Our Civil Group continues to seek out new ways to become more efficient and provide our clients with greater value on each project. One of Wayne Brothers’ core values is: to pioneer innovative solutions. One of the ways that the entire company has sought to live out that value is through an expanded use of virtual construction. Many people have heard of BIM programs or Building Information Modeling. And when most people hear that phrase or acronym, we thing of a 3D building or rebar cages in concrete columns. And while this is exactly what modeling can provide, what most people don’t realize is that modeling subsurface conditions, excavations and proposed pipe networks can be one of the most efficient ways of eliminating unknowns and potential delays to the critical path of projects.
For the last few years, WBI’s Civil Group has modeled our entire scope on projects. Not just the finish grades and hardscapes but the mass excavations laybacks and underground networks as well. Doing this allows us to build each project virtually before we ever stick the first bucket in the ground. With this process, we can not only understand potential conflicts but also better plan how to safely install our work. We can model access, necessary sloping or shoring and even sequence different segments of work, so that we always know which items are predecessors to others. All of this reduces rework and allows us to answer previously unforeseen questions prior to landing on site with an expensive workforce and fleet of equipment. This in turn reduces project schedules and turns over building pads and infrastructure networks quicker to our clients, who can’t gain value from their projects until they are completed.
As we move from the underground to grading the surface, we are able to utilize the same model to machine control grade to within a few hundredths of design contours. As mass dirt is moved and subgrades are leveled, progress and quality can be monitored by our drone survey system. By building a flight path and utilizing on site control, we can release an automated drone to fly, in accordance with FAA regulations, to topo and document the entire site’s conditions. This too, allows us to better document progress and turn over a finished product in a more timely manner, once again reducing the critical path of the projects that we serve.
As we look towards the future of civil and infrastructure construction, we are hopeful that the above are just building blocks to the larger goal of fully interactive sites, where autonomous equipment doesn’t just perform the work but also transmits real time information back to the stakeholders of each project. Many see this future as a threat to good jobs for our hardworking crews. But in reality, those same crews will have the ability to get more work done at a much more efficient rate, allowing everyone to earn an improved wage while advancing their careers. This is what excites us the most. Technology can be a great tool but without people who understand how to utilize it, it can be worthless. But with both, we can make huge gains towards our goal of Becoming the #1 Construction Services Team, while Building Together in Pursuit of Excellence.