The March 2014 Community Day was hosted by Computerlinks
The Pinnacle - this is the construction site outside the Community Day (Cannon Street) venue. The picture doesn’t give justice to just how spectacular this site is. The pedestrians on the other side of the hoardings have no idea of the depth of the work being done - depth here in its deepest sense!
Jason Phillips, Services Sales Manager of Alvea Services (Computerlinks) welcomed us as hosts of the March 2014 Community Day.
We had an all-time record attendance: We welcomed three new members who joined in March 2014:
Balfour Beatty (re-joined)
High Speed 2 Rail
We also welcomed new members from last December who were unable to attend the
December Community day:
Iain asked members to ensure that they encourage colleagues to attend Community days. He spread the word internally via Yama and two colleagues immediately signed up.
We also welcomed 7 guest companies: Bullock Construction, Conject, GenieBelt, Jewel SafetySolutions, Network Rail, On-Site Support and Rock and Alluvium.
If you wish to be put in touch with our newmembers or guests, please contact Gerry on
From Stephen: Stephen discussed modularization –and showed Contour crafting which is a layered fabrication technology developed at University of Southern California. Contour Crafting technology hasgreat potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components. Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning. The potential for cost savings, quality improvement and sustainability is massive What impact might this have on our industry?
Stephen also highlighted the M.I.T. Silk Pavilion where a robotic arm laid the basic hexagonal framework, 6,500 live silkworms extruded the pavilion’s shell. It’s what researchers call a "biological swarm approach to 3-D printing", essentially M.I.T. have discovered how to manipulate the worms to shape silk for us natively. “Imagine the future of additive manufacturing outside of the printer’s gantry, imagine a swarm of small-scale printing units collaborating to ‘print’ something bigger than themselves” Oxman (M.I.T) writes. “Future research aims to unite 3-D Printing with Artificial Intelligence to generate printing swarms operating in architectural scales depositing structural materials.” It is early days but this could have alarge impact on the construction industry, particularly in the way in which complex largescale architectural components are fabricated.
From Iain: IADD4UK. Iain is heading a group that will create a standard asset definition dictionary for all infrastructure in the UK, helping to create a level playing field for all owners, maintainers and contractors. The next step is highways, looking at aspects like construction layers: pavements, earthworks and minor structures as assets, but Iain needs some assistance from experts in these fields.
For more information on the group visit: http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/infrastructure-asset-data-dictionary-for-uk/
Iain posed an ever increasing problem. It is impossible to manage circa 300 emails, tens of phone calls, one to one conversations and multiple diaries every day. Most of us are drowning in communications and missing the one nugget that we really need!
If you think you have solved this, please share with our Chairman, who is rapidly going grey! One member offered this site for starters: http://youtu.be/4YxGH37cHAM (but you will need to discipline yourselves)!
Augmented Reality in Construction
Marvin Johnson of Bechtel has five years’ experience of AR. Marvin showed how the tracking technology has changed and what toexpect in the future. For construction Bechtel looked at “Cloud Enabled BIM Data” that enabled them to map their data to an AR solution.
Marvin demonstrated successful real-time schedule animation using 4D – AR and various other scenarios with successful application. Marvin is now looking at BMS-AR: building management systems to support facilities management and owner operation maintenance.
If you have any please contact Marvin Johnson at Bechtel on firstname.lastname@example.org
Immersive Virtual Reality
Carl Siddons of Network Rail commented that although VR has been around a long time (since the 1960's with the Sword of Damocles (a head mounted display), people still perceive it as a new technology.
Currently, because the costs are coming down there has been great software development, particularly on a gaming level but Carl’s aim is to look at what future scope there is on a professional level? VR might be perceived as “gimmicky” now but there will be an impact on individuals – one only has to look at industry use of virtual reality:
Training: process learning
Health and Safety: no risk to animals orhuman life
Awareness of spatial environments
Medical applications: surgery
Education (science / geography)
Military (tactics, warfare and technology).
Using new equipment available, at a low cost, one can be really “immersive” ie know a whole area
before one visits or jogs an exciting route although you are running on a home platform.
Got some thoughts on this, please contact Carl Siddons on email@example.com
Mobile Health and Safety Workshop
The workshop was split into three core elements:
Mobile risks / mitigation
PPE Prototypes and feedback
Formation of a Mobile H&S working group
Mobile Risks / Mitigation
Harrison O’Hara (Costain / COMIT’s engineering doctorate) discussed safety of mobile devices. At Costain there is a current blanket ban on mobile phones, however it is important to differentiate between mobile phones and the proposed mobile devices.
