project. That way, when they have 20 or 30 minutes to review the model, they can jump in and do it as opposed to having to go and check it out from the IT or the BIM or VDC team,” says Angel.

In addition to headsets, you should also ensure that you have tools that will enable you to leverage your BIM assets and other project data. A common data environment (CDE) like BIM 360 or Autodesk Build can make this process easier.

5 – Run a test pilot

When you have the plans, KPIs, and tools in place, it’s time to put them to the test. Mani recommends going through an experimentation phase that involves using AR and VR in a given project and measuring the results.

You could even work with the AR/VR vendors in designing a pilot. “Engage your team so they would help you measure performance against those KPIs,” says Mani.

6 – Develop a case study

Be sure to document everything that transpired during the testing phase and take note of the results. Use the information you’ve collected to create a case study for your company.

“Once you have that case of study formulated, you can start sharing that and use that as an internal sales tool in your organization, to bring everyone up to speed,” says Mani

When implemented correctly, this case study can increase trust in the new technology and drive adoption.

Listen to the Full Podcast Episode

Hopefully, the takeaways above help you better understand AR and VR and inspire you to utilize them in your projects. And if you need more info on augmented and virtual reality, listen to the full episode of Digital Builder on the following platforms:

Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcastsor wherever you listen to podcasts.

The post Digital Builder Ep. 19: 3 Takeaways on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Construction appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

Over 350,000 Projects Turn to Autodesk Construction Cloud for Preconstruction Workflows

Autodesk releases new product enhancements for quantity takeoff and design review workflows to increase collaboration and mitigate risk during preconstruction

San Francisco, Calif. — September 23, 2021Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced that more than 350,000 projects across the globe are using Autodesk Construction Cloud to power more effective preconstruction workflows, including document management, bid management, quantification, model coordination and design collaboration. The company also announced a series of product updates, doubling down on its commitment to unify the construction process and empower teams to build better.

Owners, general contractors and specialty contractors alike, across all industry segments around the world, turn to Autodesk Construction Cloud for their preconstruction workflows. DeAngelis Diamond, Windover Construction, Inc. and Granger Construction are three such companies using Autodesk Construction Cloud to supercharge workflows for bid leveling and risk mitigation, model conditioning, quantification, design collaboration, model coordination and more:

DeAngelis Diamond – a national construction management firm specializing in commercial, multi-family and healthcare construction with offices across Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Michigan.Granger Construction – a Michigan-based construction management firm specializing in education, commercial, industrial, healthcare and the public sector.Windover Construction, Inc – a full service, employee-owned firm that provides comprehensive preconstruction planning, estimating, design-build, virtual design and construction management service in the education, healthcare, commercial, senior living and hospitality spaces.

“Mistakes made in preconstruction become exponentially more expensive when they are discovered in the field,” said Zac Hays, head of preconstruction product at Autodesk Construction Solutions. “Autodesk Construction Cloud arms preconstruction teams with best-in-class solutions to help mitigate risk and reduce rework, whether it’s reducing the total number of RFIs, increasing collaboration between the design and planning phases or using machine learning and predictive insights during the bidding process within BuildingConnected.”

“Any contractor knows that risk mitigation during the preconstruction phase is one of the most critical factors to success, and a big part of that is bid leveling,” said Brett Diamond, CIO and principal at DeAngelis Diamond. “BuildingConnected not only gives us access to a robust network of specialty contractors, but also makes collaboration with our estimating team seamless and provides valuable insight into our historical bidding data. Combined withTradeTapp’s machine learning and AI technology to evaluate and mitigate risk, BuildingConnected allows us to reduce our rework, stay on time, on budget and be more nimble and efficient as an organization.”

Autodesk Construction Cloud is a cloud-based construction management solution that offers an end-to-end platform to manage every phase of the building lifecycle, from design and plan, to build and operate. For the design and plan phases of construction projects, Autodesk Construction Cloud supports:

Bid management and qualification – bidding teams can access the largest real-time construction network with an easy-to-use platform that streamlines the bid and risk management process, while utilizing machine learning to help identify, quantify and provide risk mitigation insights.Design Collaboration — multi-disciplinary teams can update designs in the same place, at the same time. With controlled package sharing, team WIPs, issue identification and design change notifications, teams will always be up to date with the latest design content.Model coordination – designers, engineers, BIM experts and trades can easily contribute to model coordination using automatic clash detection, clash grouping and tolerances, an issues solution that connects tools like Navisworks andRevit to the cloud and an aggregated model that can be reviewed by discipline, relevant sections or a first-person walk through.Model conditioning – teams can easily add custom data to a given model and classify and organize project data, turning a design into a construction-ready model that can be easily broken down into relevant scopes for downstream activities.Quantity takeoff – estimating teams can perform 2D and 3D quantification workflows from a common data environment to increase collaboration, speed and accuracy during the estimation process.Document management – Autodesk Construction Cloud provides a common data environment that helps teams organize, distribute, and share files on a single, connected document management platform, ensuring all team members have access to the information they need.

