Announcement: BuildingPoint UK and Ireland joins Get It Right Initiative

BuildingPoint UK and Ireland is pleased to announce that it has become a member of the Get It Right Initiative.

The Get It Right Initiative is a group of UK construction industry experts, organisations and businesses actively improving productivity, quality, sustainability and safety in the construction sector by eliminating error.

The BuildingPoint UK and Ireland offering is a perfect fit for the organisation with a range of Trimble technology that includes digital setting out, laser scanning, augmented reality and  solutions that increase accuracy and efficiency whilst reducing site time, rework and materials wastage.

BuildingPoint UK and Ireland is also committed to sharing knowledge and skills, regularly supporting new and potential users, including educational establishments, with seminars, presentations and training.

Sam Hough, Business Manager (UK) BuildingPoint UK and Ireland said:

“BuildingPoint UK & Ireland are delighted to announce our recent membership of the Get It Right Initiative (GIRI). GIRI aligns well with the efforts we as a business put into the construction industry, and with our valuable insight and involvement within their Technology Working Group, we hope to influence the construction site of tomorrow.”  

About the Get it Right Initiative

The Get It Right Initiative is a group of UK construction industry experts, organisations and businesses actively improving productivity, quality, sustainability and safety in the construction sector by eliminating error.

About BuildingPoint UK and Ireland

BuildingPoint dealers represent Trimble Buildings’ solutions. This covers their software, service and hardware offerings designed to allow users to create, transfer and modify construction models throughout the design, build, operate (DBO) lifecycle.

They provide a groundbreaking capability to help make projects quicker, more cost-efficient and stay on schedule by enabling tighter coordination and collaboration.


Case study: Exceeding Expectations: 400% boost in productivity and ahead of schedule

Download a formatted PDF of the story here

  • Stand out benefits for Derry Building Services and Bell Ventilation:
  • Reduction in working at height (110 days)
  • 400% increase in productivity for setting out FCUs
  • Ease of use and straight forward adoption of the new workflow
  • Reduction in errors associated with manual measurement methods
  • Excellent level of support from BuildingPoint UK & Ireland

How Derry Building Services and sub-contractor Bell Ventilation were able to decrease the setting-out time of 996 fan coil units by over 400% using a Trimble Ri digital layout solution and FieldPoints software, all supplied by Trimble BuildingPoint UK and Ireland.

Pilgrim’s Quarter, part of the Pilgrim Street development, is a new office development in the heart of Newcastle City Centre. The £155m project  will see the regeneration of the northern block of Pilgrim Street which will include the retention of the historic facade of the art deco Carliol House in preparation for it becoming the largest of HMRC’s 14 regional centres and home to 9000 workers.

Responsible for the setting out and installation of the fan coil units on this project is Bell Ventilation Services, a family run company specialising in the design, manufacture, and installation of ventilation solutions. Operating out of its manufacturing facility in Blyth, Northumberland, Bell Ventilation is serving an ever-growing customer base and establishing itself as a company capable of successfully delivering large scale projects.

The company is therefore actively exploring technology to enhance its service as well as new ways to implement work practices that will significantly boost productivity, particularly on larger sites such as the Pilgrim’s Quarter project which required the set-out and installation of 996 fan coil units across 11 floor plates.

Elevating workflow efficiency

Before the ventilation contract was awarded to Bell Ventilation, Company Director Martin Bell worked closely with DBS’s Mechanical Project Manager, Steve Mann, to see how the existing manual workflow for fan coil unit setting out could be digitised through the introduction of digital layout technology.

Already familiar with Trimble’s Ri and Field Points software ( which ensures points in the model are accurately located in the field), Steve Mann contacted BuildingPoint UK and Ireland to arrange a trial of the system for Martin to take a look at.

The existing workflow saw the Bell team working from paper plans with gridline offsets. On site, manual measurements were then taken from the soffit which meant platforms were required for working at height. Taking the measurements required two people and although the job was not complicated it was extremely time consuming. The manual process was also subject to potential errors due to these methods.  

Although Martin was initially concerned that the Trimble Ri system might be technically complicated, the trial alleviated these concerns and both Steve and Martin felt that its introduction was ‘a no brainer’ for the project.

New workflow

In the office: The Revit model is prepared by Derry Building Services and includes all the fan coil locations. Using an automated process and a ‘place points over markers’ function, the Trimble Field Points software generates accurate setting out positions for all the required points where the fan coil will be fixed. The automated feature easily applies the accurate positions to all points, even those on fan coils that are not of a standard size. On this project, over 3,900 attachment points were generated.

