By Robert (Bobby) Smith and Maura Shannon
Have you ever watched those real estate shows that let clients view their future home in a 3D schematic or a 360° virtual tour? New software platforms like these have changed the game for real estate development, sales and interior design.
Take this technology a step further. What if 4K quality photography and 3D videos are used during construction? It would revolutionize construction management and job site management as we know it.
Well, that time is now.
In 2022, HBW Construction adopted a 3D schematic and virtual tour software platform. With Matterport, our team can go on site and collect video and photography during all phases of construction. We can use the technology for a variety of communications.
When projects run into constructability issues, our superintendents can use these high-quality tools to communicate with the architect or engineering teams. By viewing the real-time virtual space rather than responding to a standard RFI, design or engineering professionals can devise alternatives faster or get a jump on redesigns and new blueprint approvals. Factoring in travel scheduling and team collaboration, the same solutions without 3D video or 4K images could take several days or even weeks.
But there’s more. Subcontractors can plan better for site conditions and equipment needs. They can “see” ceiling heights, the amount of natural light and access points (or measure the width of doors and hallways) in the virtual environment before getting onsite. This helps our subcontractors proactively communicate with scheduled crews. Scope of work changes can be priced much faster by eliminating physical site visits.
Primary benefits of this solution can include:
These days, project partners and owners may all be located in different cities. Physical distance used to make progress updates, troubleshooting and approvals more complex. With 4K images and 360° virtual tours, owners can see the same environment as their project team at any phase of the project. This option supports effective and timely communication.
When they can zoom in and out or virtually measure a space, they can more quickly assess and respond to solutions offered by the project team — which keeps the project moving forward.
We use these tools according to the preferences of our customers and project partners. Owners or designers still want to visit the site in person and experience the space with all of their senses. And sometimes engineers have to be on site for complex reengineering. Inspections and final walk-throughs are still conducted in person, too.
However, this technology does create efficiencies in the construction project schedule. Real-time images also support quality control and owner satisfaction throughout the project.
If there is a way to do something better through new technologies, we are open to trying it and enhancing HBW Construction’s toolkit. To learn more about our approach to job site management and construction management, see our services.
Bobby Smith is a Senior Superintendent at HBW who uses 3D tour links and 4K images to communicate constructability issues with project partners. He can also provide virtual tour access as part of owner progress updates. Maura Shannon is HBW’s marketing associate who travels to job sites collecting real-time video footage and photos for a variety of communications.