Vinci’s clever use of data and AI at a cancer hospital project deservedly took top prize in the Best Use of Data category, sponsored by the UK BIM Alliance, at the Digital Construction Awards last night (12 July).
Vinci Construction has made impressive productivity gains through its innovative approach to using project progress data.
In March 2021, working with US firm Openspace, the contractor introduced 360 data capture for recording site progress. After the initial implementation, Vinci looked at how it could link this data to the construction programme in real-time.
On the HCA Cancer Care Hospital in Birmingham, Vinci used AI to convert 360-degree images into a measurable record of progress for different project elements, including concrete, internal walls, ceilings and building services.
After successfully testing this system, Vinci examined how it could use this data and the AI system to identify other construction efficiencies.
The standard process for updating the programme on the HCA project was a weekly site inspection, time-consuming and inefficient, taking each construction manager 3.5 hours per week and the planner six hours. Vinci wanted to increase the efficiency of this process and improve planning activities using the structured data captured.
“A great idea and the use of AI to extract data from the site provided real practical benefits. There was a people focus before the technology was launched, to get people to understand the ‘why’ first.”
In response, its digital team developed a ‘Smart Data Connection’ (SDC). This automates data entry from any structured data source and connects this information into a new ‘Digital Information Hub’, using Microsoft Azure infrastructure.
This only requires the completion of a weekly site walk. The AI platform’s productivity analysis is also saved as a record in the hub and used as a baseline in future project planning.
The introduction of the SDC has followed Vinci’s ‘Digital Driven by Desire’ principles, where staff receive a demonstration of any new technology’s benefits before its introduction and are encouraged to propose changes and improvements.
The implementation of SDC has produced impressive gains for Vinci’s construction team at the HCA project, with a 60% efficiency improvement in time taken by construction managers for site inspections and a 50% improvement for the planner. Vinci also managed to reduce the construction programme from 113 weeks to 110 weeks.
Marco Bonelli, lead digital engineer at Vinci Construction UK, said: "We were able to save 60% on site inspections just by keeping data in one point and flowing it to different parts of the business.“
Best Use of Data shortlist:
- 51 Moorgate | Skanska UK
- ARC (Automated Cable Routing Management System) | Bryden Wood with Transport for London
- 360 real-time reporting | Multiplex
- QFlow on SCS Railways | SCS Railways, Q Flow, HS2
- The Forge | Sir Robert McAlpine, Mace, Landsec, Bryden Wood