Here’s how advances in technology are transforming the construction industry

AZBigMedia recently published an article about advances in construction technology.

Scott Root, executive director of strategy and innovation for Kitchell, uses a software program called OpenSpace to create a visual representation of the job site using 360-degree cameras. The program uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assign percentage-complete values to the pictures, so subsequent captures can show how much progress has been made since the last capture.

“During the pandemic, we didn’t have our design partners or owners on the job site as often as they normally are. But OpenSpace pushed information to them in real time so they could look at any day and see the progress,” Root notes. “On our side, we can use the AI aspects to understand, for example, when the drywall is going in and what percentage is already in, which falls right into our construction management plans.”

New Ways of Seeing

Virtual reality (VR) has also entered the construction field. Wearing a VR headset allows employees and clients to interact with a 3D model and gain a better feel for the spatial relation of the elements before a single shovel hits the dirt.

“In a traditional design phase, clients see several different iterations of a project. If we can bring it into VR and have them go through iterations in real time, we can get decisions solidified faster,” Root says.

Virtual reality also allows the people who ultimately will be working in a space to influence the design. For example, during the design of a hospital room, medical professionals can use VR to provide feedback on everything from the flow of the room to the placement of electrical outlets.

“They’re not builders or designers, but if you can make them feel as though they’re doing their job within a VR setting and using their expertise to experience how a space works, I think that’s where we get the most value out of these tools,” Root says.

Read the full story at AZBigMedia.

ENR: Contracting firms expect recovery to improve during 2021

Valleywise Health Medical Center

Kitchell’s work continues at Valleywise Health Medical Center in Phoenix.

Kitchell Contractors President Steve Whitworth was recently quoted in an ENR-Southwest article about the construction market, addressing how the pandemic impacted the company’s operations and what to expect for the rest of this year.

“Last year was about pivoting, changing, transforming: How many ways can we say ‘change?’” says Steve Whitworth, president of Kitchell Contractors. The employee-owned company ranked No. 9 in the Southwest. The changes required everyone to “communicate, communicate, communicate,” he says. “High-touch (without touching) and frequent interactions at all levels were the foundation of our success last year.”

The firm’s ongoing protocols include daily health checks, contact tracing and enhanced safety procedures with temperature checks, face coverings, staggered shifts and adjustable work schedules, he says.

During the worst of the pandemic, in October 2020, the Kitchell team delivered the 167,000-sq-ft We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, an approximately $115-million project (construction cost) at Fort McDowell outside Scottsdale, Ariz.

The University of Arizona Grand Challenges Research Building in Tucson, a seven-story, 115,000-sq-ft interdisciplinary research facility, will begin construction in July. And the $596-million Valleywise Health Medical Center, a 10-story, 673,000-sq-ft hospital, will replace the Maricopa Medical Center. That job is expected to finish in 2023.

“Frankly, we adapted better than I’ve experienced in my three-plus decades of being in this industry,” Whitworth says. “There were lessons learned from this experience that will stay with us long after the pandemic is over.”

Read the entire article at this link.