New Takeoff API allows users to leverage quantities from Autodesk Takeoff externally

Autodesk Takeoff has released a beta API that allows estimating teams to leverage quantity takeoff data and project information directly from Autodesk Takeoff and integrate it into existing solutions. With this new API, teams can now extend the life of takeoff data to inform project decisions and power downstream workflows while breaking down barriers and providing added flexibility.

“Along with being able to visualize our takeoffs in both 2D and 3D, Autodesk Construction Cloud’s common data environment gives our team a big advantage when it comes to quantification,” said Amr Raafat, vice president of VDC and technology at Windover Construction. “Knowing that our team is working from the most up to date information, from a single source of truth, allows us to enhance our collaboration and deliver more accurate and complete quantity takeoffs.”

utodesk BIM Collaborate adds functionality to better identify design and constructability issues

Autodesk BIM Collaborate, a solution that enables project teams to easily manage coordination and design review workflows from the cloud, has also announced new updates that will help teams be able to quickly identify and resolve design and constructability issues throughout the building lifecycle. These updates include:

A new clash tolerance filter, which allows individuals on the project team to check their work using dynamic clash tolerance filters—making it easier to focus on larger clashes at first, while getting more detailed as you go.Issues in Design Collaboration for architects, engineers and BIM experts to identify 3D issues in the design phase—adding relevant issue details, assignments, comments and due dates to be resolved in Revit or passed on to the coordination phase. 2D issues are also available for digital markup of 2D sheets with shapes, text, measurements, photo references and issue pins during design review.

“Information siloes between general contractors and trades have historically been a massive challenge for those of us working in preconstruction,” said Darrah Leach, VDC Manager at Granger Construction. “Building a bridge between the two with collaborative features allows us to work not only cross functionally, but with partners outside of our own organization. This helps connect us in ways that simply were not possible before and, at the end of the day, helps us speed up our delivery time. Autodesk BIM Collaborate acts as that bridge between project partners and allows us to work in lockstep as broader team.”

ssemble now supports publishing directly from Autodesk Docs

In line with offering a model conditioning solution that allows BIM and VDC Managers to organize, customize and share model data with key stakeholders for downstream workflows,Assemble users can now publish Revit models directly from Autodesk Docs and BIM 360 Docs to Assemble without using Revit or any publisher add-ins. This greatly reduces duplication of efforts by leveraging the common data environment and helps ensure everyone is working from the latest project documents.

“As technology pushes the envelope of what’s possible in construction, preconstruction has truly become a secret weapon that allows teams to improve their margins, speed up delivery times, reduce risk and deliver projects with more precision,” said Jim Lynch, senior vice president and general manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions. “Autodesk Construction Cloud delivers a suite of preconstruction products that are bound together by a common data environment – making collaboration seamless and breaking down siloes that lead to costly mistakes and rework. We’re excited to be powering the future of preconstruction and look forward to continue delivering on our promise of building better, together.”
About Autodesk

Autodesk is changing how the world is designed and made. Our technology spans architecture, engineering, construction, product design, manufacturing, media and entertainment, empowering innovators everywhere to solve challenges big and small. From greener buildings to smarter products to more mesmerizing blockbusters, Autodesk software helps our customers to design and make a better world for all. For more information visit or follow @autodesk.

Media Contact

Paul Chalker
[email protected]

Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, Assemble, Autodesk Construction Cloud, BIM 360, BuildingConnected, Navisworks, Revit, TradeTapp are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.

© 2021 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Construction Services

McKinstry Paves the Way for Smoother Tech Adoption in Construction

Join McKinstry live on October 7, 2021 at 2:00 PM PT for the much-anticipated Autodesk University session, Successful Digital Transformation Through a Product Management Organization. The industry talk will be led by Dace Campbell, Director of Product Management for McKinstry and full of actionable insights.

