Barton Malow and New Technologies
MCCEI recently had a conversation with Barton Malow’s Alan Todd (Senior VDC Manager) to discuss the new technologies they have put into practice to not only improve efficiencies in their business practices, but also to increase safety practices for their workers.
MCCEI: What are the new offerings (equipment) that Barton Malow has in terms of new technology?
Barton Malow: Our exoskeleton is an example. We’ve recently partnered with suitX to provide an exoskeleton that is wearable in three different modules: Shoulder, Back, and Leg. Leg X supports weight for folks working in low positions with a hammer or drill. Shoulder X helps with overhead work supporting arms at one’s side to slowly raise the arms parallel with the floor, then springs activate to help arms go further into the air. Back X assists with heavy loads, intended to lessen the occurrence of back injuries. Another example of our offerings is our hard hat in partnership with GuardHat. This ‘smart helmet’ monitors heart rate and includes sensors to warn the worker if they are in an unsafe position near heavy equipment or if carbon monoxide levels are high in the area.
MCCEI: Do you think new tech appeals to millennials?
Barton Malow: Definitely, I started in architecture in DC and instantly gravitated to REVIT. On the construction side, new technologies are popping up, such as laser scanning and enhanced safety initiatives, communication, productivity. Millennials can now be interested in construction if they have an interest in design or immersive technology.
MCCEI: What opportunities did you see to trend toward these new technologies?
Barton Malow: The safety benefits is something we’re very sensitive to. These technologies limit liability and protect employees. We’re also partnering with Trimble, which is where the Holo-lens comes into play with mixed reality.
MCCEI: Tell me about Barton Malow’s BIM offerings.
Barton Malow: 3D trade coordination, new construction or renovation, 3D environment communicate and collaborate would all be examples. Barton Malow’s BIM execution plan includes: Design/build, collaboration with the architect, 4D tying to 3D model, allowing to virtually see the project coming together. More examples would be reading a GANT chart, identifying inefficiencies in a schedule, using 5D tools to enhance cost certainty, and cost loading, which is the model for quantity takeouts.
MCCEI: Speaking of these offerings, how have virtual technologies, such as VR transformed the construction industry?
Barton Malow: VR is still making a big impact, VR is further along than MR or AR at this point. Power VR goggles from CPU as opposed to onboarding are not connected to a computer. Virtual Reality drives decisions earlier in the process which makes the project less costly, forwarding certainty of design and schedule. AR and MR tech are so new, so we’re still having problems with hardware/getting models aligned exactly in a real world scenario VR also helps to locate where ducts and pipes are above a given ceiling. VR still needs a high level of accuracy, but just is not there yet…it’s continuing to improve.
MCCEI: Is there anything Barton Malow sees on the horizon in terms of emerging technologies?
Barton Malow: AI, or artificial intelligence, which involves machine learning is a prime example. SMART VID.IO, uses job site cameras to monitor where workers are who don’t have hard hats or gloves in unsafe conditions to receive alerts. INDUS.AI, also uses camera technology and tracks the excavator to see how frequently it is being used. This drives efficiencies, saves money, brings down rental costs, monitors license plates, and tracks the trucks going in and out.