Publications / 2020 Proceedings of the 37th ISARC, Kitakyushu, Japan

Applications of LiDAR for Productivity Improvement on Construction Projects: Case Studies from Active Sites

Fredrik Westling, Rana Abbas, Christian Skinner, Monica Hanus-Smith, Andrew Harris and Nathan Kirchner
Pages 353-361 (2020 Proceedings of the 37th ISARC, Kitakyushu, Japan, ISBN 978-952-94-3634-7, ISSN 2413-5844)

The McKinsey Global Institute's digitisation index ranks construction amongst the least digitised sectors globally. This translates to a relatively slow rate of labour-productivity growth which, according to McKinsey, costs the global economy US$1.6 trillion per year. One area ripe for improvement is validation of final components on construction sites. This is a critical step in the quality assurance process, but also one that consumes significant resources when performed manually. Digitisation, using reality capture technology, can enable rapid component analysis through automation. However, traditional survey tools, which focus on individual points or fixed locations, tend to provide limited coverage, are difficult to operate and hard to interpret. More recently, developments in Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) has enabled rapid digital representation of geometry. The resulting point clouds can then be processed using modern computing techniques, including the proprietary BuiltView platform used here, to perform automatic checks that are faster and more accurate than manual measurement and achieve greater coverage than traditional surveying technologies. As the technology develops to become cheaper and more readily available, potential on-site applications should be fully explored. To improve the understanding of options, applications and productivity benefits, we present case studies performed on active construction sites in which an aspect of the built environment was scanned with LiDAR and the data analysed to estimate value accretion for the builder. In floor flatness analysis and site visualisationwe demonstrate results that are prohibitively difficult to perform manually. In LiDAR-based precast scanning and formwork analysis we show promise for detecting defects before they cause delays and costs further down the value chain. We present the context and methodology for each case study, along with the benefits and difficulties encountered with LiDAR use. Finally, we calculate the approximate value added compared with traditional approaches to quantify the relative merit of point cloud data. Findings from our case studies suggest LiDAR has the potential to significantly improve construction productivity, quality of works, documentation and client engagement.

Keywords: LiDAR; Construction; Productivity; Case studies