Firms are adopting new technology at a rapid rate today — but they aren’t necessarily implementing solutions to their full potential. There are plenty of reasons behind this, though the most common ones are largely related to budget and staff. 

In a 2020 study by JBKnowledge, respondents were asked what they considered is the top limiting factor in trying and/or adopting new technology at their firms. Nineteen percent of respondents cited budgetary reasons and another 19% pointed to the lack of staff to support new tech. Meanwhile, 17% cited employee hesitance as their top limiting factor in technology adoption. 

The construction industry clearly has challenges when it comes to tech adoption and implementation, and this was even more apparent during the pandemic, when companies struggled to stay connected. If there’s one thing that the year 2020 taught us, it’s the importance of being technologically fluent at every step of the construction process. 

Fortunately, there are companies such as McKinstry, which are setting the bar high when it comes to establishing processes and strategies for better technology adoption. 

As a large specialty contractor, McKinstry has a unique perspective on construction teams and technology. 

The company understands that the structure of many AEC firms aren’t conducive to technology adoption. IT departments are often disconnected from high-level business objectives, which makes execution difficult. What’s more, calculating the ROI of technology — plus measuring the opportunity costs of not adopting tech — isn’t a clear-cut task.

McKinstry has a way to address this with their Product Management Organization (PdMO). We’ll get into the details below, but this organization of strategic thinkers guides implementation of critical, ROI-boosting technology for their clients at every step of the construction process. 

Simply put, McKinstry’s PdMO is able to efficiently connect the threads of common need across all lines of a business.

Let’s take a closer look at the issues that many builders face and how McKinstry is helping. 

What stops builders from making informed business decisions?

Industry-wide pain points — which often come in the form of inefficiencies, confusion, and mistakes — lead to a whole lot of wasted time and money on projects. As Brian Antonsen, VP of Mechanical Construction at McKinstry put it, “At McKinstry, we believe that half the energy in buildings is wasted, and half of construction costs are waste.”

While pain points may vary from one builder to the next, they often share the following themes.

Disconnected stakeholders

Project teams are composed of several people in a variety of roles. Difficulties arise when these stakeholders struggle to articulate needs or plans, especially when it comes to important details such as dates and scopes. Problems can also come up when extended stakeholders can’t access the info they need because of multiple points of data entry. These issues can leave people in the dark and wreak havoc on a project’s timeline. 

Inability to forecast effectively

Not having access to reliable data is a major pain point for builders because it prevents them from planning effectively. Without accurate forecasting, teams can easily mismanage their time and budget.

Manual and cumbersome processes

The lack of automation in projects means teams have to manually carry out tasks like entering and reviewing data. On top of that, manual processes are often fraught with human error and duplication of tasks, which of course is time and labor-intensive.

Poor coordination across different locations

Construction work doesn’t just happen on the jobsite. With people working remotely as well as being in the office, teams are often scattered across different locations. When builders don’t have tight systems that connect various team members, projects suffer.

Inefficient task and progress management

Tracking progress is critical in any project. Unfortunately, many builders have difficulties doing so because of uncoordinated task management. What’s more, many teams rely on guesswork based on outdated data. 

Uncertain estimates

The lack of data and inefficient procedures also lead to inaccurate and uncertain estimates, which means builders can’t get a solid handle on the scope and cost of the project. This results in a poor bidding process and overall experience.

“At McKinstry, we believe that half the energy in buildings is wasted, and half of construction costs are waste.”

The above-mentioned pain points greatly hinder builders from making informed decisions. 

Fortunately, the folks at McKinstry have come up with a way to attach real dollar figures and other metrics to just about every pain point a builder could face. This is extremely valuable, because it enables their team to quantify not just their ROI, but the opportunity cost of not using technology to address their pains. 

How a PdMO can help firms pivot to digital workflows

How exactly does McKinstry’s PdMO help transform their digital workflows? Let’s explore how a PdMO can truly be revolutionary for firms struggling with technology adoption and decision-making.

What is PdMO? 

Before we go any further though, it’s worth defining what “product” means in the context of PdMO. The “product” is essentially a technology solution being developed and deployed. That could be in the form of software, a website, an app, etc.