The job is then exported into Trimble FieldLink software on a tablet for use on site in conjunction with the Trimble Ri.

On site: The Bell Ventilation field team opens up the model on the tablet and selects the floor plate they are working on. They can then see where the fan coil units are to be located along with the ducting, vents and attachment points.  The software connects to the Ri and one of the Bell team sets up its position relative to the gridlines. The first point is then tapped on the tablet and the Ri’s laser points to the corresponding position on the slab. A vertical laser is then used to locate this point on the ceiling.

As each point is stored, the software checks that it is within tolerance, in this case within 50 mm although the Ri is capable of delivering mm accuracy. A revision cloud can then highlight anything out of tolerance for further action when the file is imported back into Revit. A report is also generated for each fan coil unit to show that it has been accurately installed.

The Bell team now comprises of one member marking the fixing points (this was previously a two man job) followed by a team of two installing the units.

Crunching the numbers

The system’s primary objective was to enhance site health and safety by minimising work at heights. Additionally, it aimed to ensure commercial viability, boost productivity, and optimise labour allocation for Bell. Consequently, the meticulous monitoring of site work results was crucial for both Steve and Martin, ensuring that the financial metrics aligned with the intended goals.

  • 996 fan coils to be fitted over 11 floor plates.
  • Over 3900 attachment points generated.
  • Each floor requires either 3 or 4 set ups of the Ri with each set up taking less than 30
  • Using traditional set out methods (paper plans and tape measurements) the Bell team completed the marking up and fitting of 8 fan coils a day. Using the new Trimble system for setting out they completed 20 units in a day. The setting out process on its own was 400% faster than previously and saw a single team member set out 640 points a day compared to around 32 previously.
  • A job that would have taken 116 days to mark out manually could now be undertaken with the new Trimble Ri workflow in just 6 days.
  • 110 days saved working at height.

Far reaching benefits

Although initially concerned about how easy the system would be to use, Martin reports that his team had no trouble in quickly adapting to the new workflow with one team member using the Ri productively in just 2 hours: “Initially, we were concerned about any technical issues the new workflow may present and how long it would take to get the team trained up but that simply wasn’t the case. The team took to it well and we now have a far better flow on site with just one of the team marking the fixings and two following for the installation. Marking out 20 units an hour means there’s never any hold up.”

Steve Mann concludes: “I’ve known about the Trimble Ri technology for some time following a recommendation from a friend. This project has circa 1000 FCU and the shape of the building and complex steel work would have made traditional mark up near on impossible. The biggest loss on a job is down to overspend on labour, I wanted to use this system to reduce working at height and at the same time, speed the install up.

“Moving forward, we’re looking at utilising this technology throughout Derry Building Services. In my opinion, the system has over delivered and I’m looking forward to implementing it on future projects.”

We Are One: BuildingPoint UK & Ireland turns 1

Today (21st September) marks 1 year since the launch of BuildingPoint UK & Ireland.

So what better time to look back at all what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months?

First things first, who are we?

Although BuildingPoint may be 1, we trace our history back much longer than this! Before September 2022, you probably knew us as KOREC Construction – the digital construction division of KOREC Group – one of the world’s largest and most successful Trimble distributors.

In order to better serve the UK & Ireland’s construction sectors, we made the decision to rebrand to BuildingPoint – joining an existing global family of over 20 BuildingPoint companies from across the USA, Australia and Europe. This closer collaboration with our partners allows for knowledge-sharing and best-practice – benefits which we pass onto you, our customers!

We’ve Grown…

Starting off with just 2 team members (Sam Hough & Kevin Colwell), our team has expanded rapidly to deal with increasing demand.

We’re proud to introduce our whole team to you;

Why not connect with them on LinkedIn to access all the latest hints, tips, and product updates

We’ve got the Greatest Solutions

Thanks to our close partnership with Trimble Construction Field Technology, we’ve access to the latest, greatest and most efficient digital construction solutions, spanning layout, floor flatness verification, clash detection and as-built model creation. These include two solutions recently launched – the Trimble X9 laser scanner, and the Trimble Ri robotic total station. Not even to mention Spot the robot dog!

We’re Getting Involved

We want to be an active member of the digital construction sector, driving innovation and increasing productivity right through the construction process. Which is why we’ve got involved in a number of industry bodies, including;

The Finishes & Interiors Sector – we’re a proud supporter of this not-for-profit organisation that represents the £10 billion FIS sector. See all the members here.

