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Digitising Temporary Works forum

Photograph of 21 Moorfields during construction. We can see the temporary works, and cranes

Digital adoption within the scope of temporary works is still patchy, in a similar way to those responsible for the permanent works. In October 2022, Trimble supported the Temporary Works forum by co-hosting an event that brought industry leaders to showcase the great value of digital tools.. Missed the event? Read on, as Priney Chauhan, our Senior Account Manager, provides an overview of the key takeaways.

The first observation from the event has to be the fantastic turnout and it was also great to see some key players in the industry attend, with representatives from designers, contractors and specialists through to manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to Trimble’s presentation, the event also featured talks from our customers – including Daniel Fenn from William Hare, Nick Boyle from Balfour Beatty, Steve Hesketh from MGF and Anna Wylie from PERI Group – all showcasing their own experiences within temporary works. It was a really positive event, with all attendees demonstrating a clear appetite and interest for change, as well as being genuinely impressed by the exciting possibilities digital technology presents.

One reason for the lack of consistent digital adoption could be due to the overall consideration of temporary works within the wider construction industry, often brought in late on a project and not given the due time and resources it deserves. This way of thinking is really rather unjust; while temporary works may only be on site for a short space of time, their very existence is essential in order to facilitate the safe and effective construction of the permanent structure.

All too often, temporary works designers and engineers are still presented with incredibly short lead-times, brought in on a project at a late stage and required to turn around the engineered design scheme at speed. In turn, this suggests that it leaves very little time for companies and teams to upskill and trial out digital solutions; put off by the learning curve that it presents. The irony of course is that these digital solutions are exactly what they need to make their workflow quicker, easier, more efficient and streamlined.

Photograph of 21 Moorfields during construction, using temporary structures to support the build process

There are numerous benefits of adopting digital workflows within the temporary works field – benefits that were explored and showcased in detail at the event last October. The key advantages relate to time, cost and coordination, with the three closely intertwined. BIM software brings enhanced accuracy, visibility and automation to temporary works design, enabling engineers and detailers to work faster and more efficiently while engineering and modelling schemes. Consequently, precious time is saved and can be used by engineers to be more productive and focused on how schemes can be further optimised and enhanced – for example, reducing the amount of materials required.

Coordination is another key factor within temporary works. While important on all construction projects, the very essence of temporary works requires careful coordination between many elements, including where the existing structure, other temporary works, access routes, plant and equipment may be at risk of impacting on the overall progress of the permanent works. As such, high levels of accuracy and detail are critical.

By adopting a digital and synchronised construction workflow, combining digital software with hardware, engineers can facilitate greater coordination and reduce the likelihood of clashes on site. Take cloud-point survey and laser scanning hardware as an example. Here you can easily capture data and use this to bring the site and existing structure into the 3D environment, point by point and piece by piece, from which you can then gain contextual insights for building the temporary structure around.

This idea of bringing the real site into the digital environment can then be flipped on its head through the use of mobile devices or mixed reality technology, enabling teams to bring the 3D model to the site. With Trimble Connect (our cloud-based collaboration tool) and a tablet, users can overlay the model on top of the on-site structure, ideal for site checks as construction progresses and team briefings.

View of 21 Moorfields in Tekla Structures. Trimble Connect was used to share this model with all stakeholders in the project

Technology is always evolving, with software providers constantly introducing new tools and features to facilitate efficient and accurate temporary works detailing. For example, the Scaffolding Tool available within Tekla Structures enables users to select the system scaffolding suppliers (such as Doka, Layher or Peri) knowing that your model is then specific to that supplier, including exact component dimensions and attributes. Using this model data, accurate material lists can be automatically downloaded, which can be passed directly onto the supplier for ordering.

Ultimately, all temporary works are provided to ensure the safe delivery of a project. By modelling these temporary works in 3D, using digital survey techniques to bring real world context into the digital environment and creating connected dataflows all contribute to a more accurate, coordinated, safer and streamlined temporary works design process – benefits that then translate through to the on-site delivery.

And the value doesn’t end there… Adopting digital workflows can also lead to cost savings and improved sustainability, facilitating a more optimised and efficient temporary works scheme.

Discover a range of customer projects that have utilised our Tekla software