There are many day-to-day processes we don’t perceive as “manufacturing,” and yet they easily fit the model. Where we can apply manufacturing disciplines and technologies in combination with the tools of the geospatial professions, there are opportunities to improve accuracy, productivity, and interim deliverables.

When we sit down to a festive holiday meal, we don’t think of the manufacturing processes employed in delivering that meal, and yet we started with a schedule and developed a shopping list (bill of materials) and planned for all of the steps and processes that would be employed in making the meal and getting it to the table at the appointed time. Why not expand on that and look at a construction project as a massive, one-off manufacturing process that requires all of the careful, precise planning for goods, services, and materials that any manufacturer performs?

Cutter Shea, a sales engineer for Faro, offered a view from the geospatial and data collection side with just that perspective. He called his webinar “You’ve Skimmed the BOM, Now Scan for BIM.”

Supporting the architecture, engineering, and construction activities during a project is made more complex by the fact the design, configuration, and even the team creating the ultimate deliverable typically come together for this one project and then disband. Even a similar project will have a very different mix of stakeholders. If collaboration and communication were difficult, based on the complexity of the project, this type of regular realignment of resources only amplifies those issues.

Surveyors and geospatial professionals play a critical role throughout this process. As we’ve moved from paper-based designs and disconnected teams of workers and service providers to a world of CAD and 3D models, we gained a clearer view of what the project looked like and what is required in each step. But there was still the problem of the multitude of changes and adjustments along the way. The increased use of digital tools has helped speed up the recording of these changes. Cloud-based data that can be shared easily with multiple stakeholders in a timely manner has really proven beneficial.

Surveyors and geospatial professionals have a recurring role in the development of any construction project. Far from just surveying and staking out the project, surveyors are an integral part of the building information modelling (BIM) that provides continual updates on the reality of the construction measured against the design. BIM takes that next step of adding intelligence to the data in the model. Objects are not just labelled, they can carry meta data such as installation dates and much more. If an object is changed, everyone has access to the change. Information is there, it’s accurate and accessible by all stakeholders. This informs decisions throughout the project and helps ensure seamless communication.

Data collection throughout the project is not a luxury, it is a necessity. As the geospatial professional scans the progress and submits the data set, designers and engineers can perform clash detection and resolve issues proactively and help avoid costly delays and rework. Construction is not a stake-it-and-forget-it project for geospatial professionals. They add to their role through the data they collect, manage, and process. A given construction project can have multiple deliverables throughout its life span – even after construction is complete – and that’s good news for geospatial professionals who become part of the quality assurance and quality control elements of these complex manufacturing processes.

To view Cutter Shea’s webinar, go to: