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A Guide to Digital Twins for Construction Project Managers

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Digital twins can capture a wealth of real-time information to improve cadence and fidelity.

Understanding the practical value of digital twins

It's widely accepted that digital twins will transform the construction industry, but for those focused on managing manual processes, their value may still be unclear. The construction phase is highly dynamic and largely analog—the work is mostly performed, supervised, and scheduled manually. This used to mean that accurate manual work data was unavailable in real time, but the rise of mobile scanning and sensors has greatly expanded what kinds of data can be captured. It's now possible to create a digital twin that displays current manual process data and as-built specifications, reflecting the daily reality of the project.

It's now possible to create a digital twin that displays current manual process data and as-built specifications, reflecting the daily reality of the project.

Capture real-time data

Work sites are busy and complex, the nexus of many processes, priorities, and service providers. On-site data gathering must be mobile, flexible, and easy to adopt.

BuiltSpace is a seamless solution for on-site data collection and analysis, providing real-time, as-built documentation from customizable points of service. The technology uses assets that already exist-mobile phones, workers, suppliers, existing sensors-to deliver process and service data. Durable BuiltSpace labels are placed at points of service throughout the site and scanned by workers on a user-friendly mobile app.

Easy installation and customizability open up possibilities for measurement, testing, and tweaking. The BuiltSpace app also supports coordinated complex work sequencing for scheduling field installation, logistics, commissioning and verification.

Optimize cadences

McKinsey suggests that “on-site productivity can be increased by as much as 50 percent by implementing a cloud-based control tower that rapidly assembles accurate data in near real time that is both backward-looking and predictive.” Some of those gains come from improving the construction cadence. With clear visibility into as-built progress, tempo can be increased with full confidence that deliverables are being met.

For example, sensors that measure concrete curing can promote faster pouring. BuiltSpace can capture not only that curing data, but also concrete delivery times, as-built mix specification, pour times, and more—a wealth of information to support cadence optimization.

Improve fidelity

Faithful replication of the design in the physical building is important, but faithfully creating as-built digital twins may be even more critical to asset value and operational efficiency. BIMs provide information on initial design and specs and project management tools can measure delays, but neither can capture—or react—to what is actually happening on-site.

Builtspace gathers data from the field installation and commissioning processes, providing clear documentation of what is being built. Accurate information can flow throughout the project, decreasing rework. Costing information, scheduling, and other task constraints and dependencies are also captured in a BuiltSpace digital twin, allowing users to predict the financial impact of clashes. Data can be easily shared or flowed into other programs.

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Data on process efficiency, vendor performance, and countless other metrics can improve the modeling of future projects.

Gain far-reaching insights

BuiltSpace makes it easy to create two buildings at once: one physical, one digital, both valuable. The digital building-a body of data on services, processes, and as-built specifications-is highly relevant during the project, but it’s also a post-project learning tool that can support cost accountability and change management. Data on process efficiency, vendor performance, and countless other metrics can improve the modeling of future projects.

Digital twins are also highly valued by building owners, who can use the data to inform operations, maintenance and repairs, and future renovations. Handing off a BuiltSpace digital twin at the end of a project demonstrates a commitment to transparency and accountability, a key factor in securing future work.

BuiltSpace tracks over 1.8 million services in 25,000 buildings worldwide. If you’re interested in learning more about BuiltSpace, visit us online.

BuiltSpace understands that digital twin technology needs to work across the entire AEC industry to be effective and we are commited to developing a simple, elegent solution that addresses the needs of each member of the community. Please feel free to download or forward any of our custom guides.

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