Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Software invention could save construction industry a fortune

18.04.2007
Researchers on Teesside are spearheading a revolution which could save the construction industry millions of pounds.

They are doing this by developing their own software tools which harnesses the power of computer games technology to give planners and builders the ability to rehearse different phases of a major construction projects over and over again on a PC screen before building work begins. This can range from putting in the foundations to installing pipework and electrical equipment.

The team behind the project at the University of Teesside in Middlesbrough has already rehearsed the build process on several major construction projects. These include a new bridge over a London Underground line at White City and at the new gas receiving facility at Hull.

Professor Nashwan Dawood, Director of the University’s Centre for Construction Innovation and Research (CCIR), said: “The software tool can help everyone involved in a major project to go into minute detail of construction activities and look for the most efficient way of tackling a contract. This is particularly important when lots of different trades are working on a multi-million pound project in a tight location and where delays can cost big money.”

The Teesside Professor worked closely with the international project management and construction consultancy, F+G, formerly Faithful and Gould, on the Hull gas receiving project and estimates that about 5-7% could be saved off the £100m-plus project by rehearsing the project using the University’s 4D planning tool (3D + real time).

Now he is perfecting the computerised Virtual Construction (VIRCON) site instrument with the help of academic colleagues and F+G’s Stockton-based national planning manger, Ian Mackenzie.

They are looking at the possibility of offering it to help in the decommissioning of nuclear power stations.

Professor Dawood is also using the Virtual Reality technology to assist HBG, the company building the University of Teesside’s new £12m Institute of Digital Innovation (IDI) on Woodlands Road, Middlesbrough.

“We learnt a lot from the London Underground project and we are now perfecting the software using one of our new landmark buildings which will help put the University-led DigitalCity project on the map,” said Professor Dawood.

HBG’s project co-ordinator Robert Cranmer said: “The IDI is a good site to choose because the building is being constructed in a very tight defined space. We’ve used this software tool from the early stages to rehearse the project and make changes to our plans to overcome any foreseen problems with the construction sequences.”

Professor Dawood adds: “In the past if there was a delay or problem the industry just threw people at it. It is far better to re-configure your plans and see if there is a better way of doing things. Our tool allows them to do on a computer screen in 3D with a real time element built in.”

The next step is to see if the technology can be used to help cash-flow forecasts and to make the software more interactive and user-friendly.

To help do this, the Department of Trade & Industry has just awarded Professor Dawood’s team £100,000 to set-up a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with F+G which will help pay for the recruitment of a research associate and a PhD student to work on the projects and to see what other heavy capital projects the VIRCON tool could be applied.

Ian MacKenzie, at F+G which employs over 2,000 worldwide, said: “We like to be at the leading edge of new developments helping the construction industry to become more efficient. This is a very important tool to help our clients improve on project delivery and save costs.

“Our headquarters are on Teesside and we’re keen to work with our local university to develop its standing in this important area of applied research. The tool worked very well on the North Sea gas project in Hull and now we’re very keen to develop the potential of this software further.”

Professor Dawood says: “This is a great example of a University developing its knowledge to the benefit of industry. We couldn’t have done it without F+G. You really need the support of an influential company to do something like this.”

Nic Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tees.ac.uk/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

nachricht New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>