The use of Digital Twins During Construction
Updated: Jun 10
This blog post continues the theme of utilising digital twins throughout the various construction phases. The first post talked about digital twins during the pre-construction stage. This post will discuss the benefits of using digital twins during the on-site construction stage.
An initial scan once the main contractor has taken possession of the site. This digital twin can be used to aid with a conditional survey of the building. The model can be tagged to bring attention to specific elements. Text, images and/or PDFs can be attached to these Mattertags to provide more contextual information regarding defects identified.
The digital twin taken during site possession could also be used within the early stages of the project for site inductions and logistics planning. The digital twin can also be issued to subcontractors as they are tendering for internal works to provide a better understanding of the project and subsequently more accurate pricing.
Progress capturing and reporting
Progress reporting typically involves taking numerous photos, then renaming and sorting through those photos. Sometimes a single photo does not convey the entire context of a situation and other times areas that should have been photographed have been missed. Photos are then added into a document one by one with a narrative. A digital twin captures all areas for a full and complete account of progress achieved at a specific time.
The site can be captured at various key points during the construction stage or at arbitrary points where the works are 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% complete.
Mattertags can be used throughout the digital twin to bring attention to specific elements throughout the project such as areas where there remains outstanding information or where further input of a specialist from the design team is needed.
Multiple progress scans can then be overlaid in a timeline allowing the user to stand at any position within the digital twin and using a timeline, go back into the past to see what that specific area looked like within each of the previous progress scans.
See example below of a room within a digital twin taken at three different progress periods.
Some of our clients are not within the vicinity of the construction site, so the digital twin allows the client and design team to walk around the site at their own leisure and in their own time. The model can be explored and shared on a Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Google Meet video conference. The models can be explored using various devices without having to sign-up for accounts or install specific software.
Digital Operation and Maintenance Manuals
A digital twin captured at the right time can be used to record as-built information and to aid the building owner/facilities management company ensure the building is adequately maintained to retain warranties.
For use in O&M manuals, we would recommend scans be taken at these key points during the construction stage:
Completion of 1st fix mechanical and electrical services and just prior to the closure of internal walls and ceilings. This captures the location of concealed mechanical and electrical services within the walls and ceilings. This would be an invaluable reference post completion should further works be undertaken by the building owner. As-built mechanical and electrical drawings could be updated from this scan for inclusion within the O&M manual.
Completion of plastering and mist coating of walls and ceilings. This allows finishing trades to see the site. Whilst dimensions can be taken within the digital twin, these should always be verified by an on site dimension check prior to manufacture of any finishing materials.
Completion of the works will provide:
As-built information. Save time and site visits allowing CAD teams to finalise as-built drawings by viewing and taking measurements from within the model.
On boarding / induction of staff for the end client following practical completion for familiarisation.
The client can use the completed model to communicate with the insurance company to ensure accurate cover is in place for all contents of the property. Marketing.
The client can use the model to advertise and market the space. Combined with aerial drone photography that identifies local amenities such as transport links, shops and leisure facilities can help your listing stand out from the crowd.
You can obtain from the digital twin a url that when shared with another colleague will take you to a specific place and looking in a specific direction, so when problem solving or trying to draw attention to a specific element, the people you need input from can go straight to the area without having to navigate to the model.
Digital Twins - Streamlining Processes:
BIM models for Autodesk RevIt can be produced from the digital twin. Three variants are available, each variant offering more detail then previous versions. The three variants are: -
Architect - details walls, ceilings and floors
MEP - includes architect elements but includes mechanical and electrical services
FF&E - includes the architect and MEP elements but adds the furniture and equipment
Costs available on request. Prices are dependent on the total area of the scanned property.
BIM models produced from the digital twin are LOD200.
A Matterpack is available (an additional cost). This is a series of files that containing a low density colourised cloudpoint (.XYZ), high resolution floor plans and ceilings plans, multiple floor plans in JPEG, all floors in one file (PDF) and finally 3D mesh files (.OBJ) incl necessary texture map image files (.JPG)
Digital twins could also be used to sign-off works without the need of a physical presence on site by all parties.
All in all, digital twins can be extremely useful for construction projects of all sizes and types. If you would like a Digital Twin of your project, please get in touch. Our team will work with you to create a twin that is tailored specifically to your needs. Contact us here. We look forward to hearing from you soon!