Harrison’s view is that mobile devices should be treated as any other tool used on site all of which have to undergo risk assessment. Harrison wore his PPE gloves throughout his presentation to demonstrate that they didn’t impact on using mobile devices. He also mentioned the “sheep pen” barriers used at Bond Street which have been stated to be an unacceptable solution to identifying those restricted areas where iPADs can be used. One tends to note the potential problems but perhaps it would be more sensible to focus on benefits, which were identified as:
Minimizing movement around construction sites
Reducing the amount of equipment required
Access to project information during safety critical operations
Increasing the accuracy of work carried out
Instant and live reporting on safety issues.
Harrison is building a case to demonstrate that mobile devices have not been proved to be hazardous. He wants to create safety standards / protocols to enable safe lifting of the current blanket ban. He would love to hear from you about your experience of any health and safety issues caused by use of mobile devices, or indeed, where there has been a notable benefit Harrison.OHara@costain.com.
PPE Prototypes and Feedback
Damian Lynes and Roy Brown from OnSite Support discussed “Fallproof Equipment” essentially preventing objects dropped from height.
The HSE says “Every employer shall, where necessary to prevent injury to any person, take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, the fall of any material or object” (Work at Height Regulations – 2005)
Workshop session: Delegates were posed four questions:
Identify the top five hazards of using a mobile device
How can one improve the PPE as demonstrated today?
What other PPE (apart from a waistcoat) needs to interact with mobile devices?
What are the benefits to H&S from using mobile IT?
Note re the results shown below – the number of times each response was cited is given at the end of each comment, with most popular comments given
first in each list. The workshop results included:
Top five hazards:
Distraction (includes alerts that pop up) / lack of concentration / multi-tasking; 10
Increase potential of trips & slips; 4
No hands / loss of mobility (reduced capability); 3
Too much trust placed on device (wrong info, etc) / flat battery; 3
Lack of awareness of surroundings; 2
Lack of training (software changes); 2
Increased weight / balance; 2
Water proofing (adverse weather / cold hands); 1
Removal of mandatory PPE for use; 1
More tools to drop / cause incident; 1
Interference with other equipment; 1
Resistance to change; 1
Alternative means of carrying out task if device fails; 1
Number of devices one can carry; 1
Hazard using AR; 1
Security of data / device; 1
If tethered may get tangled in machinery; 1
How can one improve PPE - the results include:
Larger pockets (appropriate sizes) or multiple pockets with zips or Velcro. Ensure pockets are suitable for right or left handed people and for men and women’s anatomy / cover the heart; 7
Velcro to replace zip pocket (still with tethering); 2
Rugged connection case (weatherproof, crack propagation reduction); 2
Microphone / speakers / voice control; 2
Restricting functionality of a mobile device to location; 1
Establish evidence that proves that “Analogue” versus digital devices actually have different levels of risk; 1
Wearable electronics screen on a sleeve using flexible display technology; 1
Latch release holder for device with integrated langard to return device to holder after use; 1
Drop down AR /VR visor on helmet (ie standard glasses always used, visor only used when necessary); 1
Connect helmet to mobile / site safety calls (eg fire alarm / evacuation point) to give sound alarm in addition to visual; 1
Remote management to device – send alerts on status; 1
Charging stations (UPS points); 1
Tracking antennas to track where you are and alert 1
Sensors (lone worker, etc); 1
Simplify software / context aware software; 1
Look at items to get “Buy In”; 1
Type of materials of vest (poly cotton versus polyester); 1
Other PPE – the results
Rugged casing – shock absorption case or case as part of tether; 3
Location / motion sensors; 3
Trousers equivalent (with pockets / more space); 3
Rucksack (shoulder bag) with tethering to pull mobile technology out; 2
Wrist band or waist band for a mobile device; 1
Mount into a hard hat; 1
A better model device where sensors interact with mobile device; 1
Colour-coded jackets for those trained to use mobile devices; 1
Benefits to H&S from using Mobile IT – results include:
On site real time training / tracking / site control / photo capture; 9
Drives efficiency (less walking and foot traffic) & productivity (more time at work station) / enhanced speed / right time and right place; 6
Better awareness of risks / safety inspections / safety of staff / tracking reoccurring issues; 5
Data statistics, lessons learned, better knowledge capture; 2
Geo-fencing / plant and equipment location; 26. Linking 3D near miss into BIM model; 1
Less repetition of data handling; 1
Improved quality / consistency; 1
Paper saving (environmental impact); 1
Voice recognition; 1
Interaction with other devices; 1
Lone working (accident); 1
Carrying less kit; 1
Formation of a Mobile H&S Working Group
Stuart Young introduced the newly formed Mobile IT Health and Safety working group. It has several large global and medium sized contractors as well as academia, regulatory bodies and vendors. The intent with this group is to help remove any impediment that may be apparent whilst using the devices on site. So that we may deliver true benefits at site level we must ensure that we have a common usage standard and that our members are confident their workers can operate the devices in safety.
