The importance of precise measurements

The ability to produce and work from accurate estimates can mean the difference between projects which maximise profitability and those that eat into profit margins. Measurement inaccuracies can often result in rework or even more extreme measures, such as having to completely restart a project. Therefore, during the early stages of a project, precise measurement data is one of the key information sets that can help ensure a robust project plan. Fortunately, technology is available that can help improve measurement accuracy, thereby keeping projects on track.

Why measurement matters

Every project is defined by the measurements that make up each asset – be that floor area, the diameter of the drainage pipes required, or how much rail track needs to be laid. Any discrepancy in this information therefore has a significant effect on design and construction costs and timeframes. In addition, time is also required to update any designs or documentation, as well as check and re-issue them. This rework is an additional cost, which is further compounded if the error has been discovered after a project or phase has been completed on site.

A less obvious impact is the effect on the decision-making process, as choices are often made based on measurement information. Materials and components may be ruled out for budgetary or availability reasons, or the site access or layout may be more problematic to plan as it appears there is less room than anticipated. Discovering an inaccuracy in the measurements can affect a wide range of activities, requiring many decisions to be reviewed and potentially allowing more discrepancies to creep in.

Although there are many different causes of rework on projects, inaccurate measurements are one of the main contributors. Some may argue that it would be nearly impossible to completely remove all the potential sources of error in a project. However, measurement is one area where this risk can be completely avoided.

Site visit

How technology is helping

The shift to Building Information Modelling (BIM) and 3D design has helped address this problem – clashes between project elements or collisions with site features are much easier to detect in 3D, for example. And whilst this has increased measurement accuracy to a degree, some key measurements are still difficult to obtain accurately and easily, such as site measurements. Traditionally, these have only been able to be obtained by physically visiting site, which takes time, costs money, and increases safety risks to staff.

Sensat's Common Visualisation Environment ® (CVE) can change that. Thanks to big data, all the project information can be integrated into one central location and combined with a digital twin of the site. A drone photogrammetric survey could be carried out for a site and the data uploaded to the CVE. Using advanced data capture and visualisation methods, not only would all the measurements from the survey be incredibly accurate, but a 3D virtual replica of the site could be interrogated from the office. Any required measurements can be quickly extracted from the CVE, with the confidence that they are precise.

For example, if some retrofit works were required to an existing train station, Sensat's CVE would enable the engineers to determine if the proposed new equipment would fit in the desired space. If not, they have all the information they require to either find a new location for the equipment, or to take as many measurements as needed to find alternatives that will fit. On the construction side, the contractor could quickly determine the area available for materials storage or measure the existing site accesses to ensure that the required plant can use them. With a CVE, all of this work could be completed without the need for repeated site visits.

Sensat's measurement tool

Better data for better decisions

Accurate measurements are the foundation of reliable decision-making. Being able to easily access measurement data helps support data-driven choices throughout the project life cycle. With a CVE, this information can be stored, managed, and retrieved when needed, helping to avoid costly rework, save time, and improve safety.

When it comes to creating a project plan, reliable decision-making is a must-have for developing a robust strategy. However, a CVE can help with all aspects of project planning.

Download our ebook, 3 ways to improve the construction planning phase, which covers how to create a comprehensive plan that achieves project objectives and reduces risk.

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