Three tech tools transforming VolkerFitzpatrick’s site ops

Alex Elderton, head of digital transformation at VolkerFitzpatrick, spoke at the Digital Construction Summit 2023, in association with Elecosoft, about the digital systems changing the contractor’s site operations. Here, he picks out three simple tools making a big impact.

Marzipano – for site familiarisation

Image: VolkerFitzpatrick
Image: VolkerFitzpatrick

“We use Marzipano for site familiarisation. It’s an open-source piece of software. It’s a shareable URL, so there’s no software to install. We use drone imagery, which we can break into 3D models that people can explore, using their phone. And they can start to understand the site as they move around the model.

“We use it for inductions. We use it when we’re discussing the project with stakeholders so they can understand the site better.

“It’s a super simple tool to use and very few buttons for people to press, but it gives them a very good appreciation, instantly, of what a site is like. And we keep that updated throughout the life of the project.”

PIX4D – for logistics planning

Image: VolkerFitzpatrick
Image: VolkerFitzpatrick

“PIX4D is photogrammetry software, which uses drone imagery. It’s evolved massively over the last year in particular with the integration of things like IFC, for models, and also DXF for drawings. With DXF integration, you can overlay lots and lots of different datasets onto the drawings.

“Site teams can use this without having to download any software, it’s all cloud-based, it’s easily shareable across many stakeholders, and helps people to understand information in context. It gives you a really good understanding of how the site looks at the start, compared to what it is you’re actually building.

"With 3D mode, you can bring added depth of context for the site team. So when they’re planning their works, when they’re trying to understand how they can access areas, and the logistics, they can use this tool to show or hide the relevant information to support those discussions on site and support the collaboration and decision-making with individuals. It’s very easy to use.”

Mural – for daily site coordination

Image: VolkerFitzpatrick
Image: VolkerFitzpatrick

“I’m a big fan of Mural, it’s another simple tool, which we’ve used on our East London Film Studios project. When we sat down with the project team, the daily coordinators and supervisors wanted a system where they could bring up drone imagery of the site on screen and draw over the top to plan their activity, and how they access different areas. It’s very simple for them to use and highly effective.”

To hear more from Alex Elderton on the digital tools he’s using at VolkerFitzpatrick, watch the Digital Construction Summit session on demand:
Collaboration: the key to making the most of data

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