Stuart demonstrated just how far the use of devices have penetrated the industry so far and showed a Bechtel video entitled “Better Building with iPAD”. This highlighted how various Bechtel workers used iPADs and found them invaluable on site.
“iPAD absolutely helps people be more efficient. Better quality, better productivity, a reduction in cost, a happier customer. You are able to transform more lives”. Quoted by Walker Kimball, Senior Vice President, Bechtel
Check out the information and watch the video:
A number of members have expressed interest in being involved in the H&S task group. If you are also keen to be involved, please contact Stuart on firstname.lastname@example.org
Our ultimate aim is to produce an industry wide Code and Standard.
Computerlinks - showcase
Jason presented the range of professional and technical services that are undertaken by the business he represents, encompassing Computerlinks, Arrow ECS and Alvea Services.
Their core technology expertise has for many years been network security solutions. Alvea services is their Cloud and Managed Services division that leverages the best technology from Computerlinks, wrapped with value added I.T services and delivered with flexible OPEX payment options. Please see www.alvea-services.com for more info.
One of today’s biggest business challenges is to securely manage great volumes of data across multiple sites & users who are often accessing that data from a range of desktop & mobile devices. Alvea have a solution – an all in one Cloud Attached Storage (CAS) Solution that not only answers these challenges but also provides efficient disaster recovery and user file collaboration / data sharing options.
Alex Brandon of Computerlinks discussed mobility in Construction and highlighted the difficulty of pulling all the threads together: dispersed construction activities & parties: mobile workforce; and remote working. The New Technology division of Computerlinks offers a range of solutions to address these and other challenges.
The way we work needs to evolve … and keep on evolving! We need to:
Increase project agility (disaster at Airbus was a case in point)
Deliver critical applications to remote users
Deliver relevant content to remote sites.
For more information, please contact Jason Phillips on Jason.Phillips@computerlinks.co.uk or mobile: 07718 705297.
Mobile Site Forms
Harry Parnell (from Balfour Beatty) showed the working set up on the M25. BB proved the use of iPADS on a small scale and then perfected the process so it could be deployed larger scale on the later upgraded sections (2 and 5).
On some stretches of the M25 the run to the office can be 5 hours (should be just under an hour) and here IPADS come into their own, greatly improving efficiency. Importantly, there has been a huge culture change – even their old-school workers have embraced use of mobile devices because of the realised time and cost savings through improved efficiency.
Simon McGowan (Balfour Beatty) has been encouraging his workers to move from paper based site diaries to an electronic version.
They have created an Electronic green file using a mix of Adobe Acrobat XI Pro and PDF and trialled it with the drainage team in Section 5A. It worked - so is now being rolled out to other disciplines on the 5B Section.
Tangible savings could be proved. BB got a return on investment that more than covered their BIM budget.
If you need more information please contact Harry Parnell and / or Simon McGowan on Harry.Parnell@bbcel.co.uk
Projects update: Call for Projects:
The key to kicking off a project is for someone to approach COMIT with a problem or business need. Without which, why would you want to deploy a new solution?
This problem could be one that is having an impact on time, safety, efficiency, cost etc… COMIT will then help you to select sites that are being affected and understand the business value of this problem. They will then either advise on existing solutions, or talk to the technology membership to find out who might be able to assist in resolving it.
Once a project team has been pulled together, COMIT will manage a series of trials or proof of concepts to find a viable solution.
We will measure the value of the solution, documenting not only the ROI, but also the path to deploying it, with a list of Do’s and Don’ts.
Finally we will publish with the help of our academic partners a case study that will help to drive adoption.
If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire
the A-Team (COMIT) !
This EU supported project is now in its final year and making good progress. It was reviewed in Brussels in January and passed with flying colours. The project is developing a cloud-based mobile application platform and a Site Diary application that was developed with Costain has already been launched. Jason is still your main contact for the project at COMIT and if you have any questions please contact him directly. You can also keep up-to-date with progress by visiting the project blog http://mobicloudproject.blogspot.co.uk and the website www.mobicloudproject.eu and by
following on twitter @MobiCloudProj. If you actively use or develop mobile applications you might also want to join the MobiCloud early adopter program – see details on the MobiCloud website.
TSB - Enable my Team
Enable my Team (EMT) is a part funded project by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). The members of EMT are Costain, MobiBiz and COMIT. The project was bid and won in 2012 and commenced in May 2013. The first quarter of 2014 saw the first on-site trial of the Asset labelling system. The Enable My Team project has been working to establish key partners engaged on the Crossrail project who will participate in the beta testing of the system. Operating on the huge Crossrail project and specifically with its Tier 1 contractors (Costain - Skanska) CSJV C405 Paddington the development now means that a working model will be in use during June 2014.
