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Construction is doing digitization wrong

We’re setting our data management rolls up for failure.

We hear a lot about the benefits of digitization on the construction site. With a single capture from a drone or 3D scanner, you get a single source of truth, a way to share site conditions with all project stakeholders, and the ability to perform tasks that would have been impossible with manual capture.

But there’s a fatal flaw.

We’re still failing to consider how every project stakeholder — from supervisors to the workers in the field — will use the captured data within their own unique business context. And this puts a huge burden on BIM managers, or whatever role on your team is responsible for data management.

It creates problems when it was supposed to be solving them.


How it plays out

A construction project needs the site captured for a specific purpose, like a progress check. So they send a service provider or internal expert to perform a capture and produce a data set. Next, this person delivers the data as a raw point cloud data set or a complex 3D model in a BIM or CAD format.

The construction project uses the data for the project check. So far so good. But there’s a problem preventing the construction site from using it for any other purpose: each stakeholder faces a lot of extra work to extract the specific information they need for their own day-to-day tasks.

Maybe the stakeholder is a worker in the field, an asset owner, or project manager. They’re not going to take the time to examine a complex BIM or CAD model, never mind a raw point cloud. That’s just another task when time is already short.

Maybe the stakeholder is an engineer or a designer. They have the expertise to use these files, but the raw data is probably in the wrong format for them to open. Even if it is in the correct format, they’ll still need to perform tasks like filtering, reprojection, and transformation before they can get the information they wanted in the first place.


The data dilemma

Now the BIM Coordinator — or the role responsible for data management on the work site — is stuck in the middle. They’re handed raw files and tasked with producing deliverables that make sense of the data for a variety of stakeholders who are performing a wide variety of applications.

This makes a lot of extra work for the coordinator.

They will waste time extracting reports for different stakeholders. They might generate two or three reports from the same 3D model or raw point cloud, all because there are three different stakeholders who need the same information but use different software or hardware systems.

They will also waste time converting the file or model to a variety of different formats so that office users can open and use the data in their own application. Again, they will have to do this multiple times, for multiple stakeholders in applications like Trimble Connect, Autodesk Revit, or Esri’s ArcGIS.

Unfortunately, this process also creates a lot of duplicate files. Now, the BIM Coordinator is also responsible for managing an array of nearly identical reports and files. These reports increase storage costs and makes it virtually impossible for stakeholders to find the right data.

You can see why the BIM Coordinator is often overwhelmed, and the 3D data doesn’t get used to its full potential. Instead of solving problems, construction digitization initiatives put a burden on data managers.


The solution

To fix the situation, construction sites need to invest in a tool that can accomplish both of the tasks we just outlined. They need to extract reports from 3D data to make it simple for stakeholders to use in a particular application. And they need to convert that 3D data for use in a variety of end-user applications.

Pointscene does both.

It offers ready-made solutions that can put 3D data into the right context for applications like temporary structures and worksite arrangements, safety and risk management, quantity takeoff and stockpile management, and communication and visualization. But here’s the real value: if Pointscene doesn’t already offer a ready-made application for your end-user’s needs, its platform includes an API that enables BIM Coordinators to build their own applications.

It takes care of the hard work of moving data where it’s needed, and placing it in a variety of business contexts for your stakeholders. Pointscene solves the problems plaguing BIM coordinators, so they can get back to doing their actual jobs and ensure a project’s success.