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:
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.
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
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.
“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
“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
The 10th November saw the winners of the 2022 Construction Computing Awards announced at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London City. Over 200 guests gathered to see the outcome of the readers’ online voting and the judging panel’s deliberations.
And of course BuildingPoint UK Ireland was right in the thick of it!
Sam Hough (Business Manager) and Abel Varela Abelleira (Senior Applications Engineer) were delighted to be guests on the Trimble table which saw four awards picked up during the evening including a joint effort with Building Point UK and Ireland!
This is the third in our series of “The Future of…” posts where we’ve been looking at trends within the construction industry. We’ve already covered ‘Augmented and Mixed Reality’, and ‘Construction Robotics’, so where next? Well, I did mention that I may mix up Trend 3 due to popular demand so here goes….
In this post we’ll be looking at the move away from paper, or more specifically, taking a closer look at the future of ‘Digital Setting Out’. What better way to start than with two fitting quotes, one is from 50 years ago, the other I heard just recently!
“The most dangerous phrase in the language is: ‘We’ve always done it this way’.”
Grace Hopper, American computer scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral. (Computer World, 1976)
“Do it once, do it right and your other issues will go away.”
We get it. Changing from what you’ve always done can be scary, but when we have such feature rich constructible models using our state-of-the-art software in the office, why, when we attend sites, do our site operatives work from GA plans printed on A0 paper?