Example of Augmented Reality (AR), a technology product, in use on a real job site. Image courtesy of McKinstry

Product Management Organization (PdMO) then refers to the team responsible for implementation of those technology solutions, or “products”. Essentially, it acts as a strategic organization chartered with implementing, managing, and measuring the impact of technology to ensure alignment between the organization’s technical roadmap and business needs

Some specific responsibilities of a PdMO are to identify market opportunities and commercial viability for new products, guide development, launch and management of technology — all the way to the eventual retirement of that technology. More often than not, the technology the PdMO helps implement is an internal enterprise system, set of tools, or solution that addresses a firm’s specific business need.

The Product Management Organization streamlines a firm’s digital transformation processes, ensuring that the technology being adopted truly addresses the business’ needs. They develop success metrics that align with a desired outcome. Then measure business improvement or progress towards that outcome. 

How McKinstry’s PdMO works

McKinstry’s PdMo gives them a framework for innovation with enough structure and predefined processes to be effective in executing projects. They’re able to develop products, or technology solutions, on the fly with minimal business disruption. This allows them to implement the right technology at the most optimal time for the firms they’re supporting. This is typically done on a five-year Construction Technology (ConTech) Roadmap.

By fully digitizing all lines of business and projects, they’re able to serve as designers, contractors, and manufacturers – operating in and across multiple industries in the same enterprise. Ultimately, McKinstry’s PdMO enables them to iron out a firm’s technological needs, so they can reap the benefits and see an ROI much faster. 

As one example, according to Dace Campbell, Director of Product Management in Construction at McKinstry, their PdMO is an essential resource to the success of the company’s data standardization efforts

McKinstry Paves the Way for Smoother Tech Adoption in Construction
A construction field crew pilots new technology to validate uses cases & identify business value — in support of diagnosing before they prescribe a solution. Image courtesy of McKinstry

“Best practices championed by our PdMO include a ‘“diagnose before you prescribe’” approach, with a thorough discovery process to identify pain points, root causes, and impacts of not having data standards,” he says. 

“By qualifying and quantifying this pain in terms of business value, we can articulate and prioritize the need to standardize our data among other important process and technology improvements across our enterprise.” 

McKinstry’s PdMO also allows their teams to be more agile and adapt to the changes to their market, so they can stay competitive. 

Why is measuring implementation of technology important?

The common line, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure,” rings very true in construction technology. 

Successful digital transformation isn’t just about adopting the newest tools. You also need a way to track and measure the performance of your initiatives. Metrics such as your ROI, profit, productivity, and opportunity costs should be quantifiable and accessible — meaning team members shouldn’t have difficulty finding, sharing, or applying data to make better business decisions

Since McKinstry is able to prescribe real dollar values to its technology solutions through its PdMO, business leaders have a clear understanding of what they’re getting out of technology and what they could be missing out on. 

Ultimately, this helps McKinstry’s clients make informed decisions around technology and beyond. 

Other notable innovation initiatives at McKinstry

Aside from their Product Management Organization, McKinstry is also leading a number of projects that empower their teams to innovate and accelerate digital construction workflows faster.

Such projects include McKinstry’s 2020 Construction Hackathon, a two-day event involving 50 employees across multiple backgrounds and departments. The Hackaton encouraged participants to come up with innovative solutions to minimize waste in design and construction.

McKinstry 2020 Construction Hackathon
The McKinstry team makes progress on new technology as part of their 2020 Construction Hackathon. Image courtesy of McKinstry

There’s also MSUITE, a cloud-based shop management platform designed to connect BIM, Fab, and field construction teams. MSUITE has a Shop Manager capability that enables you to improve production efficiency in manufacturing as well as gain visibility into shop performance data. And thanks to the PdMO, McKinstry is well along its way to implementing MSUITE across their network of shops, with just a few more trades to go in a few more locations. 

Bringing it all together

As the construction industry continues to advance, the need to efficiently implement technology grows. A Product Management Organization is one strategy that builders can emulate to do just that. A “PdMO-like” approach enables firms to assess their needs and ensure that they always have an effective technology roadmap.

Thanks to McKinstry’s ability to attach quantifiable and qualifiable business value to technology, the firm is setting an example in how to properly measure implementation of new technology. And they’re able to make smarter, more informed business decisions because of it.

To close on some learned wisdom, when implementing any construction technology solution — whether operating with a formal Product Management Organization or not — McKinstry recommends you “define a clear change management process, identify the business problem, quantify business value, and align outcomes and success metrics to ensure you meet the needs of your business.”