Supporters of BE-ST (Built Environment – Smarter Transformation), providing training time & materials –  allowing BE-ST to provide fully-funded training in digital construction skills and technologies for educators and SMEs across Scotland.

We’re Winners!

Unsurprisingly, Trimble’s cutting-edge solutions are already garnering awards and praise from the industry. Spot the Dog won the ‘Best use of Digital Technology in a Construction Project’ at the 2022 Construction Computing Awards – alongside customer BAM Nuttall.

Our solutions are once again shortlisted in the 2023 awards including for Product of the Year (Trimble X9), Construction Software (Trimble Connect), and Channel Partner of the Year (BuildingPoint!). See the whole shortlist and vote for your winner, here.

We’re Looking Ahead

Far from resting on our laurels, we’ve got exciting plans for the coming months. In October we’ll be hosting our own event focussing on the FIS membership, and how our innovative solutions can turbo-charge their on-site efficiencies. These include replacing outdated, inaccurate and slow tape measures with quick, repeatable digital setting out.

The following month, November, we are excited to be collaborating with our Trimble digital construction partners on a 4-day, online webinar course that covers every single stage of the digital construction process, and how Trimble has a solution for each and every stage.

Our partners in this exciting endeavour include;

Make sure you’re following our social channels (links at the bottom of the page) for more on these upcoming events and how to take part.

BuildingPoint UK & Ireland are proud to supply the highest quality Trimble surveying equipment and BIM solutions to the construction industry. 

Our mission is to empower you to measure, map and manage the natural and built environment with ease. If you have any questions about BIM technology and software, or you’d like to hire Trimble survey equipment, our knowledgeable team is always on hand to help, just get in touch

BIM Technology: What Is It? How Does It Work & Why Does It Matter?

BIM is a digital representation and complex system used in the creation and management of a construction project – from start to finish.

It’s become a vital part of construction projects and you’d be hard pushed to find one that doesn’t use BIM, so much so, it’s now a legal requirement for large scale and public builds to use BIM as part of their processes under the UK government Digital Built Britain scheme. This is all in a bid to improve efficiency and quality of the built environment.

BIM effectively coordinates a digital workflow of each aspect of a build. This includes 3D modelling, product and material data and digital structures. 

An acronym for Building Information Modeling or Building Information Management, all manner of workers and individuals involved in a construction project are able to participate and contribute to the BIM management process. 

From architects to engineers, as well as local authorities and contractors, everybody involved collaborates on the model from the design stage, to its approval and construction. 

Notably, the data can be shared and accessed by BIM managers and the client who can use the BIM model and information to make decisions regarding the build. This data and information remains accessible even after construction has been completed. 

In the past, we relied on blueprints and drawings to communicate building plans but this came with a list of disadvantages. It was often difficult to accurately visualise dimensions, record keeping could be an issue, they were easier to lose or damage and there’d also be no audit trail.

CAD (Computer Aided Design) came along to help improve this, allowing drafters and workers to see digital 3D plans. Today, we have BIM, allowing for support and collaboration at every phase of construction.

Key Features of BIM Technology

In short, BIM software works by taking survey data, designs and considerations to create three-dimensional (3D) objects. These objects combine to create a digital building model alongside a digital workflow from field to finish – for everyone from the architect to the contractors, to the building inspector and stakeholders.

The model contains data describing the building materials, the dimensions and the various components of the construction. The data can be converted into 2D drawings, allowing you to create digital workflows from office to site that would have one source of truth and audit trails.

It allows individuals involved – either directly or indirectly – in the construction to gain insight into various aspects of the build seamlessly for maximum efficiency. 

As a result, the data generated can reveal design problems that can be circumnavigated early on by architects and engineers. 

The Benefits of BIM Technology

A question many ask is what are the benefits of using BIM in construction projects?

BIM software comes with a slew of them. Here are some of the many advantages:

Better Collaboration and Communication 

A key benefit of using BIM in a construction project is that it helps facilitate and finetune communication between all professionals involved. 

Everybody is able to clearly see the virtual model of the building, meaning everyone has clear insight into the project and its requirements. A further benefit of this is that it can prevent any misunderstandings arising which in turn helps prevent delays in construction. 

Enhanced Efficiency

The process of creating 2D drawings is significantly expedited using BIM tools. In fact, this is a big part of its appeal: it saves architects and designers a lot of time at the drawing stage. 

Improved Quality Control 

Design and construction problems can be identified early on through digital visualisations of the building. This is a huge time and resource saver and also helps to ensure a high quality project completion. 

