Tablets have been finding their way into construction Project Managers' hands for a while now. With applications like Bluebeam, ProCore, and PunchPro, the use of iPads and tablets have become more common place and necessary. Currently, many Project Managers have a laptop or desktop PC and then carry an iPad for punch list during site visits.
When Microsoft launched the Surface Pro series of tablet PCs back in late 2012, they began a new trend and a new future for construction project management. What makes the Surface Pro tablets great for construction managers is that it combines the power of a laptop and the portability of a tablet. When in the office, the Surface Pro can be paired with a docking station and run up to 2 additional monitors plus all of your other peripherals like a mouse and keyboard. When out on the job, the Surface Pro can be used just like any other tablet and can run full Windows applications, rather than the small mobile apps, thus allowing for more powerful punch list applications and documentation. With the Surface, there is no need for both a PC and a tablet, as they can be on in the same and can save money in the long run. Microsoft is expected to debut a new Surface Pro 4 in mid-October (people think it will be announced on 10/4 to be symbolic of Windows 10 and the Surface Pro 4). We've already anointed Windows 10 as the non-Windows tablet killer, because of it's ability to convert both Android and iOs apps to Windows with a click of a button and to bring drawings to life with the use of holograms
The Microsoft Surface Pro is great, but as with any great products there is always a competitor, and Lenovo has just announced the new Miix 700, which is due to be on shelves in November of this year. The Lenovo Miix 700 carries the same specs as the Surface tablet, but it does have a slower processor, which may cause performance issues (yet to be seen), but will increase battery life. The main thing that I want to point out about this tablet is that it comes with the option to include Intel's RealSense Camera. We have mentioned these cameras before in an article about Dells Venue 8 7000. This new Surface Pro clone from Lenovo with the RealSense camera included has the potential to be the best construction management computer on the market (even though construction is not their target audience). The Miix 700 has a starting price of $699, which includes the keyboard cover, and is set to release in November.
The Miix 700 includes all of the great features from the Surface Pro 3 and additionally includes the RealSense camera which uses multiple cameras on the back of the tablet to create a 3D image of whatever you are taking a picture of. This allows you to extract additional information from the pictures, most notably the ability to pull measurements from the pictures, after you leave the job site.
It is clear to see how this can be an invaluable tool when it comes to as-builts or even finding a measurement that you forgot to take when on a site visit. This tool is helpful for the Estimator and the Construction Manager. Additionally, the camera software allows you to measure surface area from a photo as well, which is a powerful tool to estimating concrete pours or the amount of material that needs to be ordered.
Below is a video review by PhoneDog, which shows you exactly how the RealSense camera works and how accurate it is. The tablet he's using is the Dell Venue 8 7000, which he admits does not have the best camera.
The Lenovo Miix 700 with all of these features is gearing up to be the computer that every Construction Manager needs to have.
Lenovo Miix 700 (Starting at $699) | Lenovo - Set to release in November
There’s no doubt that drones are the hot technology item for the construction industry. They allow you inspect your overall site more quickly, take aerial photos for marketing and documentation, measure tonnage and volume of on-site stockpiles, and even monitor employee productivity. Now, one company has designed a drone that can safely inspect structures for damage and detect cracks as small as .0039 inches wide (.1mm), when fitted with an HD camera.
One thing’s for sure about Milwaukee Tool, they aren’t satisfied with putting the same tools out year after year. They’re constantly improving age old classics and leading in the innovation of new tool solutions. Their latest announcement is a variation on their extremely popular line of M18 tools.
There’s no doubt that construction is one of the toughest jobs in the world, but there was a time when power tools and heavy construction machinery didn’t even exist. Even with those tools being absent on job sites, amazing structures were still built for thousands of years and with extremely intricate detail. SO how exactly did they do it? Tons of manpower and tons of time, something that many modern jobs don’t have the luxury of. Ignoring all of today’s modern conveniences, a group of French construction workers and other skilled tradesmen and women have teamed up to build an authentic 13th Century style castle.
Even though self-driving vehicles are just that, self-driving, they’ve always still had a seat for a driver and a steering wheel. Perhaps that means that designers were afraid that their technology wouldn’t work correctly. Or maybe, customers weren’t fully committed to only being able to use them as a self-driving vehicle. Well, it seems as if Komatsu isn’t worried about either of those things anymore, as they’ve officially unveiled their newest autonomous (self-driving) haulage vehicle this week at MINExpo, which was held in Las Vegas from September 26-28, 2016.
There’s no doubt that road work can be a huge inconvenience to drivers, but many times businesses in the route of the work can suffer more, even causing some to have to close permanently. While many projects around the country have been navigating towards pre-fabricated and modular construction to reduce the time workers actually spend on site, a project in Canada will be opting for the giant inflatable tunnel method.
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This 6-1/2” circular saw fits perfectly into the light duty category for circular saws. With the 4.0ah battery, 50 degree bevel, and 4000 rpm saw speed this model delivers performance comparable to many of the heavy duty saws on the market while still keeping a very reasonable price point.
Concrete, the construction industry’s building material of choice for hundreds of years, is an extremely tough and durable product. Being such a rigid product, concrete has inherently poor tensile strength, which is its ability to withstand being stretched, as opposed to compressing. This poor tensile strength leads to cracking, which eventually leads to failure. Scientists have been racing to discover the cure to concrete’s cracking problem for years, most notably Henk Jonkers’ bio-concrete, which uses microorganisms to “heal” cracked concrete.
The newest challengers to the material’s flexibility problem are a group of scientists from Nanyung Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. The team calls their product “ConFlexPave” and it not only bends under pressure, unlike concrete, it’s also thinner and maybe even stronger than its traditional brethren.
We have a lot of safety rules in construction and it’s practically impossible to monitor your job site for compliance of every single rule. To complicate matters, many rules are based upon exposure limits, especially when airborne particles are involved. OSHA recently reduced the allowable exposure limit of silica dust, which is found in concrete, stone, and brick, before additional PPE or engineering controls are required. This rule change has caused a lot of grief among construction industry groups, who called the rule technologically infeasible, because what contractor is really set up to measure when 50 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter of air is actually reached?
Twitter, the social media site that people seem to either love or hate, has made people more aware of their surroundings and can be a soundboard for controversy. For some companies, Twitter is used for a large part of their customer service program, responding to complaints within the 160 character limit. Now, it seems, contractors could potentially have a powerful watchdog looking over their shoulder, as long as the tweets land in the right hands.