Re-Imagining Construction at Bechtel

It has been several years since I first saw the above Bechtel case study – on how the company had embraced the iPad for business – but there were a couple of new ideas to me that have stood out over time.

First, embedding sensors in form work when pouring concrete, and then using an iPad app to track how the concrete was curing. Something that was previously hit-and-miss – “we think it’s going okay” – is transformed into a data-informed analysis.

The second idea was being able to superimpose a design and specification sheet as a 3D render on an iPad, combining current physical space with the design as it is supposed to be. Once again, something that could be a hit-and-miss situation – “we think the guys on the job site know what they are supposed to do today” – becomes transformed into a data-informed visualisation that guides immediate action and construction work. The basic idea is that being able to deal with a problem earlier reduces long-run costs due to eliminating a stream of corrective actions and costly flow-on consequences.

Nice work Bechtel (and Apple).

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