Lower Costs

Through early detection of potential problems in the construction project, costly errors can be avoided. 

Quicker Construction Life Cycle

By employing BIM tools, the whole construction process from start to finish can be planned and monitored with close precision, eliminating communication hold-ups and potential delays.

More Sustainable 

A building’s carbon footprint can be brought down significantly by using BIM analysis tools to optimise energy efficiency. 

Types of BIM Software

There is a variety of BIM software on the market with each designed to play a significant role in the overall BIM process. As an authorised Trimble distributor, we focus on the following BIM software:

Let’s take a look at the BIM lifecycle and which phase of the project you might use each piece of software: 

Applications of BIM Technology in Construction

A lot of people wonder what is the purpose of BIM technology? But the answer is varied as it supports a number of processes in the construction journey. Below we’ll discuss some of the key ones.

Design and Visualisation of Building Structures

Using BIM software such as FieldLink and Field Points, and hardware such as laser scanning equipment and total stations, designers, architects and engineers can gather invaluable insight into the intricacies of the site to enable them to create a model for the project. 

Designers can pick from a library of building elements, including windows, doors, plumbing and ventilation, heating and cooling systems as well as things like stairs and elevators, which can be quickly added to the design. These elements are parametric, meaning they can easily be resized and customised to perfectly fit with the project.

They can also assemble photo-realistic renderings which can be presented to stakeholders or clients – or indeed used for marketing purposes. Renderings are often very important for giving those concerned a clearer insight into what the end result will be. 

BIM tools can also generate important documents like floor plans and elevations which can be passed on to construction workers.

Construction Project Management and Scheduling

BIM tools such as Trimble Connect, Connect AR and Connect MR can be used to assist in the planning, management and scheduling of a construction project. It can do this by offering smart 3D computer models, which can contribute to the management of survey, design, engineering and building.

Collected site survey data can be input to generate a 3D computer model of a building. 

Architects, engineers and anyone involved in the building process can use the model to plan and collaborate on the construction. 

At the design phase, a digital version of the building will be proposed. This model can be used to test design ideas, the integrity of the structure as well as practical concerns such as energy efficiency and fire safety. 

Once the design and planning phase is completed, BIM can create scheduling and track the ongoing build. 

As the build moves forward, tools like CloudEngine can be used to communicate updates with technical collaborators and non-technical stakeholders through easy to understand modelling and real-time simulations to keep track of progress. 

BIM Data Management and Analysis

3D clash detection also plays a role in construction management. It’s a process whereby contractor’s different models are merged to identify any problems. Other ways are through 4D sequencing and virtual mock-ups which can assess the quality of the construction.

Facility Management and Maintenance

BIM can also provide quantifiable insights valuable to facility management post build. 

For instance, it can tell you a building’s predicted energy expenditure, as well as how much maintenance will cost. It does this in part by providing information about things like the durability of materials and the weather conditions of the site – which provides a clear idea of how often components will need to be repaired or replaced. 

While in the past a balance sheet and other documents might give you some idea of these things, looking at a building model and seeing in detail how those costs will look is much more accurate and easy to put into practice.

What is the future of BIM technology?

BIM offers a number of benefits, meaning it is likely not going anywhere.

Architects, engineers and construction workers stand to benefit from the insight BIM can provide them with, and we will see this digital collaboration via the BIM process continue to develop and be optimised. 

As BIM technology develops, we will also start to see 4D, 5D, 6D and 7D BIM come into the picture.

Additionally, it could play a valuable role in reducing waste in construction. A lot of this waste is due to supply chain errors and having to rebuild or rework problems. The collaborative nature of the BIM environment helps prevent these issues, making such waste less likely to occur in future projects.

Looking to the future, BIM has huge potential and this potential is only just coming into view. With new tools and greater optimisation at every level of building construction, we will likely see far more fine-tuned, enhanced and optimised building processes going forward. 

Efficiency, Accuracy and Collaboration

BIM-enabled construction processes provide greater efficiency, visualisation and collaboration throughout a design and construction project. 

It can assist communication between those involved, including stakeholders and local authorities that will approve planning permission. As a platform, it can help ensure all individuals involved are working towards the same clearly defined construction goal. 

Companies use BIM today due to its value at each and every phase of construction – from its initial design to maintenance of the facility. With analysis tools it can identify areas of improvement and run predictions for how often upkeep and repair will be required. At the time of a building’s completion, it can still provide insight into a building’s operations making it a highly valuable, comprehensive process for construction. 

BuildingPoint UK & Ireland are proud to supply the highest quality Trimble surveying equipment and BIM solutions to the construction industry. 

