Technology is transforming the construction industry not in leaps and bounds, but incrementally — one app update at a time. Software is streamlined every day, drone deliverables are continually enhanced by the pixel and minor bugs in virtual reality platforms are fixed around the clock, for example.
Decision-makers in the construction segment are well aware that digital tools like BIM and technology such as drones and augmented reality have made an entrance that will forever alter the scope of the industry, but many in the space might not realize just how many small advancements are being made all the time to help make their jobs easier.
Construction Dive will periodically take a look at some of the newest announcements in the world of technology tools that promise to make each click on a mobile app and shared workflow in a collaborative virtual hub a way to save time, money and labor on the jobsite and in the office. To view the entire series, click here.
Procore launches redesigned iOS app for iPhone and iPad
Cloud-based construction management software provider Procore Technologies released a redesigned update to its Apple-based app for mobile phones and tablets this month, the Carpinteria, California, firm said in a June 13 announcement.
Construction financials, safety, field productivity and project management are some of the realms that Procore said it serves through the technology, which allows users across many areas of a site access to the same central tools on their mobile devices.
Users now have the ability to drag and drop photos and documents on the app, as well as multi-task on some features. They’ll also see a redesign of the tab bar, drawings and RFI tools, the company said.
Construction firm Wieland is one example of a company that’s employing Procore tools on the jobsite, according to the Procore statement. “Wieland is making the iPad Pro 12.9 available to project owners, designers, subcontractors and suppliers so that the entire construction lifecycle is connected to one central hub,” said Wieland CEO, Rob Krueger. “At the peak of construction, nearly 200 iPad Pros will be running Procore and connected through a project-wide Wi-Fi mesh network.”
DIRTT employs virtual reality to ease collaboration
Prefab and modular construction company DIRTT said in a June 7 statement that it has developed technology that allows stakeholders from different locations to walk through a 3D design of a project via virtual reality in real-time and simultaneously see how changes affect price and manufacturing needs.
The tool makes use of the company’s ICE platform, which generates instant pricing and manufacturing data while a user modifies design during virtual explorations.
“From separate physical locations, an architect, designer and client can meet inside a space that doesn’t even exist yet,” said Barrie Loberg, DIRTT co-founder and creator of ICE technology. “They can make changes and see the impact of those changes instantly in the design, pricing and even the manufacturing data. This live, interactive experience can bring efficiencies to every phase of construction by improving how we understand, plan and ultimately build spaces.”
TrueLook integrates with PlanGrid
Construction productivity software provider PlanGrid said late last month that its platform will now allow use of technology offered by TrueLook, a camera solutions firm specifically targeted to the construction industry with tools such as live jobsite viewing, time-lapses, HD security recording and drone photography.
"Our goal at TrueLook is to put our camera technology easily into the hands of construction workers who can use it to make decisions both big and small," said Ken Pittman, chief marketing officer for TrueLook. "Previously, users had to access photos within TrueLook separately. Now, if contractors are collaborating on a site plan in PlanGrid, TrueLook users can attach pictures directly to that plan, create albums for the images and email photos to other PlanGrid users. It is seamless interactivity that makes the platforms work together more efficiently."
PlanGrid's software enables collaboration on project documents such as plans, punch lists, RFIs and daily reports.
“The whole point of PlanGrid is to all be on the same page with site plans and documents, making sure everyone has up-to-date information,” Ken Pittman, TrueLook’s chief marketing officer, told Construction Dive. “So if you’re able to take pictures from TrueLook, mark them up, and put them in PlanGrid, they’re available to the whole team.”
The jobsite images could be used to note when something looks off and needs to be inspected, verify weather conditions to validate delays, identify inaccuracies, or just to alert someone that a piece of signage has fallen. “[It’s a playground of tools], and people find all kinds of creative ways to use them,” Pittman said.
“Integration is a big push for us this year,” Pittman said. In May, TrueLook announced a partnership with Procore’s construction management software that allows Procore users “to view, store, and share jobsite photos with contacts or within their Procore projects.” Team members can find old images or can launch their TrueLook live stream from within Procore.
DroneDeploy now offers live thermal mapping
The drone provider said earlier this month in a press statement that its platform now offers visibility into temperature variability in real-time without the need for a computer, SD card, or even an internet connection.
DroneDeploy’s “Thermal Live Map,” the company said, “pinpoints problem areas — such as cracks, leaks, and structural damage — within minutes and minimizes safety risks. It also allows companies to retro and proactively address existing and potential risks, preventing disasters on site.”
“Rather than searching for a needle in a haystack, you have a map to tell you right where to look. The work input to value output with drone-based thermal imagery is game-changing. It’s unlike anything else in construction technology right now,” said Grant Hagen, virtual design and construction manager at The Beck Group.