Sage advice.

Learn more about McKinstry by checking out their website

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Construction Management

Using Technology to Slash the Time It Takes to Deliver Accurate Takeoffs With Carroll Estimating

Carroll Estimating was established in 2019 to help and support main building contractors and developers better understand their tender and construction costs. Focusing on estimating services, the firm helps secure tenders and projects in a simple and effective way.

However, Carroll Estimating provides more than just an estimating service. The team combines over 40 years of experience and works in a collaborative partnership with clients and construction professionals alike to develop transparent and trusting relationships. With every tender, they provide affordable, professional, cost-effective, confidential and punctual estimating services from the smallest construction projects to large civil engineering projects across Ireland, the UK and Europe.

Delivering a competitive advantage to their clients is vital and additional estimated coded breakdowns are provided to ensure tenders are factually priced to the last nail. The team recognises the important role technology solutions play in providing accurate and speedy estimates, and the business has invested in sourcing the best estimating and procurement software to deliver results for their clients.

Technology playing a key role in company growth

Patrick Carroll, Director at Carroll Estimating, knows that the shortage of surveyors and estimators across Ireland means many major infrastructure and construction project professionals are time pressured when it comes to tendering and bidding.

“We work with main contractors in Ireland and we’re now expanding into the UK, but we really serve as an extension into their project team,” remarks Patrick. “We take the utmost pride in what we do because when our main contractors are successful, so are we.”

Ensuring that technology plays a vital role in their day-to-day operations is crucial for Patrick and the team, helping to deliver timely but accurate contributions on projects.

“We know that continually evolving and investing in the best technology solutions out there ensures we can provide the most accurate numbers in a timely manner to nurture our relationships. We thrive on repeat business and that comes with the quality of work we provide” reflects Patrick. The quality of work provided by Carroll Estimating is exemplified through their business growth.

Since starting out in 2018, Patrick has been able to grow the size and scale of projects the team work on through fostering their client and customer relationships as well as focusing on innovation. Patrick completed a Masters degree in construction informatics – a Building Information Modelling (BIM) course that provided him with solid knowledge around BIM theory and application as well as principles and practices of advanced construction technologies.

For Carroll Estimating, using BIM on projects and technology like a common data environment is essential for access to the most up-to-date project data and information. As an extension to the project team of the main contractors they serve, Carroll Estimating has experience using a variety of BIM platforms. In fact, Patrick insists this technology is used by all supply chain partners during construction tenders and bids to streamline communication between all stakeholders during the process.

Establishing better BIM practices and creating time savings

Leveraging BIM models for estimating is something Carroll Estimating prioritises on every project. They began a trial of Autodesk Takeoff, an Autodesk Construction Cloud solution, in early 2020 to explore options that would combine 2D and 3D quantification capabilities in one solution.

“We’ve been able to collaborate much more efficiently with our supply chain and main contractor partners as we’re all working from one single source of truth on our takeoffs, bids and tenders,” says Patrick. “We serve as an extension to the main contractor’s project teams, and can use the solution to communicate upfront with our design team colleagues on our needs later down the line.”

Using Autodesk Takeoff, Carroll Estimating can create competitive tenders by performing more accurate 2D takeoffs and generating automated quantities from 3D models. “Before using Autodesk Takeoff, we spent a lot more time on this process. As an example, on a particular project we needed to perform a takeoff for 400 doors, with over 20 door types, each type had a separate specification example some had timber or metal door frames. Previously, this activity may have taken a day to identify all of the doors on the model but now using Autodesk Takeoff, we can do this in less than a minute through the 3D model in the software,” says Patrick.

“The efficiencies for our team and our clients are what really stand out to us. Another example is the time it now takes to price structural floors – previously this may have taken half an hour and now we can do it in a matter of seconds.”

For Carroll Estimating, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks so the small team can concentrate on value-adding activities that support their clients’ needs is essential. Using Autodesk Takeoff has allowed them to do exactly this.

Patrick reflects: “Our contractors ask us to price jobs after doing measurements. When we’re working on big infrastructure or commercial projects, we could have up to 50-100 subcontractors working with our team. This means when we send out jobs for pricing, we would need to contact every single one four times as we generally get around four prices per trade. So already, we’re looking at potentially sending out pricing requests to 400 people!