Our mission is to empower you to measure, map and manage the natural and built environment with ease. If you have any questions about BIM technology and software, or you’d like to hire Trimble survey equipment, our knowledgeable team is always on hand to help, just get in touch

What Can the Construction Industry Learn from Manufacturing?

Did you know that US sectors including agriculture and manufacturing have increased productivity 10 to 15 times since the 1950s, the productivity of construction remains stuck at the same level as 80 years ago?

BuildingPoint UK and Ireland’s Business Manager (UK), Sam Hough, takes a look at why the construction sector is underperforming and what we can do about it.

A Century of Evolution: Construction vs. Manufacturing

Over the past century, both the construction and manufacturing industries have undergone significant transformations, spurred by technological advancements, shifts in global economies, and changing societal demands. While the core principles of these sectors have remained unchanged, the methods and processes have evolved dramatically. Let’s explore how construction and manufacturing have changed over the last one hundred years and analyse the key factors that have shaped their respective journeys. By looking at this, it will help us understand WHY construction has been losing the ‘evolution race’ for nearly a century.

A recent McKinsey article titled “REINVENTING CONSTRUCTION: A ROUTE TO HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY” explores how the changes between both sectors have not necessarily resulted in similar productivity growth.

“Every year, there is about $10 trillion in construction-related spending globally, equivalent to 13 percent of GDP.

Global labour-productivity growth in construction has averaged only 1 percent a year over the past two decades (and was flat in most advanced economies). Contrasted with growth of 2.8 percent in the world economy and 3.6 percent in manufacturing,

US sectors including agriculture and manufacturing have increased productivity ten to 15 times since the 1950s, the productivity of construction remains stuck at the same level as 80 years ago.

The article clearly indicates that the construction sector is underperforming. Current measurements find that there has been a consistent decline in the industry’s productivity since the late 1960s. If we can achieve a manufacturing-style production system, it is estimated this could boost productivity by 5-10x!

5 reasons why construction hasn’t achieved its potential

Construction faces several challenges when it comes to a perceived lack of advancement:

  1. Technological adoption: Historically, the construction industry has been slow to adopt new technologies compared to other sectors.
  2. Fragmented nature: The construction industry often involves many stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and suppliers. The fragmented nature of the industry can lead to communication gaps and inefficiencies that slow down advancements, multiple single sources of truth!
  3. Skilled labour shortage: The industry has faced difficulties in attracting and retaining skilled workers. The lack of skilled labour can lead to delays and reduced productivity, impacting the overall advancement of projects.
  4. Risk-averse culture: The construction sector often prioritises tried-and-tested methods to avoid risks and costly mistakes. This risk-averse culture can discourage experimentation and the adoption of new approaches.
  5. Funding and investment: Construction projects can be capital-intensive, and obtaining funding for innovative projects may be challenging, especially for smaller companies or startups with limited resources.

Automobile – Then vs. Now

No alt text provided for this image

In a manufacturing setting, with the rise of assembly lines, pioneered by Henry Ford, mass production became possible. Robotics and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines have dramatically increased productivity, reduced errors, and enabled cost-effective, large-scale production.

No alt text provided for this image

In 1886, a patent was filed under the number 37435, this is to be considered the first practical automobile put into series production. It had 1 cylinder, 3 horsepower, 2 speeds and weighed 360KG! This patent was filed under Benz & Co… Later known as Mercedes Benz.

No alt text provided for this image

If we look at a modern-day car, a Mercedes EQS for example, it boasts 658 horsepower, charges in 31 minutes and it has a fully digital dash!

Can you imagine if Karl Benz was able to see what his automobile company was going to be in 150 years!?

Construction – Then vs. Now

Granted, the two industries do differ drastically with technological improvements and the sheer demand for automobiles. We can’t avoid the fact though that the technology for construction is there, we just need to adopt it! The key to this is often overcoming the reasons listed 1-5 above.

No alt text provided for this image

Whilst the construction sector has seen vast improvements, these have predominantly been focused on health and safety. If you compare the construction site of Kensington Station (built in the mid 1800s) with a modern-day construction site, you’ll see the similarities. The technology is very much the same, with little advancements of the “traditional” trades.

Technology is the key to success

No alt text provided for this image

What does any of this mean in relation to the hardware we offer at BuildingPoint?

Whether you’re a drylining company or are installing MEPF, with feature rich drawings and 3D models, it’s seen to reduce rework costs by 30%, and increase productivity by up to 90% using our setting out solutions!

