Automated scan-to-BIM inspection delivers green construction in Sweden

Construction project in one of the trendiest neighbourhoods of Stockholm invests in automatic 3D scanning tech to track progress and detect construction deviations in real-time.

There is a lot going on in the heart of Södermalm, the trendy neighbourhood in south Stockholm. One of the most densely populated areas in Scandinavia, the region is considered by many as the creative hub in the city.

It is in this place, where charming cafés and art galleries share space with modern business offices, that the real estate company Vasakronan is developing one of the greenest buildings in Sweden.

The new building comprises 23,000 sq m spread over seven floors and has several ambitious goals. The design promotes integration with the surrounding area, including an active ground floor with restaurant and café, and the facade along the street level opens up so that activity in the house spills out on to the street, creating a new public open space. The building has several environmentally-friendly features.

The implementation of innovative technology solutions to ensure water efficiency, rational use of materials and resources and indoor air quality will give the new office building the Platinum level on the LEED certification – the greenest classification that a structure can get.

The tight schedule of the project is also quite bold. The teams plan to have everything ready by 2022 – not an easy task, given that the building will be located at Folkungagatan, one of the major and busiest streets in Stockholm.
Preventing delays

Byggstyrning, the construction consultancy firm in charge of managing the project, invested in cutting-edge technology to track fieldwork in real-time and reduce the chance of costly mistakes and material waste.

The solution comes from the neighbouring country, Norway. Byggstyrning has chosen Imerso’s software to capture the work status and check it automatically against the building plans. By using 3D scanning data, the platform benchmarks the onsite reality to the BIM plans and immediately catches any hidden problematic discrepancies.

Instead of the traditional methods of manual inspections and spot checks, which take days or even weeks, while leaving several issues hidden, the technology allows a faster examination of the jobsite and avoids subjective evaluations.

“With a short deadline, we needed to prefabricate the superstructure at the same time as we demolished and prepared the site for assembly.

“But due to the complexity with existing building structure around the two ground floors, with tight margins to the new building, we were worried that problems would happen when the prefabricated elements arrive, stopping the whole project”, explains Johannes Ris, CTO at Byggstyrning.

To avoid setbacks, Ris contacted Imerso and started to scan the jobsite nearly every week. The investment paid off. Using Imerso, the team is able to identify problematic areas and fix issues before they had the prefabricated elements arriving at the site. For example, using the platform data the team was able to adjust prefab elements offsite before these were sent to the construction site while correcting misplaced onsite elements to ensure a frictionless fit.

This way, the construction team is able to place prefabricated elements without hassle – making sure Byggstyrning kept the schedule and avoiding material waste. Right now, 40 people are working on building the structure but in one year, at peak times, around 200 people are expected to be working at the site.

“As a result, we had a clear understanding of problem areas that we needed to fix. Because we had identified the issues in an early stage, we could also plan and order things we now knew that we would need. It saved a lot of time and cost in making sure production kept flowing”, says Ris.

Detecting future problems

With this 3D copy of the construction site accessible online, all people engaged in the project can navigate the virtual jobsite together remotely to get many eyes and comments on potential issues as early as possible. Discrepancies between the onsite reality and the building plans get corrected on the spot or can be quickly updated in the BIM models to ensure correct as-built documentation. The team can also take measurements, screenshots and prepare upcoming work packages from their browser in a collaborative workflow.

“In the past, only CAD engineers could really understand and analyse point clouds to detect future problems. But now we have a fast and easy solution available to check reality against BIM. People onsite don’t need any knowledge of complex engineering CAD software to run the Imerso software. It is a tool for everyone,” says Ris.

The collaboration has been ongoing since June, and the Byggstyrning team adopted the complete 3D control method, scanning the jobsite with a Leica BLK360 scanner by themselves and uploading the results to the Imerso platform for instant inspection.

The team had no previous scanning experience but did not need any special training before getting started. Some tips and tricks, and a few trials and errors were more than enough, according to Ris.

“Johannes and his team in Byggstyrning are truly role models for modern project management. They are proving that transparency and digital interaction are key factors for a better production flow. We are proud to be supporting Byggstyrning in this project and how they are leveraging the ease-of-use and fast results of our software to improve how buildings are built,” says Mads Lohne, BIM leader at Imerso.

In just over two years, this technology was deployed in over 50 projects in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The projects range from public civil works, alongside commercial, residential, renovations, and industrial applications.

Imerso’s software is based 100% on international open standards to ensure interoperability with any other industry tools, including Revit, ArchiCAD or Solibri. The company’s mission is to introduce frequent 3D scanning control as a new building standard in any project to improve collaboration, eliminate unnecessary costs and keep all stakeholders on the same page.

“We believe remote site monitoring is here to stay and we’re focused on using automation and making advanced tools easy to use for everyone to change the way our world is built,” says Frederico Valente, CEO of Imerso.