Construction document control is the hot item right now with regards to industry technology. With several leading tech companies working tirelessly to convert all contractors from hard copy drawings to digital, the race is on to see who will emerge victorious. Not only are technology companies seeing opportunity in plan management, their also seeing opportunity with the new Windows platform. The Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops have given Apple products a run for their money recently for jobsite use, after jumping 20% in use in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to a new construction technology survey.
PlanGrid, an easy to use, web-based plan management and markup software, originally released a beta version for Windows back in March of 2016, but has now officially released the full version. Some of the features you’ll get with the new Windows version are multiple windows for side-by-side comparisons, an offline mode which will update your drawings when you regain internet access, and snap-to annotations for easy notes.
Aside from the Windows update, PlanGrid has also released several enhancements that users are sure to love. As of last week, the software now allows users to set their own issue date on sheets, so that they are in control of the order of their sheets in the revision history. No matter what order sheets are uploaded in, you can change the order to display the most recent version of a particular drawing first, which will ensure all trades are working off of the most current version. If you’re interested in learning more about this new feature, PlanGrid has scheduled a webinar to help users navigate the change on Wednesday, December 14th from 1:30pm to 2:30pm EST. You can register for the webinar for free by clicking here.
Another recent update for the software include an additional 4 colors for document markup, on top of the 8 colors they originally offered. That should help contractors using a specific coloring system for each trade.
Finally, PlanGrid also released an update to make as-built hand-off even easier. With the addition of hyperlinked as-builts, facility owners and operators can navigate their building’s drawings with ease, including manuals for equipment and warranty information. Not only should that make life easier for contractors, but it’s an added benefit to the owner. The hyperlinks will work on PDFs, even when PlanGrid isn’t being used.
If you’re unfamiliar with PlanGrid, the video below is a quick overview of the program:
There is an opportunity to revolutionize the way we protect construction workers from fall hazards while dramatically reducing waste and inefficiency in the construction industry. The Hilmerson Safety Rail System™ was designed and engineered with feedback from industry experts with one goal in mind: Reinvent the guardrail to eliminate inefficiencies, cut costs, send zero waste to landfills, and improve workplace safety.
FieldLens, a web based application available on both Android and iOs, allows for real-time documentation of safety hazards, job site notes, and punch lists. The app eliminates the need to re-type your notes or send separate emails to the correct people, because it can create instantaneous reports on all the information you typed in to your phone or tablet on the job site.
Recently, Fieldlens added three new features that the company says are requested often
The Netherlands has a ton of bridges, especially pedestrian and biking bridges, thanks to its abundant system of canals. Perhaps because of that, they have become a leader in 3D printing technology when it comes to bridges.
It seems like every month there’s a new robot being debuted for the construction industry, with the promise of reducing costs and improving productivity and safety. There are robots for laying brick and block, placing concrete, and even self-driving mining trucks. The most recent robot to hit the job site is Built Robotics’ Autonomous Track Loader (ATL).
Concrete is an extremely strong building material, but has a notoriously weak tensile strength. In order to resist tension, bending, and shear forces, steel rebar or other reinforcement materials are added either prior to the placement or into the mix. Even with reinforcement, concrete is still extremely rigid and prone to cracking. In the event of a major earthquake, the uneven and horizontal forces can cause structures to crack and, in the worst case, cause failure.
Concrete can adapt to any shape its formwork calls for while it’s being placed. While it’s POSSIBLE to make intricate designs with the material, it’s not always easy or practical to do so. Researchers from ETH Zurich have designed a new method of forming and placing an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof system that they plan on installing on a construction project next year.
The immense technological growth the construction industry has seen in the past decade has been a refreshing change, to say the least. Fax machines, large filing cabinets, and redundant work are slowly becoming a thing of the past. More importantly, software developers are actually paying attention to the construction industry, making our lives collectively easier, while giving us more data to make better decisions. Bluebeam, maker of one of the industry’s favorite construction document software, has recently announced a wireless digital sensor specifically for under construction buildings.
In July, we shared an article about a new augmented reality app that would allow iPhone and iPad users to use their devices’s camera as a tape measure. That app, Air Measure, is now available for download after Apple’s iOs 11 release.
As electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular around the world, researchers are trying to find ways to adapt the technology to heavier duty applications. Due to the large size of projects and amount of money in the industry, the mining industry has seen its fair share of technological advancement. Several manufacturers, like Komatsu, have developed and released driverless dump trucks for mining operations in the past few years. A team of companies in Switzerland is now working on a gigantic battery powered dump truck that will be tested for 10 years.
CAT, the name synonymous with heavy construction equipment across the world, has been slowly adding technology to its brand over the past year. Early last year, the company announced it would be releasing a rugged smart phone, which was also the first ever to have a built-in thermal imaging camera. This year, they’re releasing their first step into the world of tablets.