If you’re a concrete contractor, wanting to check a pour is within your tolerance, or a general contractor / principal contractor wanting to ensure all parts of your project are being installed to specification by your subcontractors, our 3D laser scanners have got your back!

Maybe you’re wanting to roll the 3D model out to your site team to aid coordination or are looking to collaborate remotely with your team through remote, handsfree video calls, our mixed and augmented reality solutions can achieve this!

And if you’re really pushing the boundaries and want to become the next Mercedes Benz of the construction industry, why look into robotic layout, using the HP SitePrint which boasts up to 10x speed increases.

Or even you are looking to perform dirty, dull and dangerous tasks, our SPOT and X7/X9 solution can increase your productivity by removing the human aspect from data acquisition, freeing them up for other tasks, or avoid sending an operative into a potentially dangerous environment.

Subscribe to the BuildingPoint UK and Ireland newsletter on LinkedIn


Press Coverage – CES interview with Sam Hough and Nathan Patton

Press Coverage – CES interview with Sam Hough and Nathan Patton

Have you seen the March issue of CES Magazine? Out now, this publication features an interview by CES Deputy Editor, Danielle Kenneally, who had plenty of questions she wanted answering on behalf of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineery Surveyors. Who better to field her enquires on ‘Looking at why digitisation in the construction industry does and doesn’t happen, than the perfect double act of BuildingPoint UK and Ireland’s Business Manager, Sam Hough, and Trimble’s Product Manager in Strategy and Innovation in Building Construction, Nathan Patton.

Not afraid to tackle the tricky topics of barriers to digitisation, should we fear the robots and is progress being made, Danielle wasn’t afraid to check with Sam if Nathan had lived up to the hype as one of the industry’s top 22 young professionals to watch! Find out Sam’s answer on this and read the full interview here: 

Case Study: O’Dwyer Steel – Refining the workflow and delivering total confidence on site

How O’Dwyer Steel has revolutionised it’s workflow using Trimble Tekla Structures software and a Trimble X7 3D Laser Scanner.

Download a PDF of the story here

Based in the village of Dundrum, Co. Tipperary, O’Dwyer Steel brings together the best of the old and the new through its 60 years’ of experience in the supply of CE certified steel and cladding alongside a thoroughly modern approach to the adoption of new technology and workflows.

Operating out of its purpose built, 4 hectare fabrication facility, the company delivers steel structures for the offsite, industrial, commercial and agricultural markets throughout the UK and Ireland and has established a hard-earned reputation through its decades of experience and successful business relationships.

The Trimble X7 3D Laser Scanner chosen by ODS

Great detail and true accuracy

Central to O’Dwyer’s success is its ability to deliver high-quality steel fabrications, designed and fitted with millimetre precision. Consequently, the company relies on the highly accurate measurements collected on site at the early stages of every project.

The capture of this data can be extremely time consuming and labour intensive as well as causing downtime through rework. Not only must it deliver on accuracy, but it is also vital that information collected during the site survey stage has sufficient detail for the avoidance of clashes at a later stage, particularly on more complex projects such as the retrofitting of steel works into existing buildings. Any discrepancies between the fabricated steel and the real-world site can result in costly rework as well as delaying a project by typically a week to 10 days.

O’Dwyer Steel’s current workflow sees a site engineer using a manual total station to record points which are backed up by a sketch made in the field. On returning to the office, the engineer then produces an AutoCAD drawing which is passed to the steel detailer for subsequent 3D modelling.

However, O’Dwyer Steel Director, Richard Walsh, felt that this was an area of the business that could be vastly improved by undertaking the surveys using a 3D Laser Scanner rather than a total station. By adopting this new digital methodology he felt that, not only would the site and office work be completed far faster, but the point cloud that the laser scanner generated would deliver the mm accuracy they required along with every detail of the site or structure, no matter how small. This would cut down on the need to revisit the site for any additional measurements and also remove any potential misinterpretations of the site layout.

“We are involved in a lot of complex projects and the new workflow is enabling us to spot potential clashes or misalignments presite. It’s also been particularly impressive during Microsoft Teams meetings with the design team able to open ‘Scan Explorer’ to take measurements and levels.”

Richard Walsh, Director, O’Dwyer Steel

Tekla – the workhorse for workflow

O’Dwyer is a long-term user of Tekla Structures (software that enables users to create and manage 3D structural models in concrete or steel), and Richard Walsh was therefore keen for any new solution to have a familiar interface and in particular, to work seamlessly with his Tekla software. He therefore contacted Trimble BuildingPoint UK and Ireland to research various scanners and following a number of trials, selected the Trimble X7 a scanner, a system already well trusted, respected and proven within the construction industry.

