13 May 2022
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Building a smart and digitized industry

As the old saying goes, what gets measured can be managed. And in today’s rapid race to be future-ready, harnessing data in both the private and public sector is digitizing the construction industry forever.

If we are to ride the wave of change into the future, we must avoid the ‘tech wash’ and instead apply technology solutions while using less energy and resources to do so. We look beyond to discover who’s driving change, and what’s behind it.

1. Human habitat resilience

Picture: Cundall | ISG, UOW, Kowloon City Campus-012 (1)

 

Picture: Cundall | Perth Airport

Global advisory and multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, wants to ensure people understand the main technologies by showcasing examples of how small smart changes have led to major building performance and user experience benefits.

For example, the consultancy worked with the University of Wollongong to open a new 30,000sqft campus in Hong Kong. Innovative solutions in line with new Covid requirements include touchless sensors for toilets and doors, UV sterilisers in the fresh air ventilation system and live streaming and recording systems, all used in integration with other IT/AV systems to enable agile remote teaching and learning options.

“This involved hosting numerous workshops and presentations to monitor our progress and to log any risk items. These collaborative processes enabled our teams to meet our clients’ ambitions by designing and implementing innovative solutions,” Cundall’s Joe Tang says.

And at Perth Airport, Cundall introduced a prototype location for an advanced, high-technology approach to border control and enhanced passenger experience – Seamless Traveller. It’s the next generation of contactless passenger SmartGates and biometric border control processes, enabling Australian Border Force and airport security to utilise facial recognition technology to ensure persons of interest are directed to an appropriate location for interview while allowing low-risk passengers to efficiently pass through without queuing.

“Engaging in cross-disciplinary innovation to deliver something entirely game changing is the type of challenge we relish as engineers,” Cundall’s Mohammad Ali says.

2. Digital specification made easy

Picture: NBS

NBS is helping more than 300 architects and engineers switch from paper and desktops to a digital system with its online construction specification, NBS Chorus. Using cloud-based platforms, Chorus integrates BIM models and specifications, allowing multiple users to collaborate in real-time from anywhere. It’s also compatible with models created in industry-standard apps including Autodesk Revit, Vectorworks or Graphisoft Archicad.

“Inaccurate specs can be a thing of the past,” XX says. “Chorus is constantly updated, so that specifications are based on accurate, rather than outdated information.”

Chorus can also be integrated with another NBS product, NBS Source, where users can find the right products for projects without searching for hours. It’s also a free to use, cloud-based, single source tool for product information.

“With the added facility to share their case studies, literature, digital objects, and certification details, this has been a welcome introduction for the industry, as it strives to shift towards safer and more efficient ways of working,” XX says.

Taking specification even further, NBS has just launched a new content set called SureSpec. This is its most comprehensive content set, because it utilises the NCS codes is fully compliant with the NCC, making it suitable for residential up to small scale commercial projects.

“It will be especially beneficial to practices working on government projects where NCS codes are mandated,” XX says.

3. Intelligent sensors in service provision

Picture: Daelibs

Just because a building is technology packed it doesn’t necessarily make the experience special, according to Daelibs’ managing director, Michael Jones.

“Little focus is typically placed on soft services during the design/construction phases of commercial building,” he says.

Daelibs’ Workforce Guidance platform is focused on doing just that, without increasing the people power to deliver it. Instead, it automatically monitors building conditions using sensors and dispatches workorders when tolerances are exceeded, by applying rules-based logic.

“The Virtual Site Manager is like an AI traffic cop delivering work orders from the millions of datapoints being monitored,” Jones says. “It cuts out the noise that traditionally comes with managing service provision.”

Some of the most popular features of the platform include service kiosks to capture occupant sentiment, by simply pressing a button on the screen, as well as the ability to issue service requests via touch or voice, which were introduced during Covid to avoid the need to come into contact with the screen. The smart bathroom options are attracting a lot of attention too, closely followed by indoor asset tracking.

“We are also investing in integrating robotics along with augmented reality to immerse technology into service provision,” he says. “As robotics and third party connected technology evolves, buildings will need to provide a backbone for communications and integration into the building environment that’s standardised, robust and secure.”

4. A digital twin metaverse

Picture: Spiire | A static Digital Twin 3D model of one of Spiire’s projects, Pinnacle, Ballarat, Victoria

According to Belinda Hodkinson, Spiire’s principal, digital, the role of technology is now playing its part in the tourism industry.

“Specifically, we are using the virtual world of data and information to create an immersive experience that enables the public to connect with the region in a new way,” she says.

For example, Spiire is applying the use of digital across four regional Victorian towns, including adding virtual tourists, virtual marketing solutions for local business, augmented wayfinding around towns and attractions.

She says the gamechanger is the convergence of the technologies in ‘industry 4.0’ (i.e., big data, automation, IoT, etc.) and how that is now going to focus on outcomes for people in industry 5.0 (i.e., personalisation of technologies and data).

“Take the example of digital twins,” she says. “We like to look at it as though digital twins create the foundation for a metaverse, and the metaverse then enables us to create, test, and play in a more equitable virtual world, which in return helps us make better more informed decisions that will benefit individuals and communities in the real world.”

Specifically, Spiire has teams developing digital building twin strategies for water authorities, highlighting what she finds the most exciting development – the interconnected web of data transfer between digital twins and how it will be enabled through truth and automation (blockchain and machine learning).

“We see a world where all digital twins can transact between one another, selling and consuming data through AI automated processes and smart contracts activating the transactions,” Hodkinson says.

Article by Annie Reid

Both Daelibs and NBS will be exhibiting at our sister events DesignBUILD and Total Facilities. Plus, Belinda and Cundall representatives will be featuring in the free-to-attend education program as well as the Be Summit . Book your ticket here to ensure you connect with them in person this May!
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