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4 ways constructible models are reducing waste in the concrete industry

Construction waste that could be reduced by constructible models

Construction waste is not only harmful to the environment, it also cuts into budgets and diminishes a project’s overall return. 

One of the most common causes of construction waste arises from the “order more than we think we'll need" mindset. One example is concrete order quantity. Many times pour planning and concrete takeoffs are done purely manually. In a rush, nobody wants to risk ordering too little concrete for the pour, and waste created by “ordering more just in case” is accepted.

Formwork can be mentioned as another example. Ordering extra formwork components just in case and ending up with construction waste when those components go unused. There are other forms that go beyond material waste. Inefficiency results in substantial waste. Overlapping tasks, duplicated work and rework, all results in wasted productivity and have a negative effect on project progress risking projects running over budget and behind schedule. 

A growing number of construction companies are finding that most construction waste can be reduced or eliminated by adopting a constructible process utilizing digital tools and information in building information models (BIM).

A growing number of construction companies are finding that most construction waste can be reduced or eliminated by adopting a constructible process utilizing digital tools and information in Building Information Models (BIM). But what does this mean? In a constructible process, all phases and trades are modeled and connected. Models include construction-ready content which is easily accessible through open formats. Constructible models drive smarter and more streamlined processes at the office and in the field. 

A key part of that process is the constructible data-rich 3D model that goes beyond simple geometry and contains accurate intelligent information that can be used throughout the project lifecycle. For example, a constructible concrete model will be complete with accurate pours including information such as areas, volumes, concrete mix and cost codes and detailed rebar, embeds and formwork.

Sharing concrete models with a rebar detailer allows concrete contractors to more efficiently communicate and coordinate complex areas, resolve areas of congestion before construction begins, ensure each piece of rebar is fabricated to its exact size and delivered to site on time and in an optimized way, which not only saves construction time but also reduces material waste. On-demand material takeoffs and reporting can be done with a mouse click, the quantities are accurate, consistent and up-to-date and takeoffs can be visualized in 3D for better transparency and communication.

A constructible approach can move the needle on eliminating waste by:

1. Facilitating real-time collaboration and communication

Breaking down communication barriers and encouraging collaboration across project teams is critical for reducing waste. Being connected is the greatest defense against the inefficiencies that stem from data locked up in silos. Enabling shared access to data among multiple stakeholders allows them to collaborate, and review and make changes to a model together, in real-time.

When a constructible model is shared, different trades can coordinate, so there is less re-work and duplication. This saves time and vastly reduces the potential for error, which has its own waste reducing benefits. Enabling shared access to data among multiple stakeholders ensures everyone is on the same page and that data is being gathered, stored and shared for a more transparent process that saves materials and shortens timelines. 

2. Delivering more accurate data and limiting rework 

Technological advancements have made it both possible and practical for constructible models to be used by everyone involved in a project, from the initial idea to the finished product and beyond. It’s no longer necessary for each trade to remodel or duplicate work. Recreating data increases the risk of errors and results in hidden waste when construction professionals duplicate work carried out by other members of the project team.  

Wayne Brothers, one of North America’s most progressive and technology-savvy commercial concrete contractors, works closely with rebar fabricators, sharing constructible models to reduce waste and drive efficient workflows. On Wayne Brothers’ first project using a constructible model, 99 percent of the rebar was fabricated correctly. Wayne Brothers also reduced waste by quantifying exactly how much concrete was needed by pulling the information straight from the constructible model. 

3. More efficient workflows 

With constructible data, tedious, manual material quantification and information management tasks can be automated in ways that dramatically reduce work cycles, from preconstruction to pour. This automation also makes it easy to accommodate project changes quickly within the model.

North American contractor F.A. Wilhelm uses constructible models for faster, more efficient formwork design and pour planning. Automating processes has allowed F.A. Wilhelm to create more accurate formwork drawings and by using the constructible model, gain instant access to pour-specific quantities for budgeting and allocating resources, monitoring progress easily, coordinating work and reporting in real-time. 

Because concrete is the largest material expense on many of its projects, accurate pour counts are essential for F.A. Wilhelm and not only eliminate material waste, but also save time and money over relying on generic quantities. 

4. Better communication between the field and office

Time is money in concrete construction and efficiency is a key contributor to profitability. Constructible models can reduce waste throughout a project, especially in the field. Field layout is an essential task in which accuracy is a necessity and errors can cause re-work and delays that can come at a significant cost. 

Tape measures, string lines and plumb bobs can result in misplaced formwork, missing embeds, out of place anchor bolts and other costly errors. Instead, exporting exact point data from a constructible model to a total station can eliminate these errors and dramatically increase productivity in the layout process because the highly-detailed information in the model is both accurate and “constructible.”

A constructible process can streamline construction, eliminate waste and lead to increased efficiency, predictability and productivity. With a growing number of contractors embracing this process.

Free ebook

Implementing constructible process can start by improving things like quantity takeoff - the essential, everyday tasks in the concrete construction production chain.
Using digital, model-based takeoff methods and purpose-built BIM software can dramatically improve concrete contractors' productivity and eliminate unproductive work and rework, both at the office and in the field. 
Read this ebook to find out the 5 common resource wasting problems that traditional 2D-based takeoff methods and single-use data preparation create for Estimators, Planners and Site Engineers, and the ways digital tools and methods can remove them and streamline the work from bid to pour.

Improve Your Concrete Takeoffs - Free ebook. Get your copy from here!

Improve your concrete takeoffs eBook