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When GA Smart Building began the work on the Batiment H Office building in Toulouse, France, the company decided to deploy its FullBIM process together with Trimble® Connect mixed-reality technology to ensure high-quality results and early project delivery. Seven months later, the award-winning project is almost complete and the technology will now be used to support the facility management stage.

Overview

Designed by CDA Architects, GA Smart Building’s Batiment H office building is a 3,300 square meter structure located at the Parc de la Plaine, Toulouse, France. The structural and facade elements were prefabricated in the nearby factory of the GA group, and then transported and assembled on site. The high-end building specs include individualized heat pumps, integrated motorized blinds, dimmable "low consumption" lighting system with occupancy detectors, and a new air handling module controlled by GA Gapeo, a computer-based energy performance management system. Using GA’s state-of-the-art FullBIM approach and Trimble Connect mixed-reality technology, the building illustrates GA's leadership role and innovative approach in the construction industry. 

 

Batiment H office building at the Parc de la Plaine, Toulouse, France. Courtesy of GA Smart Building

 

Challenge

Quality is one of the most critical factors in the success of a construction project (Ashokkumar, 2014, p. 36). Late identification of quality issues often result in schedule delays, cost overruns and negatively impact customer satisfaction. The capital cost of quality in construction projects may soar as high as 20 percent of a project cost, and the estimated cost of rework due to quality issues in the U.S. construction industry alone is about $62 billion in direct cost of rework (Barlow, 2009). Existing on-site quality control processes involve retrieval and interpretation of 2D documents, a time-consuming and error prone workflow, which requires highly skilled workforce. BIM technology and detailed 3D models help improve quality control during the design stage, but despite the availability of 3D data, on-site utilization remains limited, and users are challenged by the need to relate 3D models presented on a 2D screen to the physical environment.

 

Solution

GA Smart Buildings’ home-grown FullBIM program provides project stakeholders highly detailed BIM level II models. To make the most out of BIM, the GA team was looking for technology that would support effective on-site usage and eliminate the need for subjective error-prone interpretation. Trimble Connect – a project collaboration platform – with its mixed-reality module for Microsoft HoloLens provided the required functionality. GA teamed with Trimble and became the first construction company in France to deploy the solution. Working with Gehry Technology – a Trimble company specialized in AEC related professional services – the GA team developed mixed reality based workflows focusing on on-site quality control and remote collaboration. The primary goals were to improve the efficiency of the on-site quality control process and achieve early building commissioning. Special attention was given to quality control of MEP systems and cast in place concrete. .

Trimble Connect for HoloLens enables us to go beyond the constraints of a 2D screen. Superimposing the digital model on the physical environment provided a clear understanding of the relations between the 3D design model and the actual work on side.

-- Olivier Pellegrin, BIM Manager, GA

 

Results

Visualizing BIM models superimposed on the physical environment enabled quick identification of design-to-build discrepancies, correct positioning of technical equipment and near real-time quality control. The GA team also reported that with real-3D at a 1:1 scale, mixed reality enabled an accelerated in-context decision-making process and improved communication between stakeholders. As part of the cast-in-place process, GA used mixed reality to compare Tekla Structures rebar models with on-site work to control the accurate positioning of anchors. This enhanced workflow provided the team valuable information about any deviation from the original design. The on-site findings were immediately shared with the engineering and production teams for potential adjustment of ironwork design prior to the prefab manufacturing, preventing schedule delays, cost overruns, and quality issues. Similarly, GA utilized mixed reality for supporting the MEP systems installation. Visualizing the MEP models superimposed on the physical space helped validate the position of ducts and air terminals before they were installed. Discrepancies from the design or conflicts with other systems components such as the structural elements were identified and communicated to the engineering team, shortening the design iteration cycle. Beyond visual inspection, the Trimble Connect platform provided the team a location-based task list, presenting model mark-ups aligned to the physical world and ensuring that reported issues are being processed and reviewed in context. The shared experience provided by the collocated and remote collaboration features helped to facilitate efficient group discussion between on-site team members and remote experts, saving travel time and shortening the decision iteration cycle.

 

Using Trimble Connect mixed reality for near real-time quality control, the on-site team identified and resolve potential issues avoiding significant schedule delays and cost overruns.

-- Rémi Visiere, Head of R&D and Innovation, GA

 

Mixed reality visualization of the project using Trimble Connect and Microsoft HoloLens. Courtesy of GA Smart Building

 

On-site use of mixed reality for quality control of MEP installation. The Microsoft HoloLens wearer view is streamed to the tablet screen. Courtesy of GA Smart Building

 

Conclusions and Future Plans

Though more to be explored it is clear that mixed-reality technology transforms the way project teams consume, interact, and communicate information. Trimble Connect mixed-reality technology enables an efficient way to educate on-site teams about the task they need to perform and provides instantaneous feedback about the output. The visual in-context quality control improves product quality, shorten schedule and reduce cost by decreasing the amount of rework. GA Smart Building plans to expand the use of mixed-reality technology to additional projects and to support additional workflows such as on-site assembly assistance, progress tracking using 4D models and asset management.

 

Bibliography:

Ashokkumar, D. (2014) ‘Study of Quality Management in Construction Industry.’ International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering, and Technology, 3(1): pp. 36-43

Barlow, P. Cost of Quality in Construction Industry (2009). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&conte...