When a team of engineers design a facility, whether it’s a treatment plant, clean room, or factory, the hope is always that what gets built is exactly what was designed. But making sure this is the case is another story.
Fortunately, now digital engineering allows engineers to work with surveyors, contractors, and facility owners to efficiently manage builds and make sure that what gets built matches building information models (BIM) – both now and in the future.
Defining Today’s Digital Engineering
Digital engineering in today’s landscape needs three crucial components to make sure building data is accurate across all team members and for the life of the build:
Once a build is underway, engineers need to physically check construction against design files, and the best way to do this is by creating a detailed 3D scan of the facility in progress.
Once an accurate physical model is created, point clouds can communicate this information to engineers so that they can compare the as-designed BIM against what’s actually getting built and create a new BIM model if any deviation is detected.
As construction continues, the new BIM model needs continuous updating, as it does throughout the life of the facility once it’s completed. When properly updated, the BIM model and Point Cloud can function as a digital twin, allowing facility owners and operators to monitor and maintain the facility remotely.
Common Challenges Engineers Face
Point Clouds and Large BIM Files
Since point clouds and BIM models represent complex 3D scans, they can be quite large. Still, this data needs to be shared with engineers to make comparisons to design files – and during a build, it needs to be updated often. Traditionally, this would mean packaging hard drives to be physically mailed to engineering firms, which takes time and introduces risk.
Even after the initial point cloud is received, updates might be tricky. Another drive could be sent, or surveyors could communicate to engineers what changes to make, introducing a major potential for error.
This is where JP Interactive Viewer comes in. Now, instead of mailing hard drives, surveyors can simply upload data to a shared interface in the cloud. Engineers can immediately access this data, compare the BIM model to designs, and create a digital twin. Surveyors can make updates in the same interface, and discrepancies can be pointed out by the software in real time.
Remote Facility Management and Quality Control
During the build, engineers need to keep tabs on progress, and contractors need to be able to communicate issues quickly. Sometimes, design specs may need to be changed on the fly, and surveys need to reflect this as well. For example, if contractors discover a natural barrier to a planned pipe run, what can they do?
In the past, they might have had to improvise, which could have design implications they weren’t aware of. With a central interface and good communication, construction only needs to halt long enough for engineers to make the right change. Contractors can access the changed design immediately, surveyors can update the point cloud in the interface, and engineers can reconcile the physical changes with the new design. JP Interactive Viewer is designed to make this kind of collaboration and agility available in the cloud at all times.
Team Communication, Collaboration, and Documentation
One of the major problems in any facility lifecycle, from construction to ongoing use, is communication and documentation. In many facilities, crucial data like maintenance records and inventory are kept in rudimentary spreadsheets on local computers, physical paper files, or even simply in the memories of long-time employees.
Not only is it hard to access this data, it’s often out of date, and in the latter case, if an employee leaves, crucial information is lost. JP Interactive Viewer keeps all critical documentation in one place, accessible by every team member with clearance, and connected to facility assets represented in the digital twin. So, there’s no need to dig through old file cabinets hoping to find the right records. Now, just navigate to the equipment in question and find out everything you need to know with a simple click.
Efficient Project Management
Facility construction is complicated and costly. Inefficiencies such as duplicate data, error prone communications, or inaccurate models can make it that much more time consuming and expensive. JP Interactive Viewer brings together all crucial players in a facility build by putting every piece of information in one place, remotely accessible via the cloud.
Facilities changes, BIM models, point clouds, as-is documentation, operational data, operational and business KPIs, maintenance and inspection plans – everything engineers and contractors need to keep a construction project on time and on budget, and everything owners need to keep a facility operating smoothly for the duration of its life.
If you’re ready to find out more about how JP Interactive Viewer can improve your facility project, contact us now for more information.