Material readiness technology, contactless site deliveries, and autonomous scanning supporting construction amid COVID-19

July 9, 2020 | 5 minute read
Burcin Kaplanoglu
Executive Director, Innovation
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In a previous post, “Enabling Social Distancing and Remote Project Monitoring on Construction Sites,” I shared how our ongoing construction project at the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab has given us a unique opportunity to work with our general contractor, Pepper Construction, and several of our Lab technology partners to collaboratively confront new construction challenges arising from COVID-19.

That work continues today, and I wanted to share some of the latest developments coming out of these efforts, including new use cases around Lab partner technologies that are designed to help keep project teams safe as work continues.   

Material readiness and contactless site deliveries

Our partner Jovix is leading the effort to transform traditional exchanges of information from document-centric to data-centric within the construction supply chain. The evolution of their Digital Supply Chain is enabled by creating asset information upstream via IoT sensors and tracking it through construction.

With this technology, Jovix provides a single source of truth for material availability, improving material control, and garnering transactional efficiencies.

At the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab expansion project, Jovix’s Supplier Mobile apps are paired with Automated Gate Readers to provide status of materials as they arrive onsite via digital packing lists. The materials are equipped with passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that automatically alert teams when materials arrive to eliminate the need for contact receiving. 

Material data is then visualized in Jovix throughout the supply chain, which is integrated with Oracle’s scheduling solution. Whether these materials are stored at the fabricator/supplier’s facility, project laydown yard, or at the work-front, the Jovix web application’s World View Map functionality shows a detailed location of the materials throughout the supply chain.

In addition, the General Contractor has the ability to see the materials within the supply chain as they relate to the work package and the Oracle Primavera Schedule ID.

“The construction industry’s movement to a Digital Supply Chain is driven by the need to improve predictability into the contractor’s and owner’s abilities to complete a project according to the plan, schedule, and budget,” said Jon Chesser, chief revenue officer, Jovix.

“This not only ensures that accurate and real-time information is available across all project team members, but also provides a deeper understanding of constructability according to the plan.”

Autonomous laser scanning

Our Innovation Lab partner FARO Technologies, Inc. develops and manufactures solutions that enable high-precision 3D capture, measurement, and analysis across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, engineering, and public safety.

At the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab project, FARO brought Boston Dynamics’ robot Spot to the site to perform autonomous laser scanning of the structure. The autonomous robot “dog” – which is something of a social media celebrity – learns its travel path via user input and then scans at defined locations throughout the site.

FARO Focus S laser scanner attached to Boston Dynamics robot, Spot 

The FARO laser scan data is saved in the Oracle Aconex common data environment. Integration between Oracle Aconex and Reconstruct allows Pepper to visualize progress recorded via laser scanning, against plan using the building information modeling (BIM) and the project schedule, explained Jennifer Suerth, vice president of technical services at Pepper Construction.

The Reconstruct integration with Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management software enables comparison at production level as well as the master schedule level, which helps Pepper to perform quality assurance activities, Suerth said.

“In our ongoing efforts to continuously improve, automating the collection of reality capture data enables us to simultaneously perform multiple tasks with the same amount of labor, ultimately giving us more opportunities to assure quality control on our project,” she said.

“With our Innovation Lab partner solutions in use, there is so much data that can now be downloaded, allowing our remote design team of architects and engineers to view details in real time as we discuss project status,” said Tracy Riggan, senior project manager, Oracle.

“Material RFID tags allow us to track material from fabrication floor to a final drop within the gridded map of our jobsite, confirming receipt of material and where it was placed. With technology like this, it will be hard to go back to conventional means and methods for how we track progress and run our projects,” he said.

Laser scan data image shown against BIM and schedule

Payment Improvements

Pepper Construction is also using Oracle Textura Payment Management to manage subcontractor payments on the project. This software, which digitizes invoicing, compliance, and payment management processes, has enabled Pepper Construction to accelerate payments to subcontractors by two weeks on average since the beginning of March.

The collaboration software reduces back and forth during the draw process, helping reduce the time it takes to have an approved invoice by more than 50%, according to Pepper Construction.

When compared to the general contractor’s overall payment processing at other projects, the finance team reported that using the system cut about a week from their normal payment cycle, since they are able to eliminate the check cutting, manual notification and exchange of lien waivers, and check distribution.

Paying subcontractors electronically has eliminated the need to print, sign, and mail checks, helping accounting staff to safely work remotely without slowing down payments.

We are grateful that our Innovation Lab construction project has provided an environment for collaborative problem solving and look forward to reporting more progress soon.

Learn more about the Oracle Industries Innovation Lab.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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Burcin Kaplanoglu

Executive Director, Innovation

Executive Director, Innovation Officer, Oracle

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