The adoption of the new system, which included Trimble FieldLink software to manage the laser scanner via a tablet and Trimble RealWorks for point cloud processing and analysis, enabled Richard to fine tune the workflow.

Once the site survey is complete using the Trimble X7, the site engineer exports the scan data into Trimble RealWorks which is used to validate the registration of the scans already completed on site by the X7. RealWorks is also used to turn the point cloud into a lean, clean, dataset free from the noise of a busy site and any information superfluous to the needs of the steel detailer.

The software is also used to segment down the point cloud before it’s issued to the detailer to make it even more manageable in size. Once segmented, these point clouds are generated and imported into Tekla Structures for the detailing and modelling of the steel work.

This easy, connected flow of data ensures that the accuracy of the original point cloud is retained throughout the process.

Case Study: Steelwork for a Martello tower, UK

Full scan of the Martello tower using the Trimble X7

This was a particularly challenging project in which ODS was engaged by Enevate Homes UK (specialists in volumetric construction) to fabricate and install floor and roof steelwork into a Martello tower located on the south coast of England. WL Squared (Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers) designed curved steelwork for each floor and a feature curved roof.

ODS used the Trimble X7 to complete a survey of the existing tower. Due to its compact nature, the ODS team was able to bring the X7 onto a flight from Ireland to the UK and the survey was completed in just one day.

Following the site work, a point cloud was then generated to allow the Tekla detailer to detail all the steelwork. The point cloud was segmented down to points only at each level that was relevant to the steel detailer.

On this project, the ODS management team decided to pre-assemble each of the floors in their workshop. They were able then to do a scan of the assembled floor and compare that to the .IFC model to ensure it was within tolerance prior to delivery and installation. Indeed, an error was picked up with one of the perimeter PFC (parallel flange channel) being curved to the incorrect radius. Carrying out this exercise allowed ODS to remedy the error before it was delivered to site.

Survey carried out of preassembled floors in ODS workshop
Curved roof steelwork
Steel beams sitting on existing corbels

“Once I’d familiarised myself with the new workflow, creating the models with the point cloud was very easy and now it’s become second nature. There have been numerous times when this has enabled us to flag up issues in the office, presite, which has been invaluable. For example, on our very first job with the Trimble X7 where we were extending a commercial building, we were able to pick up an electrical box exactly where we were dropping a column and arrange for this to be moved before we arrived on site.

The new system also means that we can handle particular complex jobs. A recent one involved steel work inside a tower in England. The inside was not symmetrical, so every piece of steel work was different. I don’t know how we’d have managed this job previously!”

Shane O’Connell – Steel Detailer, O’Dwyer Steel

New Workflow – key benefits

• Faster turnaround of jobs
• Total confidence that the steel structure will fit on site
• Avoidance of rework and site revisits, saving time and money
• Ability to spot clashes/misalignments in the office and correct the model before fabrication
• Capacity to take on larger and more complex projects

• Trusted, accurate and reliable X7 data
• Easy moving of point cloud within the Tekla IFC file
• Ability to capture even the smallest detail with the X7
• Ability to open Trimble Scan Explorer during Teams meetings and take dimensions and levels

For further information please contact:

Follow BuildingPoint UK and Ireland on LinkedIn

CASE STUDY: Technology for a ‘get it right, first time, every time’ ethos

Download a PDF of the case study here

Walsh Steel Detailing has invested in Trimble 3D Laser Scanning and Mixed Reality technologies as part of a process that both vastly improves their site/office workflow and ensures that there will be no surprises for their clients or team when an intricate project goes to site.

“If we didn’t have this technology, we simply couldn’t do the work we are doing. We are market leaders for two reasons, our people and the technology that we have invested in.”

Damian Walsh, Managing Director, WSD

Established in 2017, Walsh Steel Detailing Ltd was the result of founder Damian Walsh spotting an under resourced area of the market that he felt could be well serviced by his steel industry knowledge, contacts and interest in technology. Aware that there was a shortage of steel detailers in Ireland and that there would be good take-up  for a company that could provide an ‘on-demand’ service to smaller fabricators, he therefore launched Walsh Steel Detailing.

Based in Co Mayo, the new company would focus on meeting the needs of those fabricators that often found themselves unable to tender for works because they did not have the capability to produce drawings to the required level or were unable to justify the costs of a full-time draftsperson and relevant software. The aim of WSD would be to offer advice early in the detailing process backed up by extreme attention to detail and a ‘get it right first time, every time’, ethos to ensure that there would be no surprises when a complex project went to site.

