4 Key construction reality capture data points

4 Key Construction Reality Capture Data Points — And How Best to Use Them

Nov 27, 2023 | Architecture, Article, Construction, Document Existing Conditions, HoloBuilder, Installation Verification, Sphere XG

Best practices for data collection that improve efficiency, reduce rework, and prevent injuries.

With remote work becoming more prevalent and projects more complex, it’s imperative for today’s construction firms to share data across the enterprise.

“A lot of firms are trying to use big data to track things like RFI timelines and predict cost overruns or delays before they happen. But it’s definitely a work in progress,” says Kyle Tarr, senior business development manager, AEC at FARO Technologies.

That may be an understatement. In fact, the amount of data generated in commercial construction is increasing rapidly — growing 200% from 2019 to 2021— but 96% of it goes unused, according to a report from FMI.

Tarr and other experts say those problems result from firms failing to properly integrate data collection into daily workflows. But, a growing number of savvy contractors are changing that dynamic with a user-friendly solution called reality capture. Reality capture employs easy-to-use hardware such as 360-degree cameras and laser scanners to capture and put the physical world in a digital space. Once there, software and systems can create a single source of truth based on real-time data that helps firms solve long-standing problems — and gain new efficiencies.

Here are four key reality capture data points and how best to use them:

1. As built documentation

As many as nine out of 10 construction projects face cost overruns due to mistakes often related to not understanding the site or not having a clear record of construction. Reality tech quickly captures existing conditions so teams can consider all the variables as construction happens. However, Tarr mentions that having that valuable data requires planning for collection early on. That means ensuring reality capture collection is on the construction schedule and putting someone in charge of capturing the data. “Have a plan. Document the plan and follow through. That’s the only way to ensure it gets done and doesn’t get pushed aside,” says Tarr. He stresses the need to make sure the data is accessible to all the stakeholders, otherwise, it’s a “wasted effort.”

woman using tablet on construction site

2. Better design coordination

Design errors cause more than 50% of design clashes, followed by design consistency, which causes another 40%. Using reality capture data vastly improves design coordination, and maximizes BIM modeling, enabling virtual interaction and ultimately reducing design clashes. Tarr says, it must start at the preconstruction and pre-bid phases. For example, he explains that pre-bid walkthroughs need to be accompanied by 360° photos to enable data to be shared with the entire team. Possessing such data will help teams visualize the site for more efficient planning and execution. However, the data must be accessible, preferably in the cloud, to truly make an impact. “We want to share that information out and make it known that it’s there and that a lot can be done with it,” Tarr says. “Just calling out where the point cloud info is saved should be standard across the board,” he adds.

3. Quality Control and Build Verification

For the average company with $1 billion in annual revenue, lack of access to reliable data is causing more than $7 million in avoidable rework every year, according to an Autodesk/FMI report. Tarr explains that avoiding these pitfalls starts with having a written plan that includes reality capture, like 360° photos, along with when and where to capture that data. “It goes a long way to ensuring these things actually get done. Once teams start to see the value of the data, they’re automatically going to help you achieve that plan,” says Tarr. Along with better quality control, such practices also become invaluable build verification if any disputes surface down the line. “Sometimes it takes that kind of win to really show the value,” Tarr adds.

field engineer capturing site

4. Logistics and safety planning

To offset $50,000 in losses from injuries, illnesses, or damage and still make a 3% profit, a company must sell an additional $1,667,000 in services. Reality capture tech allows companies to proactively identify and address safety concerns before they become an injury incident and plan for the necessary logistics that ensure a smooth build. But realizing those benefits means teams must capture site conditions early, especially before construction begins, Tarr explains. He adds that best practices also include capturing surrounding buildings, bridges and roads, which can often become logistical challenges. Having pre-built capture is also a great way to settle claims disputes that arise during construction, saving time and money. “It’s very common that neighboring buildings claim that damage was done during construction, and that becomes a dispute that no one wants to deal with. But if you do reality capture before construction, you can prove that damage already existed. That can easily save hundreds of thousands in dispute claims,” concludes Tarr.

Want to deep dive into work verification with Reality Capture? Watch Kyle Tarr’s presentation recording from the FARO Signals Conference!

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