Doing More, Better, with Less: The Possibilities of Automation in Virtual Construction

Posted on Mar 21, 2018 by Virtual Construction
IConstruct Images Of Room Grouping 2

Image above shows automated clash grouping by room, using iConstruct.

Automation. Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence. Robotics.

These are all words that create strong emotions in people. Some embrace them as innovative and exciting concepts; others view them with trepidation. In each case, questions about their role in the future of work are driving real-time changes across all industries on a global scale. The design and construction industry is no different. These concepts were the key themes addressed at one of the industry’s largest conferences: Autodesk University.

Miron’s virtual construction team had the opportunity to attend Autodesk University in November 2017. The message for the opening keynote focused on the notion of “doing more, better, with less.” Autodesk’s President and CEO, Andrew Anagnost, shared his perspective on this concept, specifically automation and the future of work. He asked the scary question that many in the industry are asking: “Are we going to automate ourselves away?” His take was that automation is really just a way to help humans thrive in the new world of work and, daresay, is a requirement for a world where we are continually asked to do more with less….less time, less money, less resources. He believes a future with automation is a brighter future—one where all of us can make more, better, and with less.

In the world of construction, Miron is beginning to see the possibilities. iConstruct is one example of a tool our team is exploring/utilizing that would automate a portion of the work we currently do. Our virtual construction (VC) specialists spend a significant amount of time performing clash detection for our many projects. Essentially, they coordinate 3D models to ensure all of the building and equipment systems do not clash/interfere with one another. iConstruct has helped the team automate a portion of this process.

This has had two huge benefits. The first is increased quality and efficiency in clash detection. The program not only automates this typically time-intensive process, but it allows the VC specialists to recognize recurring (similar) clashes across projects. Second, it saves our VC specialists’ time so they are able to provide value in other capacities to our construction teams in the field. A few examples of these value-added services include:

  • Pre-planning using 4D sequencing (linking 3D models to the construction schedule)
  • Spending more time on layout (site and facility)
  • Exploring collaboration technologies like BIM 360
  • Educating/involving trade contractors earlier in the construction process

Automation is a concept that Miron’s virtual construction team is exploring very carefully in an effort to uncover innovations that make us more productive and add value to the entire design and construction process. As other processes become automated, our VC specialists are finding themselves able to do more things that are of higher value to our teams, which includes our design and subcontractor partners, as well as our critical field teams. That really is what innovation, one of Miron’s corporate drivers, is all about. How do we do more, better, with less?

Click here if you’re interested in viewing the Autodesk opening keynote.

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