June 15, 2018
What is location-based 4D BIM and why is it important for construction

A construction project holds manifold of activities occurring at the same time in one physical area. These activities involve people, materials, and equipment along with variables of time and space. The scheduling of these activities, more often than not, is accessible independently in a one-dimensional timeline sheet. So how can this 1D timeline sheet provide a real-time status update, or identify unforeseen material shortage, workspace clashes, equipment failure or onsite accident? It can’t. At least not on its own.

4D BIM refers to 3D visualization model of a construction project that includes the construction scheduling and sequencing. 4D BIM adds scheduling data of the project even before the construction started. This enables teams to analyze events sequentially using project information and visualization. Going through the sequencing at the initial stage, even before the real site is dug, allows assessment of various possibilities and thus improve project planning and risk management. And the ability to visualize the structure at each stage as it gets built will lead to a reduction of waste in money, and obviously in time.

However, the excitement doesn’t end there. What if the time of an activity can be visualized with the exact location of where the activity is expected to take place? Construction industry suffers from delays all the time. One of the main reasons why such delays occur is due to multiple activities being planned within the same location, resulting in queuing of activities. Location-based scheduling ensures activities are planned in relation to the locations. Although the method has been around for a long time, it is being picked up by construction industry of late, thanks to the digitization agenda.

June 14, 2018
AI tool promises 15% reduction in construction time, costs

Reliance on artificial intelligence for complex construction tasks is not as farfetched as one might think with all the talk of robots and job automation. But human workers aren't going away anytime soon, so as AI adoption spreads, as with most new technologies, with tools that help workers do their job better, faster and more efficiently.

Stanford University startup Alice Technologies’ AI assistant, dubbed ALICE, lets humans do what they do best —analyze, communicate and ask questions — while taking on the more tedious number-crunching that’s involved in creating a construction schedule.

It starts with a human scheduler, who draws from his or her experience and collaborates with stakeholders such as the project owner, superintendent, subcontractors, architects and engineers to spell out the scope of the project for the tool in a “rule set.”

“What tasks do I need to do to complete this project? How many resources do I have available? What calendars are they on? These are the kind of rules we assign to the construction project,” Alice Technologies founder and CEO Rene Morkos told Construction Dive.

Alice applies these rules as a “recipe” to generate millions of scheduling scenarios within minutes, calculations which would take a person decades to complete, according to the company. It then charts the best dozen or so options — each with its own 4D model (3D model integrated with scheduling data) and Gantt chart — along a time-cost curve for stakeholders to review and choose from.

June 12, 2018
The Top Apps for Architects

We all know the common refrain recited by architecture's more experienced practitioners when it comes to technology: "Times were a lot harder for us," they'll tell you. "We used to draw everything by hand and making a mistake meant repeating everything from scratch. Your generation is spoiled."

"Spoiled" is perhaps a matter of opinion. But it is true that working in the architecture field nowadays is drastically different to what was like decades ago. Software developers (or as we like to call them, life-savers) have created programs and applications that have allowed us to step up our architecture game. But with such a vast number of apps out there, it can be difficult to keep up with what's available. To help you out, here's a list of the top architecture apps on the market at the moment.

The people at Autodesk believe creativity starts with an idea, and sometimes you never know when this idea might strike. It could be when you’re riding the bus, daydreaming in meetings or lectures, or in the infamous epiphany-generating bathroom. To make sure ideas are not forgotten, Autodesk developed a “superior drawing experience” with innovative tools that help you draft like a pro. Other than the pencils, markers, and over 190 customizable brushes, the application has a 16-sector Radial Symmetry and Predictive Stroke that smooths lines and corrects shapes.

The award-winning BIMx possesses a unique technology which integrates 2D and 3D building project navigation. Its Hyper-model feature helps its users bridge the gap between the design studio and work on the construction site. Clients, architects, and construction builders can virtually walk through and make measurement adjustments in the 3D model without the need for installing a CAD software beforehand. Talk about on-the-spot problem-solving!