“And when you add the number of email replies you may have to respond to, as well as chasing for quotes and so on, in a week you may have sent up to 1200 emails to complete that one task. Having everyone using one common data environment reduces these administrative tasks immensely – we use the clusters features in Autodesk Takeoff to break out floors, doors and windows to streamline this process and provide a visual representation.”

Staying competitive and growing their offering through technology

Not only does Carroll Estimating save time using Autodesk Takeoff’s features to generate accurate quantities needed for pricing, but the team is also able to verify and capture the most detailed quantities when it comes to bidding and tendering for future work.

As Carroll Estimating works with a number of model iterations on their projects, when drawings change, the team is alerted easily and quickly. They can then quickly verify how any changes affect their pricing using Autodesk Takeoff where previously these changes may have taken a number of days to update.

Collaborating with architects and designers on their projects in real-time in the model using Autodesk Takeoff means communication is more transparent and accurate. The project team can communicate clearly in the models on the needs for pricing and estimating work further down the line. This is vital as accuracy is key when it comes to bidding for work – the competition is fierce, and estimation needs to be spot on and competitive in the marketplace.

“For us as a team, working with more 3D models has opened up our marketplace. Previously, we were primarily doing jobs that had 2D drawings but now we’re able to work on more complex and bigger jobs as the solution improves our productivity,” says Patrick. “We’re also still able to takeoff more regardless of whether they are 2D or 3D models as we’re working from the same environment.” All of this means Carroll Estimating has the capacity to take on not only more work, but more varied work, ensuring that the team gets a diverse variety of projects to add to their portfolios.

Looking to the future, getting the most out of the features and functionality of Autodesk Takeoff is a priority for Carroll Estimating. The team continues to learn more about the capabilities as well as ensuring good BIM practices are established on projects.

Patrick remarks: “Good BIM practice not only saves time on projects but reduces the need for rework and the number of mistakes that can arise, as well as allowing remote collaboration. Our team isn’t required on site as much because we’re working in a more digital environment that is collaborative and transparent. Not only does this improve productivity but safety is also supported too.”

For Patrick, the value of working digitally using BIM is something every construction project should be doing and is the future direction the industry needs to take.

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Construction Services

Keep Projects on Track with the New Schedule Tool in Autodesk Build

Project delays in construction happen quite frequently, and typically result from poor planning. With such long time-tables, it’s difficult to plan for unforeseen schedule disruptions while managing the many moving parts of a project. Arguably the toughest part of a project manager’s job is managing the impact of those schedule disruptions across several teams working on the same project.

Looking closer, schedules are typically managed on a whiteboard in the trailer or by coordinators in the office. As a Project Manager or Schedule Coordinator, it’s often frustrating if you lack the tools to quickly relay the most current schedule information to your teams. From milestones, dependencies, and tasks, keeping teams up-to-date is crucial to avoid potential delays and costly rework. In fact, research from Dodge Data & Analytics shows that 66% of general contractors are carrying added costs from overtime shifts on at least three quarters of their projects due to schedule slippage, with 50% of them needing to extend the project end date.

Today, we are excited to announce the new Schedule Tool available in Autodesk Build. The Schedule Tool enables teams to collaborate, connect, and integrate with the most up-to-date schedule. Schedules uploaded from traditional CPM software can be imported to the Autodesk Build project, delivering real-time access to master schedule data in the field to ensure that everyone is on the same page at the same time. Let’s explore four capabilities in the new Schedule Tool that help you keep projects on track.

Key features of new Schedule Tool

1. Schedule surfacing

Upload schedule data from CPM software such as Primavera P6, ASTA PowerProject, or Microsoft Project into Autodesk Build. Teams can instantly access the project schedule and comment on specific activities to update teams or suggest changes back to HQ.

2. Filter by relevant items only

Schedules can be thousands of activities long and not all users need to see everything. Leverage the Schedule Tool’s search options to find exactly what you’re looking for, when you need it. Set filters to create custom views to display only relevant items. Look three weeks ahead or behind the current schedule, and view items on a Gantt chart.

3. Connect references to schedule

Teams can seamlessly link references—Submittals, RFIs, Sheets, Assets, and more—to the activity Item, providing the necessary context between the two.

4. Connecting schedule & cost


With the Schedule and Cost Management integration, teams can import schedule data into Cost Management to connect cost to time, as well as more accurately forecast cash flow. This is done by linking budget line items to schedule activities. Teams can then use built-in forecast distribution curves to visualize cost spending based on the timeline. And when all budget line items are forecasted, teams can access a project-level cash flow analysis for better planning, insight, and risk mitigation. This allows teams to achieve their project margins. 

