Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

X-Ray Vision

Visually tracking job progress is always important. Back a few decades ago, our Project Superintendents would send in film and we had a service that would develop it so we could file photos of the work progress. When digital photography became available, I remember that we had one camera for the whole office and staff would check it in and out from the receptionist. At some point, all of our folks were equipped with point-and-shoot digital cameras, and of course now we all carry cameras in our pockets every day. The running joke is that the intended subject of the photos is never the content that becomes helpful later on, instead it was always something caught in the background that became the priceless documentation.

As of a couple of years ago, we’ve been using a 360 degree spherical camera on some of our projects. This device has dual lenses, each with 180 degree field of view, that are automatically stitched together into one spherical image that captures the walls, floor and ceiling, all in one high resolution photograph. We use these images for pre-construction documentation, and then again to capture various stages of work progress like wall rough-ins. These are stored in our PlanGrid platform, and we can literally see inside the walls after the drywall is finished. They also work with VR glasses, and can be enhanced when coupled with a laser scan to create a 3D model.

There are new advancements in construction technology every day, some with more value than others.  As it is said, it’s better to be on the leading edge than the bleeding edge. Hopefully we are staying where we need to be.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.