Trends are rapidly shifting in construction, for the better. The industry has just begun embracing data-driven approaches that have revolutionized other industries. Having developed a preconstruction approach that includes a digital twin, I can tell you that GCs and other project stakeholders are already gaining big benefits—not only in offsite modular construction, but also in the conventional site-built world.

When the Autovol factory began building offsite in a robotic factory, Prefab Logic faced the new challenge of creating a data-driven approach far exceeding anything previously done in modular construction. Robots and automation demand very exacting data instruction at very precise tolerances. Factories like Autovol need to run smoothly and continuously—and the people and robots all need instructions. With robots, it’s data and code. With humans, it’s visualization on a whole new level. For both, a precise digital twin of the final building is the answer.

For several major projects now, Prefab Logic has been testing and refining our digital twin with clients in the real world. We’ve created a whole process where we “build the building twice.” We collaborate with the architect and other stakeholders to build a complete data set, and transform that data into a 3D model. Driven by a well-defined project flow, the GC, architect, and developer can all experience and inspect the building in virtual and augmented reality. Any potential clashes that could affect constructability are found and rectified long before construction begins.

Our clients are seeing outstanding results using this data-driven, digital-twin centric process offsite in modular factories and during final construction phases onsite. It quickly became obvious that we could bring similar benefits to projects built entirely onsite. Now GCs as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing and other tradespeople can finally use 3D tools onsite to see exactly how their work fits in the overall design—wirelessly using a tablet. Changes and modifications can be reflected in the digital twin, not only during construction, but throughout that life of the building.

We envision our digital twin approach becoming a “user manual” for the building that can always be up to date, and used by the building owner from ribbon cutting to demolition. From take offs to virtual property tours, the possibilities are enormous for a more successful property performance. And whether built in a factory or onsite, that means the GC, and every stakeholder can win with a digital twin.

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