The greatest construction project in history

01 September 2022

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Hexagon is reimagining construction from the ground up with Smart Digital Realities and empowering the industry to be exponentially better.

Exponentially better thanks to the digital awakening

It is no secret that digital adoption in construction lags behind other industries. But what you might not know is that contractors and construction companies are going bankrupt at alarming rates despite extremely favourable market conditions and an enormous backlog of work. The industry is under pressure to do more with less, overcome the labour and supply chain disruptions and, of course, deliver on time, within budget and in scope.

In addition to these industry pressures, there are ever-growing pressures on the environment. Nature has its limits. ​We are pushing them. To reduce carbon footprints, we now need infrastructure and buildings to be more resilient to climate change and more sustainable — all while still being economical. And the potential impact is massive. The construction ecosystem represents more than 10% of worldwide GDP. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted and resources consumed are astronomical.

The question we all need to ask ourselves right now is: HOW are we going to build for the future?

We must reimagine our industry — transform the way we live and work without causing irreversible damage to the planet.

The companies who are reimaging our industry are no longer thinking of themselves as construction companies but rather as hybrid companies with technology, engineering and construction as their core competencies. They are attracting a new wave of talent and capital investments to accelerate the change.

This digital awakening is leveraging technology to turbo-charge collaboration, seamlessly connecting office and field applications and finding new ways to work across the entire construction lifecycle.

Preconstruction — enhancing autonomy from the concept onward

Too many construction projects are bidding, designing and planning based on incorrect assumptions. In most cases, it is due to a lack of information on the existing conditions such as the terrain for civil engineering projects or plans of existing buildings for remodel or expansion projects.

An intelligent design and plan that is based on accurate assumptions which are represented in a smart digital reality that connects people, departments and assets throughout each phase sets the project up for success. Hexagon’s range of sensors and applications capture existing conditions for individual building projects, civil engineering projects and smart cities, and enable data to flow seamlessly from the field into the office. These solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically create 3D models from 2D designs — from digital terrain models to digital twins of existing buildings. Software can also simulate real world conditions that affect infrastructure such as air flows, temperature, sun angles and water tables. The smart digital reality provides a time capsule of the baseline assumptions over the life of the asset.

Construction — adapting to changes with agility

Once projects are digitally enabled, the designs and plans need to be read by people and machines on the job site. Our machine control operating platform seamlessly integrates models from the office to the job site providing exact instructions to operators and machines. But our goal is not just to automate a piece of equipment to do a discrete task. It is about automating and optimising an entire process and workflow.

The next generation of construction management solutions, includes powerful 5D real-time progress monitoring and cost deviation tracking. This holistic performance management creates transparency and balances the magic triangle of costs, time and scope while driving short- and long-term productivity across multiple departments and stakeholders.

Reality capture solutions also create constant feedback loops between the office and the job site. The ongoing reconciliation of plans and actuals bring visibility into the project status and allows stakeholders to drill into details, enabling root cause analysis and faster course corrections. Making issues in the field transparent for office-based staff avoids costly rework, waste, delays and potential downstream issues while enabling an agile response to changing conditions.

Safety is one of the industry’s biggest challenges. But today, personal alert solutions combined with machine control ensure people and equipment can be productive and safe at the same time. Such solutions bring awareness to individuals and equipment down to centimetre-level accuracy and allow site workers to operate multiple machines with the same user experience.

During construction, change is inevitable and constant. Flexibility to adapt is incremental, but the agility to build the best scenario is exponential. As we plan and design remotely and control operations autonomously, we use optimisation engines and workflows to maximise productivity and assess all operational scenarios down to shift level plans. The next phase is to have complete control and to automate all equipment on the job site, doing the “right thing” without human intervention.

Operations — predicting operations with AI

For quite some time, constructing and operating buildings and infrastructure has been in a deadlock to overcome the barriers to higher productivity, but this has changed rapidly. Today, technology offers significant opportunities to improve the total cost of ownership and pave the way for a sustainable future.

Facility management or asset performance management becomes smart to improve the total cost of ownership. Using digital solutions, we can provide operational agility to increase building and infrastructure performance and thus extend an asset’s lifecycle and maintain or increase its value, which is also the best way to reduce an infrastructure’s environmental impact.

This is not possible without a dynamic digital twin. For existing buildings and infrastructure, a digital twin needs to be created well after the physical version was created. Reality capture technologies provide the solution, enabling assets to be managed remotely with the relevant content, documentation and context.

Unlike prevention, predictive maintenance is based on the current operating health conditions of assets instead of statistics and previously defined schedules. Intelligent buildings and infrastructure are vital elements of a future where cities and nations become safe, smart and sustainable with owners and operators harnessing and improving the asset life cycles. Let Smart Digital Realities with AI-enabled insights support you to predict the future of your buildings and infrastructure assets.

A new paradigm

We need infrastructure and buildings to create a more inclusive world, to strengthen urban resilience and to remain economical. The next frontier is connecting the planet to the buildings and infrastructure ecosystem, a future with interconnection between technology, nature and people, with technology enabling more natural and human value.

Maximising the power of digital realities needs to occur in every stage of construction and throughout the life of the assets. The current approach of seeking incremental improvements is not going to be enough, we need to think in exponentials: 10 times, 20 times, 30 times better. We need a new paradigm because the stakes have never been higher.

Our technology is now reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem. We are reimagining construction to build more connected, collaborative, efficient and sustainable cities, and nations with Smart Digital Realities. The evidence is overwhelming — powering innovation provides enormous opportunities.

Author: Thomas Harring, President, Geosystems division at Hexagon

Visit us at bauma 2022

Join our heavy construction industry experts and discover how Hexagon supports contractors, OEMs and infrastructure asset owners to optimise the construction life cycle.

Visit us at Hall A2, Booth #137 and explore the latest innovations and hands-on demos with experts ready to answer any questions.

LEARN MORE HERE

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