The landscape of construction has changed drastically over the years and continues to change rapidly. All along the construction process, from start to finish, technology is now a part of the equation. Technology has been incorporated all along the construction process.
Architects and engineers use software to design the building. During development and design, general contractors and sub-contractors use the software for clash detection and other collaborative work. Because of technology, items can be prefabricated, saving time in the field. Once in the field, technology is used for tracking time on a project, change orders, and field management.
Progress for Watson
Incorporating new technology into our construction process has helped us to continue to be the Southeast’s leading electrical contractors. We work with architects, engineers, and general contractors to troubleshoot and prevent issues in the field. As well as, our collaboration with general contractors will often include 3D scans and point clouds of existing and as-built spaces.
Benefits of Technology
Accuracy: For example, with clash detection, incorporating electrical, plumbing, HVAC equipment in a small area can be achieved before getting into the field. This accuracy saves time and materials, which saves costs.
Productivity: Smartphones and mobile apps have made communication and collaboration on projects easier and faster. Most software solutions are cloud-based, allowing changes and updates to documents, schedules, and other management tools to be made in real-time.
Training: As the new generation joins electrical construction, they bring with them technical knowledge and skills. Online training allows new hires to become familiar with aspects of construction before they hit the job site. On-going, online training helps to introduce new information to workers across the company.
Safety: Technology solutions are making it easier to properly train and monitor workers to prevent accidents and reduce the rate of serious injuries and worker deaths.
Technology at Watson
We have integrated technology throughout our electrical construction process. Some of the software we use to assists in our operations throughout construction are:
- Accubid for estimating and change orders
- Esub & Blue Beam for field management
- Autodesk Navisworks for clash detection
- Autodesk BIM for cloud collaboration
- Trimble SysQue for prefabrication
- Trimble RTS873 for digital layout in the field
Virtual Design and Construction
- Rendering of 2D and 3D drawings
- Total Station Robot – Take the field layout, convert to CAD and use the Trimble robot to locate points for hangers, turn-ups, etc.
- Clash Detection/Coordination of trades – the coordination and Clash Detection of the MEP trades using 3D models.
- Coordination and clash detection of MEP allows for the discovery and correction of issues before implementation.
- RTS is used to pinpoint control points for field layout, reducing the error rate over string line field layout.
- Components can be prefabricated, simplifying the on-site installation process, increasing overall quality.
- Controlled factory environments allow for precision and predictability.
- The use of services, accuracy, and quality decrease on-site errors, wasted material, and scheduling overages resulting in a lower project cost.
- A 3D model of the facility is more accurate and simplifies the maintenance process.
- Planning – Supervisors/foremen plan conduit rack layouts, group circuits, and develop an install plan.
- BIM – The field layouts are modeled in 2D or 3D, depending on the project’s needs and availability of files.
- Coordinate – If required, the model is put through multi-trade coordination (HVAC, Fire Protection, Mechanical Pipe, etc.) and clash detection.
- Submit – Once modeled and coordinated; drawings will be produced with all pertinent information to install electrical systems.
- Prefabrication – A prefabrication detail package is reviewed and submitted. Components are prefabricated.
- Construction – The model, the RTS points, and the prefabricated components are used in the field to increase accuracy, efficiency, and productivity.
- Facility Maintenance – accurate 3D modeling supports long-term maintenance and service needs of each project.