The Future of Building Through Virtual Design
By: Harkins Virtual Design & Construction Engineer Patrick Scarpati
After an unsettling period in the construction industry, one thing has remained constant: the emerging acceptance and usage of technology. Harkins has always been a proponent of utilizing technical tools such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), virtual reality, and drones to assist in project collaboration, both internally and externally. We believe that technology provides our project teams, owners, architects, engineers, and trade partners the insight to communicate and plan more efficiently. According to a survey performed by Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and FMI Corporation, 58% of construction professionals expect to see technology-driven changes that will drive the success of their organization in the next five years.
Trending technology is nothing new. In fact, BIM made its way onto the scene in the late 1970s, and although it was cumbersome and expensive at first, it began to transform the industry’s perspective about project planning. Today, Harkins benefits from BIM through utilizing its cloud-based process with all team members in the Project Controls Department. The tool allows us to coordinate the model to enable unparalleled visibility between disciplines. Everyone can work from the same model with the same data, quickly identify and resolve problems, and work through those problems virtually. Imagine detecting a clash with a pipe or wall before anyone steps onto the jobsite, simulating schedules, planning site logistics, or using the latest technology to review for constructability. The possibilities are endless. With new technology workflows and capabilities provided by BIM, the ultimate payoff happens during construction, with increased cost savings, safety compliance, better quality, prefabrication, and improved scheduling.
At its core, technology is only as good as the team behind it, and ours not only brings the technical acumen, but field experience as well. By having both trained and knowledgeable employees, our team can see the true value of combining the old way of doing things with the next generation of virtual technology. There is a power to the combination of expertise that enhances mutual understanding and communication. Simply put, utilizing BIM or drone technology would not be where it is today without our internal team and partners involved to engage, adopt, and champion this new way of looking at a project. In the end, technology is a tool that bridges different opinions so we can have better coordination, collaboration, and communication. This streamlined approach provides opportunities for higher quality design and construction as well as greater insights for everyone involved, all while mitigating risk and increasing client satisfaction.