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Skanska’s £1m ‘digital tag and track’ project to be operational by 2017

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A £1m Skanska-led project to implement real-time ‘tagging and tracking’ of building components from the factory floor to the finished building aims to create a workable system by the end of the research period in 2017.

The two-year research project, which secured a £500,000 Innovate UK grant in April, will investigate methods of tagging components by capturing data from multiple supply-chain partners.

Ian Brixey, principal consultant at Skanska, told BIM+: “Tag and track does exactly what it says on the tin. It will allow through life real-time tracking from the supply chain to the construction stage and then onto the operations and maintenance stage.

“By using the latest digital techniques, we intend to get to a stage where the ‘marking’ of project components, in the form of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags/barcodes, facilitates real-time monitoring of the manufacturing process, delivery to site, storage and installation.

“Once in place, the tagged components will remain for the life-cycle of the project, providing accurate information to those that need it. This level of information allows progress on projects to be monitored against plans and timescales.”

A traffic light system will be used to identify whether components are, or are not, at the correct stage of production or delivery as dictated by a schemes schedule. This means that any potential delays can be flagged earlier in the process.

By tracking all the components in the system chain Brixey believes that great savings can be made for both project timescales and quality control. “This bites into the government’s 2025 targets significantly. It will reduce delays and defects by giving contractors more control over the management of quality control,” he said.

The programme will be designed to be integrated with BIM. Component quantities can be drawn down from a model at the start of the procurement process with information pushed back when needed so that it can be used for FM.

“It’s like a jigsaw, the system can be used with BIM or used without,” added Brixey.

After carrying out work to develop the system Skanska aims to have a pilot scheme in operation in the summer of 2016, although a project has not yet been identified for the pilot. 

Skanska will work alongside its partners BRE, which will be designing the internet portal for the system, and wireless communications consultant Multiple Access Communications and doorset manufacturer Leaderflush Shapland to develop the research.

By using the latest digital techniques, we intend to get to a stage where the ‘marking’ of project components, in the form of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags/barcodes, facilitates real-time monitoring of the manufacturing process, delivery to site, storage and installation.– Ian Brixey, principal consultant, Skanska