Increasing Construction Layout Accuracy By Means of Coordinated Real Time BIM Models
Marc Howe posted on June 12, 2017 |

Autodesk’s BIM 360 Layout promises to enhance the construction layout process by providing contractors access to coordinated real-time point models in the field via their cloud-connected smart devices.

The software permits users to upload models with layout points directly onto their iPads from other Autodesk offerings, such as AutoCAD, Revit and Navisworks. It then improves the accuracy and efficiency of construction layout tasks by connecting these iPads to a total station, then making it easier to locate and verify point locations on the building site itself.

Cloud connectivity ensures that the coordinated models are kept both up-to-date and accessible for all project team members during the process of layout in the field, ensuring accuracy and the avoidance of errors.

The software provides real-time model navigation for performing a range of project functions, including layout, quality assurance and control, and as built-collection on the job site. 

The software expands the benefits of BIM from the architectures and engineers who create designs in the office to the contractors who actually make projects a physical reality in the field.

Ondrei Poliak, Virtual Construction Manager for Edmonton-headquartered PCL Construction, said that the software is especially beneficial for the design-build process. “Design-build really lends itself well to implementing this technology…we can manage model files and put them in the field so these guys can be more efficient and more effective.”

According to Chris Tiritas, Virtual Construction Engineer, PCL Construction, the ability to access fully updated model information enables them to avoid costly mistakes that were a frequent enough occurrence in the past. “In the past we had issues where the field had information that was a day old, and that information is no longer correct…sleeves were put in wrong, or in-beds were not laid out incorrectly.

Cloud-based connectivity means that updating models is a two-way process that involves contractors amending data while on site in addition to receiving it from the office. 

“This tool has simplified how to layout points, and how to get information from the field back into the office, as easy as it is to get from the office out into the field.”

By avoiding these problems, contractors can save time and money on error identification and rework. 

“We’re now able to catch all that data in one source of information using the current tools that exist,” said Poliak. “We’re able to insert points in families and just blow through it – what would have possibly taken a week we’re able to do in a matter of hours.”

BIM 360 Layout is part of the BIM 360 construction management package, which Autodesk is promoting as a full suite of cloud-connected tools that can be used at any time or location during the lifecycle of a building project.  It sits alongside a slew of other software applications that fall under the BIM 360 penumbra, including BIM 360 Docs, BIM 360 Field, BIM 360 Glue and BIM 360 Plan.

Using the software is simple: download the BIM 360 Layout app onto an iPad, and connect it to a total station. Autodesk is currently providing users with both free and paid pricing tiers for the product. The starting price for the fee-based tier is $29 per user per month.

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