In recent years the MEP sector has welcomed a revolution through the use of digital technology which is transforming the industry. One of the most ground-breaking innovations to market is Point Cloud Scanning, a process which enhances the design and planning stages of projects through cost and time efficiencies. RSE Technologies, a market leader in innovative and cutting edge services for the MEP sector, is a pioneer in Point Cloud Scanning and has incorporated the service into its range of capabilities. Founder and Managing Director, Russell Stilwell, is a passionate advocate for emerging technology and believes that innovation, such as Point Cloud Scanning, is the future of the industry. Here he shares his thoughts on what this means for the MEP sector and for those working within it.
When I think back to the last decade of my career, the biggest industry shift that I have witnessed is the introduction and adaptation of technology for our sector. I recognised at an early stage that innovation could provide huge potential and have spent over 10 years embracing this in order to build and grow not only my business but influence the industry as a whole.
Point Cloud Scanning has become a core part of the industry and is leading a new digital revolution. However with products and processes continually evolving, why did Point Cloud Scanning become a game changing tool for me? The first step is to clearly define how a new technology could benefit all aspects of a project. Next, ask yourself how it impacts the bottom line, what it can do to enhance the services provided to clients and how could it support staff?
Point Cloud Scanning has proven itself as a tool which fulfils these needs and more. Providing millimetre accurate, state-of-the-art data collection, Point Cloud Scanning offers the fastest and most effective way to map data for projects. Gone are the days of manual measuring, recording and inputting, which often resulted in inaccuracies and health and safety obstacles. Build/install defects can be identified early and in real time, leaving no room for human error. In fact, Point Cloud Scanning can have a real impact on budget and deadlines, on average delivering results at least five times faster.
Safety is the single most important factor in our business. As an industry with hundreds of potential risks every day, de-risking projects is a fundamental part of our processes, ensuring that our staff, clients and suppliers are always safe. Point Cloud Scans assist in helping us to achieve this by removing the need for team members to scale buildings with a tape measure to take measurements which are not always accurate. The tools we use have a 70 meter reach meaning accurate measurements can be collected without costly lifting platforms or towers.
Working hand in hand with other tools and services, Point Cloud Scanning is harnessed along with wider services to achieve accurate, precise results which deliver projects seamlessly. When used with Point Cloud Scanning, 3D Modelling and Drafting, Laser Scanning, Robotic Laser Setting Out and Software Interoperability, a complete spectrum of bespoke solutions can be provided to suit a vast range of requirements.
Programme deadlines can be met or bettered. Budgets can be adhered to and managed with optimised effect. Outstanding results can be achieved. But, perhaps most importantly, projects can be de-risked effectively and staff benefit from improved safety through the reach and capability of the equipment. Ultimately, this provides a more streamlined and accurate approach to project design, whilst actively reducing and minimising pressures associated with ambiguity and grey matter associated with detailed design development.
The truth is, this ambiguity comes at a cost. Cost is an emotive subject that leads to what I call ‘red zone behaviour’. It is these pressures that instigate blame, commercial game playing and finger pointing which all too often play a devastating role in the poor mental health of people within our industry.
Once a taboo subject, mental health wellbeing within our sector has started to be recognised as an important factor in the success (or failure) of projects. According to construction charity, Mates in Mind, one in six individuals in the UK is experiencing depression, anxiety or stress. With over 2.1 million people working within our industry, this equates to 350,000 people who are struggling with their mental health. However, with the introduction of innovative technologies, such as Point Cloud Scanning, enabling accurate and more efficient processes, I believe we are on the verge of transforming cultural behaviour for the better. This is something which I feel passionately about and as more and more companies adopt these innovative resources, tools and strategies I’m confident we’ll see a decrease in these shocking statistics through the prevention of game playing and blame – after all black or white can only be grey if the two are mixed. Clearer more accurate design information creates an ability to know if service will fit or not. At the end of the day, healthier, clearer, confident minds achieve better results, and this is something we can all learn from.
As a result of our investment in Point Cloud Scanning, we are able to roll these benefits out across every project we work on. One example that highlights the capabilities of this tool was our work at one of the UK’s largest retail companies at Merchant Square, Paddington, London. Working within an enclosed space in the basement of the building, we were required to undertake the installation of a new generator – posing potential installation issues as a result of the limited space available. However, our Point Cloud Scanning capabilities meant we were able to collate accurate plans of the space, highlighting that the new generator would not fit through the building’s support mullions. These findings revealed that the generator would need to have a bespoke design, enabling us to share real-time, millimetre accurate information with the generator manufacturer. Without the use of this advanced technology it is likely that the project would have been increasingly complex and problematic.
One thing that we can be sure of is that Point Cloud Scanning, and technology as a whole, is having an impact on our industry on many different levels – it’s not just cost and time savings which need to be considered, but also how the workforce can benefit from new innovation. Technology is transforming the way we work for the better and now is the time to embrace these developments
Could you be part of the revolution?