See more of the Schedule Tool in action

By creating a centralized schedule ecosystem for all project team members to refer to, comment on, and share out during the project lifecycle, the Schedule Tool in Autodesk Build connects projects, teams, and businesses and sets them up for success.

If you’re interested in the Schedule tool or Autodesk Build in general, request a product demo.

What customers are saying

“The Schedule Tool in Autodesk Build is easy to use and has reduced the amount of time I spend on distributing the schedule to our teams. Before Autodesk Build, I had to update the schedule, publish it as a PDF, and email the PDF to the entire team. Now, the process is automated. I upload my Microsoft project schedule into Autodesk Build, and it distributes a link to a web-based version of the schedule to the team, with notifications about the changes.” —Bryan Nuckolls, Project Manager at BOLDT

“One thing that’s cool about the Scheduling Tool in Autodesk Build is the ability to link different references together to understand how Issues or RFIs are impacting the schedule. This capability allows us to have more context into what items may affect the schedule and have more meaningful conversations with our subcontractors and owners for faster issue resolution.” –Brian Popis, VDC Engineer at Barton Malow


More Product Updates Across Autodesk Construction Cloud

This month, we announced over 35 new product updates across Autodesk Construction Cloud. Learn more about all of our product releases in our blog. For the latest updates specific to Autodesk Build, you can check out this blog post.

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Construction Blogs

You Have Data — But Do You Have Construction Insights?

When it comes to data in construction, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, construction professionals recognize the value of data and are collecting a tremendous amount of information. In fact, research from FMI Corp shows 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced daily

The bad news? The vast majority of that data — 95.5%according to FMI — goes unused in the E&C industry. And for the data that does get used, “bad” data may contribute to over $1.8 trillion in global construction industry costs. That’s a startling figure to come out of the recently released report, Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction, made in partnership between Autodesk and FMI.

So while data can be powerful when generating insights, failing to harness it properly can do more harm than good. For a single contractor doing $1 billion in annual revenue, our research shows that bad data could cost them upwards of $165 million yearly. With so much on the line, you can see how good insights, based on good data, are a practical necessity.

Issues like wasted time and diminished productivity often arise. In fact, research shows that 13% of construction professionals’ working hours are devoted to looking for project data and information.

This tells us that while we have a lot of data, we don’t have much insight.

But don’t worry, there’s hope. If your construction firm is data-rich but insight-poor, know that there are a number of actions you can take to effectively leverage all the information you have.

Let’s explore the data issues that construction pros are facing and how to address them.

Data Challenges in Construction

Data overload and difficulty with connecting data points are two of the biggest challenges we face today.

A good question to ask yourself is, “What’s so bad about ‘bad’ data?” The problem is that when it gets used, it harms insights, enables poor decision-making, and opens you up to unnecessary risk. A downstream consequence of poor decision-making is the often understated erosion of trust in the same data you need. This directly impacts your team’s ability to make decisions confidently with data in the future.

Our research shows that data has actually doubled in the last three years alone, yet only about 55% of organizations have a formal data strategy in place to make good use of all that data. For the other 45%, as you can tell, making confident decisions with bad data is not only risky, but costly.

Travis Voss, Leader of Innovative Technology at Helm-Mechanical shares, “The two skills that will be paramount in the future are understanding how to connect and relate data from disparate sources.” In other words, to get to those high-value insights, how do we connect disconnected data?

More expert insight comes from an Autodesk University session in 2020 Manu Venugopal, Group Product Manager at Autodesk, says that most of what’s collected is stored in data silos, making it even more difficult to derive insights. 

It’s no surprise then, thatForrester found that while 74% of firms want to be more “data-driven,” only 29% are successful at turning data into insights and actions. 

“Unless we break down the silos, we can’t fully leverage all this data and get insights from it,” said Venugopal.

Recognizing the Difference Between Data, Analytics, and Insights

There are three key components to effective data utilization: data, analytics, and insights. Overcoming the challenges mentioned above starts with understanding these three things, and making sure that everyone in the organization shares the same definition of these concepts.

Only then can you effectively determine the tools, people, and processes you need to collect, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.

Let’s look at these components individually in the context of the construction industry. 

