3D Laser Scanning & the Point Cloud: Seeing Is Believing

February 9, 2017

Laser scanning technology cuts costs for wall panel manufacturing for existing buildings.

When it comes to technology in the construction industry, there's a new kid on the block: 3D laser scanning. This process creates digital images of existing structures and objects to build a 3-dimensional (3D) CAD (computer-aided drawing) model. The models provide accurate designs for modifications, renovations, and repairs to those structures and objects. 

The key to this technology is the "point cloud," which is created with a 3D laser scanner and consists of millions of data points to define the size, location, and shape of the space. The point cloud helps produce the 3D model of the space, providing precise and detailed specifications for design modifications.

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Modular Construction Is Green Construction

December 16, 2016

One compelling reason to consider modular construction is its positive effect on our environment. According to the Modular Building Institute, modular techniques are "inherently" green. Not only is it the right thing to do, but modular construction also translates into real cost savings. Here are some of the ways in which modular is "green."

Less Waste, Less Cost

Modular buildings can be re-configured and re-used at a different location. This capability reduces waste, landfill usage, and raw materials required at the new site. Thus, modular buildings are not demolished, but rather dismantled and reassembled to new specifications on existing or new work sites. 

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Modular Construction: Safer Materials, Safer Workers

November 17, 2016

Safety does not happen by accident. This axiom holds true at home, on the road, and on the job. Safety on job sites under construction is extremely important; quite literally, lives are at stake. Did you know projects using modular construction techniques may improve job site safety? The safety benefits of prefabricated materials are not well known, and you may be surprised by some reasons why this is true.

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Modular Construction for the Healthcare Industry

October 27, 2016

It's no coincidence that modular construction is becoming increasingly accepted as a viable building method. A recent survey of 800 Australian design and contracting professionals confirms that modular techniques result in shorter project schedules, lower budgets, and reduced construction waste.

Traditional construction presents multiple risks which are minimized or eliminated entirely by the modular concept, including deliverability, safety, supply chain inefficiencies, and productivity.

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More, Better, Faster—How a Construction Design Firm Really Delivers

September 20, 2016

Serving construction clients for more than 25 years, Excel Engineering has been doing just that—excelling. Cold-formed steel, and software that automates design, play key roles in Excel's success.

Founded in 1990, Wisconsin-based Excel is a full-service design firm with more than 140 professional architects, engineers, and associates. Employee owned, the company operates across the United States and provides services for $600 million of construction annually.

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How Modular Construction Saved 15% Over Traditional Methods: A Developer's View

August 16, 2016

f you could save 15% on your next project, how would you use it?

More developers are beginning to appreciate the potential cost savings of using modular construction. In Hempstead, N.Y., La Cyte Development and Clayton Homes used modular units to build a multifamily community and saved 15% of the project's costs vs. using traditional methods.

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Getting the Most Out of Off-Site Construction

July 21, 2016

I have been thinking lately about why prefabrication and modular construction ("off-site construction") has not caught on more within the construction industry. There are numerous benefits: cost savings, waste reduction, and improved efficiency to name a few. More specifically, Sue Klawans, Gilbane's director of operations excellence and planning said that "On major projects, at least 35% should be off-site or prefabricated…" yet only 3-5% of most construction projects are off-site.

This illustrates that construction industry as a whole is missing a great opportunity: much more can be done to realize the productivity gains that prefab and modular can offer. Here are my three tips for evaluating such an approach: 

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Modular Is the Future of School and Hotel Construction

June 14, 2016

Are you planning a construction project for a school or hotel? If so, you may want to consider going modular. Modular construction techniques have come a long way in the past few years, and schools and hotels, in particular, can benefit from the advancements. 

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Lesson Learned in Permanent Modular Constructions: 17 Case Studies

May 12, 2016

I've been reading the 2015 report on modular building case studies from The Modular Building Institute and The University of Utah's Integrated Technology in Architecture Center (ITAC). The report gives a glimpse into the details of 17 different modular projects, comparing their data with data from comparable conventional projects. Locations range from the United States and Canada to Europe and Australia.

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Why Modular Building Is Catching On

Apr 12, 2016

Modular building, already popular in Europe, is on the rise in the United States. If you're not already familiar with this method of construction, going modular means that you manufacture modules of a building off-site (in a factory), then transport these pre-fabricated units (sometimes called "boxes") to the building site. Then you assemble the building on-site. The process saves significant time, decreases material waste, and increases quality control, efficiency, and worker safety.

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Introducing Vertex BD 2016

February 3, 2016

We are excited to announce the launch of our new software, Vertex BD 2016. After listening to customers' concerns and keeping a close eye on industry trends, we have improved upon our old software with a number of changes and new features.

What does this mean for our users? You get the same reliable software as before, but with improvements that give you more options and make the software even easier to use.

So what exactly can you expect with the new Vertex BD?

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Building on Success: How One Construction Company Stays Ahead of the Production Curve

January 13, 2016

You don't have to work in the construction industry very long to hear stories of good companies that didn't survive economic turndowns or ones that got left behind because of technological advancements. So, it's a pleasure to share this tale—a true and happy one—that starts with a family tradition of successful business and of embracing new technologies. And ends—well, it actually hasn't ended at all.

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Why Ease of Use Matters for BIM: How an Easier Learning Curve Impacts Productivity

December 3, 2015

When you're considering what BIM software to buy for your company, what factors are most important to you? Cost? Functionality? What about ease of use? There's a reason ease of use tends to rank right up there with cost and functionality. People are looking for software that enables fast implementation, intuitive navigation, and a quick learning curve. The easier software is to use and learn, the more productive team members will be. Here are the factors to consider when selecting software for your company to ensure an easy learning curve:

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Off-site Construction is Here to Stay

October 27, 2015

Winter and the new year are slowly but surely approaching, meaning it's once again time to start thinking about the changes you want to make in the coming year. Personal resolutions aside, it might be a good idea to take a look at what changes can be made to your organization to make it more efficient and profitable. If you haven't already committed to off-site construction, that might be worth adding to your list. Here's why:

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How to Improve Construction Efficiency and Productivity

October 1, 2015

Are you looking for a way to improve productivity on your construction site? It may seem counterintuitive, but the way to do that is by incorporating off-site construction into your processes. 

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How Do I Get Started With Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

June 19, 2015

Business information model isn't the future. It's now. More governments and companies require using BIM for all construction projects. It's a permanent, growing trend - for good reason, as BIM does much more than CAD. Any company that wants to be around five years from today must use BIM or else.

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Why Ignoring BIM Is a Danger to Your Business

June 19, 2015

The General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. government agency responsible for the building and operation of American federal agencies, established the National 3D-4D-BIM program in 2003 to promote the use of these technologies in construction projects. It has also mandated new federal buildings use Building Information Modeling (BIM). 

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BIM's Unexpected Bonus: It's Looks Good In Green

May 26, 2015

Whether you're using cold-formed steel or wood construction, you're probably fielding more questions from clients about your green building practices. In fact, the US Green Building Council estimates between 40-48% of new, nonresidential construction in 2015 will be "green."  

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What Is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

April 21, 2015

You're most likely familiar with computer-aided design (CAD). This software allows engineers to design 2D and 3D drawings of every facet of a product. Building information modeling (BIM) is similar except the software helps plan, design, analyze and create digital drawings of a facility's structural and operational elements.

And it does much more.

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