We are an industry where machine and computer power enhance the work of the person, in many cases, making the very jobs we undertake possible. Modeling wouldn’t be feasible if not for the computing power of today’s equipment, from Robotic Total Stations (RTS) units to laptops and cranes.
With the expanding adoption of Robotic Total Solution (RTS) systems, construction and building modeling has evolved from a process where the field and the office are dependent on manual measurements and frequent collaborations to coordinate changes that occur in the field versus what was in the designs. Updates on things like hanger placements and lighting installations, to ensure the plans met the as-built version at the job site, could take days as information was exchanged between the site and the MEP design team.
Thanks, however, to the automation and laser precision of RTS systems, those updates can be communicated quicker, more easily and with a degree of accuracy unachievable by old- fashioned measuring tape or string methods. Simply having the data, however, isn’t enough to make the job easier and more accurate if that data isn’t organized and usable.
To maximize the benefits of RTS and point layout drawings, modeling and field teams should establish standards and processes to ensure the data obtained is easily integrated into the project. Here are four ways to set up your process to get the most from RTS and point drawings:
Establish nomenclature: Be sure everyone on your team knows and follows the system for naming and labeling points on your drawings and in the field. As changes are communicated between systems, a misnumbered point or an errant title on a file or a point drawn with a different color can mean a change is overlooked by other team members. While your team may have its own way of identifying points on a job site, make sure all stakeholders are following the same guidelines.
Have someone onsite check the points: Before going through the work of placing and labeling the scores of points you’re going to use in a design, have a foreman or the RTS operator confirm the initial control points at the building site. Those points will be the foundation for all the other points located, so if they’re off or if they’re obstructed by something onsite, they should be reviewed before you go through the work of tagging and exporting your points.
Institute a QC process: Before tagging and exporting your points, make sure they meet the nomenclature standards established for the project, and check to ensure that they’re noted, tagged and labeled correctly before exporting them. Regular reviews of work to ensure the standardization of information can prevent significant delays in implementing changes and progressing with the project.
Communicate your schedule: By setting the expectations of how quickly you can turnaround tasks–from placing new points on a design to updating information collected from the field -you can help stakeholders manage the project more effectively. While RTS and point drawings can speed tasks, you don’t want to have a client or a colleague with an unreasonable expectation about how quickly you can integrate a change order.
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Making the investment in Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems can transform construction operations from the start of any project, leading to more efficient use of time and materials in all phases of the build, including long after the active construction project is completed. Through BIM, savings can be realized for the stakeholders in the project–from the building owner to subcontractors–and the operator of the structure benefits far into the future.
While economic situation brings focus on improving ways to increase efficiency in the workplace, these money-saving ideas should be in place during all times. They are best practices that not only save money, but they also save time and cut down on waste, which critical in these eco-aware times.