Catching up on some construction collaboration technology news…. from Konstru, 3DRepo, TenderSpace, Earthcam / Procore, STACK / Dodge Data, and Holobuilder.
Konstru – web-based 3D BIM interoperability and version control
I have long been interested in the potential of the web to help overcome issues relating to poor interoperability. Being able to share construction information in common formats via a browser was an early win for the SaaS collaboration vendors, but much of the authoring still takes place offline, with version control a continuing headache.
However, January 2017 saw the launch of the beta version of Konstru, a web-based version control and interoperability software for 3D BIM models for structural engineers. According to co-founder Kevin Sandlin: “We created Konstru because, as engineers, we didn’t want to keep building models in different software packages over and over again and continue to get lost in different file versions.”
Speaking of web-based version control, collaboration and BIM … the UK’s 3DRepo’s online platform, BID4Free, recently won an Award at the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) International Innovation & Research Awards (reported BIM+).
The application is based on ‘version control’ software developed by Jozef Doboš as part of his doctorate at University College London during a collaboration between 3D Repo and the Association of Interior Specialists & Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors (AIS FPDC). According to Jozef (when interviewed two years ago):
“We are building an open source web-based tendering software as an extension to our online BIM common data environment. This will allow anyone to tender on a BIM project, on any machine or tablet in any browser, without having to download or pay for software licences.
“Everything we create at 3DRepo is open source so there will not be a charge to use the software. All Tier 1 contractors will pay for is hosting on the 3D Repo server. It can be hosted in the cloud, or on their own servers. We expect to support ourselves through selling services as well as maintaining and hosting the application. What is certain is that the end users, the subcontractors, will not have to pay to use the application.”
Speaking of tendering…. Last year, I met David Stapleton, founder and CEO of UK-based TenderSpace. From the name, I assumed it would be an online service helping construction businesses tender for work (an area I have blogged about many times in relation to tools such as AskTobi, Darley eTender, RICS eTendering, Aconex’s BidConTender, and Australia’s EstimateOne, among others) but David told me: “we are rather more than e-tendering – it’s a name that we could perhaps improve upon in due course.”
Soft-launched in the UK in early 2016, the TenderSpace platform provides several tools aimed at connecting construction at different stages of projects. These include work, team and product finders, a profile builder, a finance checker, a cost analysis tool, a quick quote tool and a project hub (“though not at the level of, say, Aconex,” David said). Full functionality of the work-winning tools likely to be most attractive to construction businesses starts from £280 per annum for up to two users.
STACK estimating teams up with Dodge planrooms
Speaking of tendering again, or ‘bidding’ as it is better known in the US…. American subcontractors can anticipate quicker and more comprehensive access to plans and specifications for commercial building projects, while general contractors can expect quicker and more accurate bids thanks to a new partnership between New York-based Dodge Data & Analytics and Ohio’s STACK Construction Technologies. Dodge provides plan rooms holding blueprints and specifications that users of STACK’s cloud-based takeoff and estimating tools can use to plan, bid and execute projects.
Earthcam teams up with Procore
I got a strong sense of deja vu last week when I saw an announcement, made at the ConExpo trade show in Las Vegas, by Earthcam that it had formed a strategic relationship with US-based construction project management software vendor Procore to offer their users live streaming video and megapixel webcam imagery to document construction projects.
In the UK, I recall my then employer BIW Technologies (later Conject, now part of Aconex) forming a similar strategic partnership with Camvista to offer a similar facility to BIW customers in the early 2000s.
Holobuilder raises US$2.25m
Also at ConExpo was San Francisco-based HoloBuilder, a construction virtual reality startup which has just received an investment of $2.25 million in its first year. The German-American startup uses holographic technology to support reality capture and collaboration using 360° views of project sites. Prices start from US$6 per month per editor. Italo Cruz of Texas-based contractor Rogers-O’Brien Construction said:
“HoloBuilder is one of the most efficient methods that we have in documenting as-built conditions throughout the life of the project. It is basically like having X-ray vision for your building.”