Read more

CASE STUDY: ‘Reduce waste and increase certainty’

How Laing O’Rourke is using augmented reality for construction through their adoption of Trimble’s Connect AR app

Download a PDF of the case study here.

“We have been able to put the detailed 3D models in the hands of site supervisions, operatives, steel fixers, construction managers and more. The result is a better-connected team, increased understanding, and complete end to end digital delivery.”

Antony Bromley, Project Digital Lead, Laing O’Rourke

Augmented Reality has seen a boom in recent years with take up across a range of diverse sectors from entertainment and interior design to manufacturing and medical training. As the technology becomes easier to use, AR is making a profound difference to the way we work. The construction industry is now experiencing its own digital revolution and 3D representations of projects and BIM models are now commonplace, bringing with them the means to easily visualise the graphical representation of the model and data that exists within it, reducing error and uncertainty. Read more

LJMU’s School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment are Leading the Way With Robotic Dog Investment

Investing £150K into cutting edge educational tools, The School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment at Liverpool John Moores University is the first in Europe to make use of ‘Spot’ the robot dog to revolutionise their teaching and research.

It might have four legs and love a walk but you won’t find ‘Spot’ barking or looking for cuddles. That’s because it’s an all-terrain robotic dog that is being used to streamline civil engineering and construction surveys.

LJMU bought Spot from and is fully supported by BuildingPoint UK and Ireland – the construction arm of Liverpool-based mapping and surveying equipment specialists, KOREC Group

However, it was actually designed and developed by American robotic company Boston Dynamics. It also features a 3D Laser Scanner by Trimble.

Between them, Trimble and Boston Dynamics have created an agile, easy-to-use four-legged robot. Perfect for accessing areas that are difficult or unsafe.

It can be pre-programmed or remotely controlled which means it can be used to quarry out surveys in the most hazardous conditions. It can even be controlled by workers who aren’t onsite.

It can also be used to carry out repetitive survey tasks, so skilled surveyors are free to do more technical jobs.

How is ‘Spot’ changing the way the department works?

“LJMU is really at the forefront of what is happening within the construction industry which is currently undergoing a digital revolution. Not only is Spot an important addition to construction sites from a health and safety perspective but also a significant reminder that if the construction industry is to overcome a skills and labour shortage, then this is just the sort of technology to attract a new, motivated generation of engineering surveyors.

Spot is presently active on several construction sites following investment by major construction companies so for LJMU to already be preparing the next generation of engineers in this way will be of considerable importance for the industry as a whole.”

Sam Hough, BuildingPoint UK and Ireland Business Manager
Left to right: Ben Lewis (KOREC Group) Dr Layth Kraidi (LJMU), Sam Hough (BuildingPoint UK and Ireland) and Dr Fiona Borthwick (LJMU). 

“We’ve been excited about Spot for a very long time, so we’re pleased that we now have our robot dog up and running. It’s a great plus for our students that they will be familiar with this technology before they go full-time into the industry, and we look forward to further exploring Spot’s capabilities and options for different payloads.”

Dr Fiona Borthwick, Interim Subject Head of Civil Engineering and Built Environment
‘Spot’ has its inbuilt 3D Laser Scanner calibrated by the BuildingPoint UK and Ireland Service Centre

Who are KOREC and BuildingPoint UK & Ireland?

Established Trimble Geospatial Distributor,  KOREC Group, is one of the largest and most successful in the world and has been for over 25 years. They’ve been active in the construction market since they were formed in the 1960’s.

In 2019, the Trimble construction side of the KOREC Group started operating as KOREC Construction. Then in September 2022, BuildingPoint UK & Ireland joined the global BuildingPoint network.

This network supports the entire collection of Trimble Buildings’ solutions to markets around the world. They help construction companies to be more productive, stick to schedules and keep on budget. They even improve collaboration by improving coordination and project transparency.

Who is LJMU School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment?

The School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment at Liverpool John Moores embraces bright and creative thinkers, offering them accredited academic courses as part of a vibrant community. Thanks to its expert staff and committed students, the school has a history of remarkable research, first-rate facilities and strong links with industry leaders too.

Both their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes have impressive employability rates. The school also supports a large number of postgraduate researchers as they complete projects across a range of subjects. 

The school is internationally recognised and runs programmes in conjunction with partners based in Malaysia, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Hong Kong.