Test bed host: Skanska
Test bed supervisor: Lotta Wibeck, Digihub Manager, Skanska
Academic supervisor: Lars Stehn, Professor of Construction Management and Building Technology, Luleå Technical University
This test bed project addresses three focus areas:
- The digital infrastructure of construction sites
- Positioning of materials and professional roles on a construction site
- More efficient construction logistics and integrated planning
Testing the digital infrastructure of construction sites
This test bed focus area involves evaluating, testing and developing solutions whose aim is to achieve connectivity in construction production that can be adapted to the different phases of the construction process. The key question at issue is how sufficient coverage can be enabled technically, practically and financially in order for digitally dependent activities to take place without disrupting production.
Skanska has primarily equipped a large construction site with a Wi-Fi network for streaming media. The purpose of the testing is to identify robust solutions that can be adjusted as the body of a building grows. In this case, “robust” means that they can easily be moved and harmonised with the total construction operation and that they are durable enough not to get damaged. The aim is to ensure 70 percent coverage across the entire site and inside the building, including in height and depth, and despite interference from, for example, thick concrete walls and subsequent work with mobile access points.
All forms of connection are tested systematically. This involves investigating which types of streaming connection and sensor are required for different applications in different locations on a construction site. The expected benefit is an understanding of how digital infrastructure needs to be designed to ensure that all forms of connection are accessible to everyone involved in production, including subcontractors, and that they can subsequently be adapted to the conditions on different construction sites to ensure sufficient connectivity when required. This is considered a foundation for rolling out digital aids throughout the industry and exploiting the impacts of digitalisation on construction sites in general.
Positioning enables better construction logistics
Within the three focus areas of the test bed project, Skanska is attempting to identify suitable technologies, based on connectivity and suitable sensors, that will allow the locations in which activities take place in a particular work zone to be tracked with sufficient precision. The purpose is to position materials, tools and workers. The question at issue is what streaming capacity and IoT precision is required in the different zones on a construction site. For example, this could apply in the form of an increasingly refined capacity of the digital infrastructure for information availability and positioning precision.
In practical tests at three different construction sites, Skanska is investigating how precisely different types of machine, material and professional role need to be positioned in collaboration with digital suppliers and tool manufacturers. The benefit of positioning is primarily to improve supervision of materials and equipment related to individual work stages. The purpose is also to achieve efficient construction logistics and to enable the progress of operations to be monitored in relation to schedules, follow-ups in relation to contracts, and increased productivity and automated processes in the long run.
The long-term benefit is expected to be a capacity (technically and in terms of knowledge) to ensure more efficient construction logistics and dynamic progression monitoring that meets and measures the unpredictability of the construction site. Both are considered pieces in the puzzle of dynamic production planning. With good control of material and personnel flows, Skanska can see the benefit of creating integrated data-driven planning with work breakdown structures from plans and for work zones that support, for example, work and production planning supervisors.