Our virtual jobsite experience using OpenSpace

Posted by Skyline Construction on Jun 26, 2020 10:27:58 AM

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It’s no secret that the construction industry has carried a reputation for being antiquated and behind the times with new technology. It’s time to dismantle that stereotype. For years, Skyline has actively invested in the tools to streamline jobsites and provide the best client experience. We focus on hiring staff with diverse perspectives, and make it a priority to invest in technologies that make our business run efficiently.

While COVID-19 has presented new challenges to our industry, having a running start on the latest technology allows our teams to seamlessly work on projects from remote locations. One of the most useful technologies we use is OpenSpace. Amid concerns regarding exposure and social distancing, OpenSpace provides a virtual platform to conduct job walks and involve multiple stakeholders while keeping everyone in-tune with the progress of the project from remote locations.

Our in-house technology training team worked side by side with OpenSpace long before Shelter-in-Place (SIP) began, developing best practices for our teams. When we needed to temporarily step away from the jobsite due to SIP orders, our partnership with OpenSpace allowed us to keep projects running smoothly and on-time while giving great visibility to our clients and project partners. OpenSpace has reported a surge in business over the past few months; having this tool already weaved into our process allowed us to skip the start up, training and implementation and transition into our “new normal” with ease.

 

WHAT IS OPENSPACE & HOW DOES IT WORK? 

OpenSpace is a virtual jobwalk platform that captures the site and maps images to project plans automatically. A 360 degree camera is mounted to the top of a hardhat and a member of our team walks the site. It turns construction field notes and raw video data into a complete, easy-to navigate video walk-through of the jobsite. Images are automatically time-stamped, mapped to floor plans, and made searchable, so it’s easy to see side-by-side comparisons of specific areas over time. The software creates a browser based virtual jobsite (accessible via mobile or desktop) that gives our project partners total site transparency and allows them to follow the progress of their space at any point in time through an interactive, easy to use platform.

Skyline project teams report that the software saves them at least an hour per day using OpenSpace compared to the traditional method, which involved a time-consuming manual task of taking photos, uploading, naming and mapping each photo onto project plans and distributing to the right parties. The software allows the team to create detailed reports with the click of a button.

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HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT OUR CLIENTS?

OpenSpace has transformed the way we document jobsites and has proven to be a great asset to us, our clients and project partners. Here are a few of the tangible benefits we have seen:

 

KEEPING PROJECTS ON TIME DURING SHELTER IN PLACE

When stay at home orders went into effect and jobsites were temporarily shut down, our teams continued working on projects remotely. Because many of our jobsites utilize OpenSpace, we kept projects on track using the most recent captures of their site to conduct pricing exercises, site surveys and material procurement.

 

VIRTUAL MEETINGS = SAFER + REDUCED TRAVEL COSTS

OpenSpace’s virtual walkthroughs reduce or eliminate the need for in-person site visits, reducing risk and exposure to COVID-19 on the jobsite. Virtual walkthroughs also provide insight into progress for anyone not geographically located near the project itself. Our team also utilizes OpenSpace jobwalks during the bidding process, allowing us to get subcontractors involved early without the need for additional people onsite.

 

PREVENT COSTLY REWORK

Image data keeps teams aligned and identifies issues early. OpenSpace enables field teams to thoroughly capture the project to provide a single source of ground truth, avoiding expensive change orders and disputes. The software allows stakeholders the convenience of viewing what they want, when they want. 

The 360 degree documentation gives a full picture of the entire site from ceiling to floors and eliminates static progress photos. This expanded view catches areas and items that standard progress photos may miss, which can solve unanticipated problems before they arise. The software has allowed us to preemptively solve issues that typically would not have been seen until a final punch walk.

 

INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY & REDUCED RISK

Construction moves fast and questions often arise. OpenSpace provides a layer of accountability by giving users and clients a time-stamped visual of jobsite conditions, keeping everyone accountable for their performance on-site. In turn, this helps prevent budget overruns due to rework and change orders, and allows us to better control risk and liability. This ensures the best quality during and after construction for the life of the space. It also allows subcontractors to validate concealed work without opening walls, slabs, or ceilings. By documenting the site completely, subcontractors are able to do in-wall inspections from anywhere, and verify work without time consuming and expensive destructive verification.

 


 

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all that being proactive pays off and you can never be too prepared. Our partnership with OpenSpace has allowed us to continue delivering our best while keeping communication with project partners productive and transparent. We are constantly evolving and looking forward to the future of our industry.

 

To view our work, visit https://www.skylineconstruction.build/work

To learn more about OpenSpace, visit here

Topics: COVID-19, jobsite

Continuously Improving COVID-19 Work Plans to Save on Costs

Posted by Tim Lally on Jun 15, 2020 10:48:41 PM
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Jobsite set-up and construction activities in the field have changed significantly as a result of COVID-19.  With projects underway across the country, our construction think tank is continuously evaluating and implementing the most efficient ways to manage safe jobsites. In turn, all Skyline jobsites are utilizing these best practices and standard implementation methods consistently. This eliminates delays created by cumbersome protocols, streamlines subcontractor’s ability to access jobsites and perform work, and ultimately results in time and money saved for clients. 

Below we uncover a few of the top COVID-19 challenges faced on construction jobsites industry-wide, along with a variety of creative and innovative solutions to overcome these obstacles using LEAN principals.

 

#1 CHALLENGE: 
Bottlenecks created by manual check-in processes

The construction industry has traditionally lagged behind other industries in its implementation of technology, especially when it involves tradespeople in the field. Manual, hand-entry processes will slow the process and are now seen as unhygienic as a result of shared pencils, pens, paper and supplies.

SOLUTION:
Collaborate over technology

Construction has always been a collaborative process, but the use of technology can streamline communication, eliminate waste and create wonderful efficiencies on and off the jobsite. Here are some recommended ways to use technology to stay safe and collaborative, while not over-complicating the process.Tablet

  • Use a digital sign-in
    Host your daily health check questionnaire online using apps, online forms, or a fillable PDF to seamlessly gain access to jobsites. This also eliminates the need for communal paper and pens. Check out Meridian personal management, a new seamless entry option that takes temperatures and assesses important info before entering a space. 

  • Digitally reviewing plans and schedules
    Gone are the days of 5 or 6 people huddling around a set of construction plans. Now tradespeople can use Procore or any other cloud based project management software to review all construction documentation in one place in real time.

  • Virtual jobwalks
    Use OpenSpace, Holobuilder, Matterport or any other video and image based software to document daily jobsite progress. This limits exposure on-site and also encourages coordination between all parties.

 

 

#2 CHALLENGE:
Maintaining social distancing in elevators causes major delays

This is arguably the toughest hurdle to maneuver while adhering to social distancing. In high rise buildings with limited freight elevators, getting crews and materials on-site has taken some general contractors upwards of two hours depending on the size of the project and the number of other projects running concurrently in the building.  The average freight elevator wait time should be minimal subcontractors will begin charging for in-efficiency.

SOLUTION:
Modify process

  • Staggered work shifts
    This involves trades beginning and ending work at varying intervals to limit bottlenecks at check-in which can include completing a daily health questionnaire, temperature readings (not required but often requested by clients) and elevator wait times.

  • Additional elevator use
    When possible, work with building management to obtain access to tenant elevator use during pre-scheduled non-peak business hour time frames.

  • Stairway access
    Work with the building to obtain staircase access as an additional method for building entry and exit. Workers will often opt to take the stairs over elevators if offered.

  • Dividing barriers within the elevator
    As a creative solution for narrow elevators, try installing a divider curtain within the elevators as illustrated below. This allows the elevator capacity to double while creating safe separation.

Compliance enforcement 
A level of enforcement of elevator rules is necessary for all visitors. Work with the building management team to hire additional security as needed.


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Divider

 

 

#3 CHALLENGE:
Sequencing trades to comply with social distancing guidelines

It is no longer realistic to schedule multiple trades working in small spaces concurrently, or to cram 8-10 tradespeople in one conference room to work at once.  With social distancing requirements, scheduling of trades and logistics plans for the jobsites need to be reviewed in great detail and adjusted to keep all parties safe and in compliance.

SOLUTION:
Modify your logistics plan

Similar to staggering start time shifts by trade, it’s important to modify logistics plans to avoid crossover of trades and overcrowding in small areas. Divide each floor into quadrants and sequence work within those quadrants, creating “micro schedules” for each. Creating micro schedules also sets expectations and deadlines to optimize productivity. This strategy is important for jobs over 20,000 sq. ft. where a larger amount of workers are on-site.  Large jobsites will designate floor marking of safe zones for lunches and breaks, a path of travel throughout the jobsite, and 6ft markers to maintain proper distance. 

 

Staying creative and nimble is the best way to navigate these uncertain times. We have seen some great ideas in these past few weeks including Plexi-glass cutouts to protect each party during check in to scan temperatures quickly and safely. Hanging signage from the ceiling when no walls exist and demarking designated lunch areas on the ground before finishes go in to direct workers onsite. Our goal is to maintain productivity as best as possible amidst these added protocols, thinking outside of the box to mitigate the risk of additional cost to our clients and sharing our lessons learned with the industry to pool collective solutions within our community.

 

 

 

Topics: COVID-19, safety, jobsite, touchless