Digital transformation«We connect all construction sites – data is our foundation»
19. April 2021 | Images: Föllmi AG, Sunrise
Feusisberg is humming with the sound of excavators and drilling machines. For now, visitors can only see a big, dusty hole in the ground. At the very edge, there’s a red container: the site office. On the surface, it all seems like a run of the mill construction site. But there’s something more going on here.
It is a cold winter’s day in Feusisberg. The air is clear, the sun is out and the ground creaks underneath our feet. We are visiting the site together with Barbara Kuriger. Construction is underway for the new headquarters of her company, Föllmi AG. The noise of construction machinery can be heard from a distance, and dust rises from the pit. A mighty, red excavator is digging away. Lorries haul away the material.
The digital future is already upon us today
Barbara Kuriger leads us to a red container towering over the pit. We set foot in the temporary construction site office, where the Head of Administration of Föllmi AG talks enthusiastically of her latest digital project: «We’re equipping all our sites with mobile networks and tablets. This makes us much more flexible and opens up possibilities of mobile collaboration.»
Joining by video
The tablets can also be used for live videoconferences. Partners and employees who are not on site can be included in decision-making processes right away. Any changes are discussed in a straightforward manner and approvals obtained quickly. «Live communication allows us to optimize the planning and delivery of material and equipment,» explains Barbara Kuriger. «It makes it easier for us to see what’s missing and identify any changes to, for example, masses or quantities.»
And that’s not all. Barbara Kuriger is a digital native who sees far greater possibilities still. She has a vision of a digital construction site and has a pragmatic approach to realizing that vision. «We are quickly implementing everything we can do ourselves, without the help of partners or suppliers. Our final goal is completely digitally supported construction, also with the support of so-called building information modeling (BIM).» Ms. Kuriger stipulates that this will still be in the works for some time, because all partners need to digitize their work processes for BIM to function at a site. Today, this is not yet the case.
Virtually simulating construction progress
Föllmi is unfazed by the challenges and keeps investing in digitalization. Among these investments is the training of one employee in various fields of BIM/VDC. «To make sure we are prepared later on,» says Barbara Kuriger with an eye towards the future. Whenever she speaks of the digital future, her excitement is palpable.
IoT will simplify construction logistics
She sees additional digital applications in the Internet of Things (IoT), with machines being connected directly to each other or sensors automatically triggering material or equipment orders whenever they are missing on a site or if something breaks. Augmented reality glasses can expand the various tablet features, for example, by allowing a virtual simulation of construction progress or simplifying quality assurance for construction acceptance.
A temporary solution for seamless connectivity
Simple, yet effective
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