Tech Is the New Tool of the Smart Construction Trade
Technology Smart Construction practices are changing the industry, leading to better construction projects and long-term benefits for clients.
P3 construction projects are getting a facelift that goes beyond design and materials, with new technologies changing how projects take place.
Traditional tools of the trade are being used alongside new technologies to facilitate more efficient and streamlined on-site performance. Construction sites are increasingly being set up with various technologies that help to conserve energy, increase productivity, and assist personnel to make construction projects smarter.
PCL Construction has been embracing this new, smarter way of building by adopting industry innovations like Smart Construction techniques that lead to better construction projects and long-term benefits for clients.
“Everyone we work with wants technologies that simplify and reduce building management, maintenance costs and energy costs while also enhancing tenant experience and satisfaction,” says Mark Bryant, Chief Information Officer at PCL.
Mediaplanet: How do you define Smart Construction?
Mark Bryant: Smart Construction is the enablement of lean building practices that enhance productivity and efficiency, and improve workplace safety and job-site quality while enabling sustainable construction practices through reduced energy consumption. PCL has created a solution that encapsulates this vision, called Job Sight Insights™ (JSI).
Mediaplanet: How does JSI work?
Mark Bryant: Construction sites are instrumented with Internet of Things sensors throughout the lifespan of the project. Since it’s a hardware-agnostic solution, job sites can choose to use any device or vendor so long as the data can securely be sent to the JSI platform.
The JSI cloud platform is built on top of Microsoft Azure technology and ingests the various types of sensor data, visualizing it on a map of the site and connecting the devices with spaces, equipment, assets, and people. By applying advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, JSI delivers actionable insights and alerts to the construction site staff in real-time. In addition to retaining a full history of the job site’s condition, the platform also integrates data from third-party systems, like those used for costing, scheduling, safety, and quality. That allows for a comprehensive view of the project and site analytics in a single pane of glass. It’s PCL’s Smart Construction platform of the future.
Mediaplanet: How does technology impact the project’s construction? What have you implemented to make it smarter?
Mark Bryant: For starters, we have saved up to 20 percent in energy costs by optimizing fuel and electricity while powering heaters, coolers, and dehumidifiers when sites are operating under temporary heat and power. That’s delivered productivity gains for field engineers who no longer spend time on their shift moving around the site recording temperature, humidity, air quality, and other environmental conditions.
We increased site and worker safety by monitoring the environment and site conditions, with predictive alerting. This also allows us the capability to locate workers on a job site. By deploying concrete sensors and determining cure times and the strength of concrete more accurately, we enhanced formwork productivity by reducing up to 10-20 hours of construction per storey.
Implementing sensor data into other construction systems and activities, like daily site reports, including inspections for safety and quality, has helped eliminate human error and automate manual processes.
Maintaining proper environmental conditions during millwork and drywall installation helps reduce re-work and warranty claims for post-construction repair. These claims alone can account for up to 25 percent of fee holdover on a construction project.
Mediaplanet: How do you build with a focus on the future and sustainability?
Mark Bryant: PCL will continue to adapt to the ever-changing construction industry by embracing technology and renewable energy construction, maximizing the efficiency and quality of the finished product. It helps us ensure the environmental impact is minimal while delivering a high-performance project.