June 8, 2018
Photo software creates virtual record of project progress

Silicon Valley-based startup OpenSpace launched this week a product that it claims will dramatically cut the time it takes contractors to photograph a jobsite and share progress with key project stakeholders.

Users simply mount a consumer 360-degree camera on a hardhat, press record, and walk through a construction site. Within a day, OpenSpace artificial intelligence (AI) stitches the video footage into a 360-degree panoramic map similar to Google Street View. This process cuts by hours the time it takes to do a walk through with a standard camera.

“We’re using a lot of the same software and algorithmic techniques that are in the research world of robotics,” OpenSpace CEO Jeevan Kalanithi told Construction Dive. 

Co-founders Kalanithi, Philip DeCamp and Michael Fleischman met as graduate students at Massachusetts Institution of Technology and combine backgrounds in drones, robotics and analytics. Their product uses the principle of perception, which allows a robot to understand where it is in space, and the same AI navigation capabilities that are used with self-driving cars.

While OpenSpace operates in the cloud is powered by complex technologies, the product can be used without any formal training, special infrastructure or extra requirements beyond what construction workers are doing on the jobsite.

“We focus on ‘Fitbit’ ease of use,” Kalanithi said. “It’s not a winning formula to give people more work to do to use your tool.”

June 6, 2018
The world’s first augmented reality tool for designers launches today

San Francisco’s Lightform Inc. launches its new augmented reality tool, with designers in mind

The technology behind projected augmented reality (otherwise known as video mapping) has been around for years, but until now, it has been packaged in expensive, difficult to use shells. San Francisco’s Lightform Inc – the team behind landmark AR projects for Microsoft and Disney – has invented a simple, easy to use tool specifically for designers.

With the new LF1, users can transform normal scenes into immersive experiences – a staircase can become a projected AR waterfall, or a retail display can become an interactive screen, projecting fire, rain, or product information. To do this, the LF1 scans the environment using depth sensors to map the shape of objects, then tailors its lighting effects to fit.

Lightform allows you to design beyond the screen. Now the world is literally your canvas,’ says Brett Jones, the CEO of Lightform Inc. Importantly, for the first time, no headset is required. The new combined camera and computer superimposes images over real-world objects without the need for a bulky head-mounted display.

This makes the possibilities endless for advertisers, who can attract passing audiences, as opposed to targeted, headset-wearing individuals. It opens the opportunity for augmented window displays, experiential marketing suites, and immersive interiors.

June 5, 2018
Alternative Photovoltaic Systems for the Houses of the Future

Following California's new mandate requiring solar-powered systems for residential construction, Blaine Brownell highlights technologies likely to get a bump.

Renewable energy recently got an unprecedented boost. On May 9, the California Energy Commission (CEC) voted unanimously to require all new homes to be solar-powered. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the mandate will necessitate the provision of photovoltaic systems that provide 2 to 3 kilowatts of energy, depending on house size. This requirement's modest size, about one-third to half that of a typical solar array, is presumably intended to control costs. Considering that roughly 80,000 new houses are built annually in the state, however, the subsequent demand for renewable technologies will increase dramatically. According to The New York Times, approximately 15,000 houses in California typically include solar, thus resulting in a fivefold increase in installations in less than two years.

Although the new mandate is anticipated to save home buyers money in the form of lower energy bills, the $8,000 to $10,000 additional cost for photovoltaic (PV) systems remains a concern. The CEC’s focus on new construction suggests that the use of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) could be preferential to typical standalone PV arrays. Put simply, specifying cladding products with photovoltaic capabilities could be more economical than purchasing the products separately. Although BIPVs have thus far been an atypical strategy, California’s solar decree could substantially increase the demand for integrated energy-harvesting in architecture. The following examples highlight a few BIPV technologies that represent a transforming aesthetic for buildings.

May 30, 2018
Drone technology to save UK construction industry billions

The report also suggests that drone technology will see a 3.1% increase in productivity for the sector.

