Bringing BIM onto the Building Site by Means of the Cloud
Marc Howe posted on June 08, 2017 |

Autodesk’s BIM 360 Field is field management software that gives builders access to critical project data while onsite by means of cloud-connected mobile devices. It can enhance the management of systems and equipment by permitting the collection as well as usage of project data at the point of construction by means of mobile smart devices such as iPads. This data can include photos, operating and maintenance manuals, models and manufacturer cut sheets.

Not only does this form of mobile access save time and reduce rework, it also dramatically reduces the incidence of mishaps and errors and streamlines commissioning and handover.

The software can further improve project quality via the provision of user-friendly, customizable templates for tracking progress as well as pushpin markers for highlighting the precise location and nature of any issue that arises. It also enhances safety by providing more standardized, accurate and auditable procedures for the education of work teams and the management of jobsites.

accessing the software’s full-featured website via their cloud-connected iPads. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)
BIM 360 Field's full-featured website can be accessed through cloud-connected iPads. (Image courtesy of Autodesk.)

Construction workers and project managers can use BIM 360 Field by accessing the software’s full-featured website via their cloud-connected iPads. The website contains all the information and data on the project, which users can download onto their iPads as needed and take onto jobsites, where it can be used in a disconnected mode for field management activities. The project data contained in the iPad can then be uploaded back to the website at a subsequent time for the synchronization of any amendments or updates.

Autodesk is far from the only software developer striving to bring access to project data to jobsites by means of cloud-connected mobile devices. Australia’s GRAPHISOFT lets users access ARCHICAD by means of its BIMcloud workflow, while Vectorworks permits the automatic storage and synchronization of project documents to the cloud by means of its Vectorworks Cloud Services.

Building companies are already seeing the demonstrable benefits of using cloud-connected management software to implement lean construction planning. For example, Nebraska’s MCL Construction is using BIM 360 Field to enhance jobsite productivity, improve project quality and reduce rework.

“[It] allows us to take the information gathered on our jobsite and translate it into usable data that we can share with all of our collaborators, whether that be the architect, the owner or the subcontractor,” said Tim Tiensvold, Director of BIM Operations at MCL Construction. “We use it for reporting and for manpower tracking. It just allows us to manage our site better.”

In addition to abetting management and planning during the construction phase, the software also provides major benefits for owners once the project is built and operation commences.

“We gather a bunch of information from all of our subcontractors during the construction process,” said Tiensvold. “We then hand that information over to the owner at closeout, and it helps with the facilities management side of their business.”

BIM 360 Field is part of the BIM 360 construction management package that 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 Glue, BIM 360 Layout and BIM 360 Plan.

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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