The willingness and commitment from the site team so far has been excellent as they strive to address common supply chain issues. They believe that by adopting this cloud based system they will have greater visibility of its suppliers that will ultimately link asset information from design through construction to operation and maintenance. They also hope that their efforts will build stronger working relations with the supply chain and help them deliver a much better service to its clients and increase its work winning rate.
Social media activities: Twitter@enablemyteam
AWARDS for three COMIT members:
Bechtel, Bentley and Costain
News from across the Pond - AUSTIN, Texas In April 2014 FIATECH hosted the annual Celebration of Technology & Innovation (CETI) awards gala to recognise organisations for successfully implementing new and emerging technologies and to individuals for making significant strides in advancing innovation in research and development.
A number of COMIT participants attended the event. FIATECH has been a long-time partner on projects and collaborates on a number of aspects
with COMIT that advances practices in the industry. Currently collaborating on the Mobile IT community of interest this community has attracted a modest gathering of individuals that are willing to get involved and help shape the future in mobility.
Bentley Systems Incorporated for Bentley Crossrail Academy.
The academy delivers a full curriculum that fully explains Crossrail’s BIM vision and how each of the attendees can play their part. It describes the processes that take information throughout the lifecycle of a project and puts them into real world context. The curriculum in the academy ranges from technology training, process coaching, and of course the all-important people workshops helping the industry participants understand why and how they are changing the way that they have worked for decades. For the first time, an academy has educated the complete supply chain.
Our very own Iain Miskimmin who is the academy manager received the award, pictured alongside Ray Topping the FIATECH Director and Barbara Migl from The Dow Chemical Company.
Intelligent Self-Maintaining & Repairing Operational Facility - Costain Group for Self-Healing Material Research.
Costain has a strong focus on research to accelerate innovation to market. “Engineering Tomorrow” is Costain’s strategy for identifying, developing and implementing innovation to improve the performance of its customer business.
“Materials for Life” is a research project lead by Cardiff University, with Costain as the lead industrial sponsor. The collaboration involves research work at Cardiff, Bath and Cambridge Universities and has attracted interest from
industrial and academic partners both nationally and internationally.
The aim of the programme is to develop smart materials with increased durability and lifespan. A current focus of the programme is the development of self-healing concrete. The self-healing properties of the materials are expected to significantly reduce maintenance costs for concrete structures. Costain’s role is to provide site trials for the material, expected to be ready for full-scale use by June 2015.
Bechtel Corporation for Intelligent & Automated Construction Job Site, Curtis Island.
RFID technology has been available for many years, but it had yet to be proven valuable on a large scale construction project. Bechtel successfully piloted the technology twice previously. The first pilot was a Construction Industry Institute (CII) project completed in 2008, as referenced in the published white paper “Leveraging Technology to Improve Construction Productivity”. The second pilot was a power project where a limited deployment (20,000 active tags) took place in 2010.
Knowing the technology was possible the challenge was fully adapting and integrating the technology to make it work within existing business processes. This implementation took place where one of the world’s highest concentrations of capital construction projects operates simultaneously and it required a massive amount of commitment and effort from all stakeholders to make it a success. Implementing RFID was deemed a significant approach the project team could potentially use to meet the schedule while keeping labour costs as planned. The projects referenced in this submittal prove that if Bechtel can successfully implement RFID for their Curtis Island LNG projects in Australia, then any construction company anywhere in the world could do the same for their projects.
Bechtel plans to continuously improve this implementation on the Curtis Island projects as well as future capital projects. The benefit from using this technology has been found to be necessary to meet the ever more competitive demands of delivering construction projects on schedule and within budget. It has not only been adapted to material management software
applications, but it has also helped improve work processes. Bechtel is currently moving work processes further upstream. Fabricators are beginning to tag and/or barcode items before they are shipped and they are beginning to provide necessary metadata in advance in order to better facilitate the downstream work processes as well. There are also plans to utilize the tagging and mobile computing further downstream on the construction side to ensure continuity of material tracking that will assist in recording progress and record quality inspections through plant start-up.
2014 Community Days (all Thursdays)
19 June 2014: host Milestone, London
25 September 2014: host Loughborough University
4 December, 2014: host Waterstons, Durham.
In order to encourage members to engage other staff, including young technicians or apprentices, COMIT has obtained CPD accreditation status for its Community Days and annual IT Conference. This will commence on 19 June - the next Community Day.
See you all in London on
COMIT PROJECTS Ltd
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Registered in England No. 7475561
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COMIT Financial Director: Mrs Gerry (Geraldine) Samuelsson-Brown
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COMIT, Chair for Construction: Stephen Smith
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COMIT Director: Neill Pawsey
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Steve Slater: Shepherd Construction –
Glyn Matthews: Speedy Services –
Peter Daly: SmartBuilder –
Paul Wilkinson: pwcom 2.0 –