Data refers to quantitative and qualitative measures collected in raw form. In construction, this could be things like the number of defects, safety incident rates, time spent dealing with change orders, observations on the jobsite, etc.

Data collection specialists and data engineers are usually the types of professionals in charge of handling these measures. People in these roles clean, aggregate, and enter the information to be analyzed. 

Analytics, on the other hand, involves processes and technologies that help translate the raw data into formats that people can understand — typically reports and dashboards. Effective data analytics requires a robust construction platform as well as data analysts who can help with inspecting and transforming data into the best format. 

Then we have insights, which are the meaningful realizations and actions that the organization implements based on data and analytics. While there are official roles designed for deriving insights (one example is the role of insight analysts), extracting insights from data and analytics is something that many people in the organization can do. 

For instance, field managers and general contractors who regularly monitor metrics like incident rates, rework costs, or waste can use all that information to come up with processes thatimprove profits and productivity on the jobsite

Key Pillars to Move from Data to Insights

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of data, analytics, and insights, let’s discuss how construction firms can put all of the above to good use. Here are the pillars of effective data management and analysis. 

Digitization. With so many metrics and data points to be collected and analyzed, it’s simply impossible to do things manually. That’s why the first pillar of moving from data to insights is digitization.  

Do note that going digital isn’t simply about replacing pen and paper with technology; it’s about reimagining your processes to make data collection and sharing more efficient. 

As Venugopal put it, digitization “isn’t just about moving off of paper although that’s an important first step. It’s about enhancing the way information is shared, often in ways that weren’t even possible before and leveraging connected devices in the office and field to expand access to project information and help everyone make faster and better decisions.”

Workforce upskilling. With so much riding on the quality of your data, having a workforce with data skills may give you a healthy competitive edge.

Digital transformation is inevitable in the construction industry worldwide. How and when you choose to embrace it will affect your team’s ability to make great data-driven decisions when they count most.

Workflow integration.You may be using digital tools, but if your systems and workflows aren’t integrated, becoming more data-centric will be an uphill battle. 

So, strive to run your workflows on a tightly integrated system.Connected construction workflows open up several benefits, including higher levels of efficiency, reduced risk, and better collaboration. 

As such, your construction platform should enable the smooth data transfer from one project phase to the next and enable all stakeholders to be in sync.

Open and connected data access. See to it that you’re using an open platform that allows you to quickly find, access, and retrieve data. This openness is critical, particularly in a fast-paced environment where you need to get your hands on the right information ASAP.

Closely related to this is having connected datasets. Your workflows should be linked so that any updates or changes to your data are automatically synced across your systems. This way, you’re able to access the right information at any given time. 

Flexible visualizations. Raw data by itself is hardly useful. Your team should be able to view data in a user-friendly format — hence the need for visuals like graphs, tables, and reports. 

The manner in which data is presented can make all the difference, so get yourself a system that supports user-friendly and flexible visualizations. There are data platforms that offer templates or pre-built dashboards for things like resolution workflows, RFI management, etc. 

The best-in-class solutions come with configurable visualizations that let you tailor your reports to fit your needs. This flexibility is essential because there are many cases when you need to slice and dice the information to fit a specific project or situation.

Streamlining intelligence. Data-backed insights are the bedrock of good business decisions, so you want to optimize your data analysis for success. While team members can certainly put their heads together to gather intel, it doesn’t hurt to use technology to automate your data efforts. 

Adopt construction technology that uses AI and machine learning to provide real-time and automatic insights from the data you’re capturing. The right solution, said Venugopal, can help “flag any riffs, improve the accuracy of your workflows as well as help standardize and structure the data” — ultimately streamlining your operations and helping you deliver projects quickly, and in the most cost-effective way possible. 

Data and insights go hand-in-hand in construction

The future of construction will be a lot more insightful. In order to thrive, your firm needs people, processes, and tools that can help you unlock the valuable insights within your construction data. 

To do that, start by making sure that your organization understands the ins and outs of data, analytics, and insights. It’s important to establish the key pillars discussed above so you can have a solid foundation on which to build and implement your initiatives. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to turn data into insights, learn more aboutAutodesk Construction Cloud to find out how our platform keeps your workflows, teams, and data connected at every phase of construction. Additionally, if you’d like to learn why a formal data strategy may be the game changer you’ve been needing, download Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction, a report made in partnership between Autodesk and FMI.

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