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How Trends like Digital Twins and IoT Impact Construction?

What is Digital Twin and IoT?

Published: 26/05/2022

Country: United States

The construction industry is one
of the biggest sectors of the world economy. Its ecosystem comprises of
stakeholders such as the designers, architects, engineers, and construction
workers. On any given project having multiple stakeholders, the complexities
stem from various functions and stages of the project.  Typical challenges faced by AECO projects are
- rising construction costs, material procurement delays, budget and time
overruns, workforce shortage, health and safety of the workforce, and
construction site issues. The volatility of the AEC industry is inevitable.
However, the sector can immensely enhance its productivity and efficiency with
the help of digital tools and rewiring certain processes on the backbone of
technology. Digital transformation is the right step towards achieving faster
and more sustainable construction within the estimated time and budget. Digital
tools such as Digital Twins
paired with IoT can help construction companies get closer to this goal.

What is Digital Twin and IoT?

Digital Twin is the real-time
representation of a physical asset. The multi-dimensional, visual
representation of any asset helps the team foresee the effect of design
changes, weather conditions, or on-site security challenges.

The Internet of Things (IoT)
connects machines or devices that can be mechanically or electronically managed
from remote locations. The Digital Twin is created by collating physical data
of the asset and its components with the help of IoT devices such as sensors,
3D laser scanners, drones, etc. The IoT support enables the Digital Twin model
to scan and analyze data from multiple sources, predict the asset behavior, and
make simultaneous adjustments in tandem with the real-world asset.

The AEC industry is aware of the
powerful impact the Building Information Model (BIM) has on any construction.
Pairing BIM with Digital Twin and IoT can offer a powerful grade to the project
implementation through agile construction processes and cost savings while
offering asset longevity and insights into every asset component.

Let’s find out how.

Optimum resource planning

Timely allocation of resources
like labour and materials, planning of specific milestones, mitigating on-site
conflicts are key to the success of any construction project. Any bottlenecks
in the supply chain such as delays in material procurement or shortage of labor
can impact productivity and cause huge losses to the project. Besides, the
construction and demolition debris is estimated to be around one-quarter of the
national waste in the USA. BIM helps address these challenges and enables
optimum resource utilization. The data from Digital Twin and IoT devices used in
conjunction with the
BIM modeling can help estimate the exact material and labor required for a
project. This, in turn, allows project owners to order materials in requisite
quantities in tune with the project timelines. Efficiency of the project
improves, and wastage, losses and risks are minimized significantly.

Quality and compliance check

Quality assurance (QA) and
compliance can be accomplished by integrating the 3D BIM model with real-time
data of the physical world from the IoT and Digital Twin. For example, the
concrete quality can be assessed from the photo or video captured through
image-processing algorithms. Similarly, IoT sensors can also help identify
cracks on columns or intrusions in structures. This foresight can alert
contractors to manually inspect the construction and do the damage control.
Thus, the Digital Twin and IoT along with the BIM model can ensure
high-standard asset quality and compliance. 

Improved human force safety

The construction industry is one
of the world’s largest workforce employers, but construction sites throw perils
at the workforce which need to be addressed by project managers. Safety risks
are of utmost concern for the workforce. Digital Twins to Support Public Health & Safety
. Labor-intensive, high-risk tasks are performed in the open air
and in many cases on high rises. Digital Twins paired with IoT sensors on the
building can alert site managers when the construction team is working on a
hazardous site or handling dangerous/ toxic materials. Ensuring high safety
standards should be a priority for the AEC industry worldwide and visibility to
every element and stage of construction can equip project managers to enforce
safety through appropriate personal, protective equipment and other on-site measures.

Efficient project planning

The data from IoT sensors is not
only helpful during the construction of a building but is also an information
goldmine for the construction of similar assets. The IoT devices with the Digital
Twin model can record the impact of temperature, humidity, wind, and pressure
on the building and model each layer of the building based on these
environmental factors. The data monitored and analyzed for this building can be
used to predict the feasibility of other projects subject to similar environmental
conditions. These insights help in sustainable project planning, predictable
project implementation and ensures asset longevity. 

Investments in digital tools such
as BIM, Digital Twin, and IoT can yield good dividends both in the short and
long term. The right approach coupled with these technologies can empower the
sector to build sustainable assets, ensure optimum resource utilization and
guarantee safe and healthy working conditions for the construction workforce.

Conserves energy and save cost

Real time data of HVAC Systems can
be access by asset managers any time and anywhere, the building spaces can be analyzed
and monitor which may require energy consumption. In current working model this
works best where entries of the employees are allowed on working days which are
fixed. This kind of practices not only optimize the unitization of energy carbon
emission as well as saves the asset maintenance costs.


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