The authors, Elaine Whyte, Jenny Frances, Dr Jonathan Gillam and Joanne Murray quoted the following benefits of drones compared to traditional methods:

The construction industry currently uses drone technology to provide cheap and effective ways to map sites and track progress.

Drones provide aerial footage used to collect three dimensional information that is integrated with Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems, to create accurate representations of projects used to gauge measurements among other valuable uses.

The report suggests that by embedding periodic drone flights throughout the construction life cycle could provide a ‘golden record’ of all construction related activities. This means that managers and project leaders can keep track of all operations until the project is completed.

Data collected by drone technology can be accessed via the cloud that would be available to many stakeholders across multiple locations working on a project. This would eliminate arguments over project status and could be used as evidence in case of litigation.

As stated in the report, drones not only provide benefits for the construction industry. It has been shown that drones aid many other industries and sectors including fire safety, the media and manufacturing.

The report goes on to predict that 628,000 people will be working in the drone economy by 2030. The widespread use of drones throughout multiple industries is expected to create more jobs that require creative individuals who will be able to use drones to build, maintain, operate and regulate related technologies that are on the rise.

May 18, 2018
Full house success at ptBIM Congress

What a great event on the 17th of May for the official launch of ptBIM! 

The 2nd Portuguese Congress of “Building Information Modelling” (ptBIM) started yesterday at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon and is being a remarkable success. bimK® is also participating in the event as a Bronze sponsor.  

The meeting discusses many topics related to the issues and efforts of BIM implementation in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) sector and allows the speakers and attendees to share their experience and background.  

Several speakers presented real case studies that show the importance to embrace BIM to optimize the processes, improve the communication between teams/workgroups and reduce or prevent security issues during the building works.   

The congress especially focused on the necessity of BIM standardization and its national implementation, as well as to create a specific classification system.        

May 16, 2018
bimK® at the 2nd Edition of the PTBIM Congress

On 17th and 18th May 2018, several members of bimK® will attend the 2nd edition of the Portuguese BIM Congress (ptBIM) in the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. The event is organized by universities (Minho, Porto and Lisbon) with the support of the IMPIC (Instituto dos Mercados Públicos, do Imobiliário e da Construção), the Ordem dos Engenheiros and the Ordem dos Arquitectos. It aims “to promote a forum for technical and scientific discussion in Portuguese, involving the active participation of professional and academic communities in the areas of Architecture and Engineering”.

BIM promotes the use of digital representation in construction and is introducing significant changes in the architecture, engineering and project management areas. It involves new working methods with several teams and stakeholders and raises new questions on how to manage projects. A first edition of the PTBIM Congress took place in November 2016 in Guimarães and gathered around 200 participants, leading to the publication of 52 articles on BIM technologies. After such a success, this new edition will focus on “the efforts and problems encountered by the industry for BIM implementation” and aims “to strengthen professional networks that incorporate BIM practices in their activities” and “to share experiences, good practices and knowledge for a more consistent use of BIM methods in the building industry”.

May 9, 2018
CLS Architetti and Arup use a portable robot to 3D print a house in Milan

Engineering firm Arup and architecture studio CLS Architetti have used a portable robot to 3D print a concrete house, which is on show for Milan design week.

Printed onsite on Milan's Piazza Cesare Beccaria, the 100-square-metre house was formed over the course of a week. Made up of 35 modules, the house features curved walls, a living area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

The walls were was built by a robot designed by Cybe Construction, a 3D printing company from Netherlands, using a special mix of concrete and additives developed by Italcementi, one of the world's largest cement suppliers. The roof, windows and doors were added afterwards.

The concrete mix is squeezed through the robot's nozzle like toothpaste from a tube, and each section of wall is built from the ground-up in layers. Arup stated that the full house was printed in just 48 hours effective time.

"Each section of wall takes around an hour to build and the concrete cures in five minutes," CLS Architetti told Dezeen. "There are possibilities to programme the robot to make them larger or smaller or maybe even different shapes. You can also print furniture."