skip to navigation


The Future of Layout, Part 4: A Few More RTS Myths Busted!

Model coordination meetings should limit clashes so limiting the need to make the decisions on-site.

While coordination meetings help to limit clashes, they still happen and can have costly ripple affects to a company’s bottom line. Multiple AEC elements obstructing one another: Managing layout of each AEC element and ensuring clashes are dealt with ‘on-the-job’ is far simpler on smaller installations. Often ‘clashing’ elements can be worked around each other. However, on larger projects it is not enough to ask for one element to be placed over/below/around another, as this may then run into a second clash with a third element. This second work around would involve a wider rectification, which may infringe on another element, and so on until a solution cannot be found. Eventually, it may occur that an AEC element then interferes with the installation of another contractor’s or team’s work. Also, when ‘working around’ an issue, we create problems when considering building maintenance post-construction, as AEC elements will deviate from their logical course or design. Modern construction firms are wise to the impact of poorly organized and installed building elements and will judge a company on issues found post-construction. AEC elements obstructing other building elements: Many reports of clash include instances where AEC elements are installed in a location obstructing the work of another industry or sector team. If items are placed in a location the AEC contractor believes will work rather than in the designed location, and this location also happens to be the location for a wall construction or installation, it will mean expensive remedial works are needed. Similarly, where layout occurs in a post concrete pour environment, or as-built environment, deviation from plan to solve a clash could mean penetration or damage of pre-existing building elements, incurring yet another cost for the AEC contractor. In both situations, ‘working around’ clashes will always result in lost time and wasted materials adding cost to the AEC contractor’s work.

Misconception 5

Costs for the RTS are prohibitive – many businesses are not large enough to realize the ROI.

It’s true, Robotic Total Stations and their software can appear expensive to a smaller business. However, they can also use the benefits of early engagement with RTS technologies to grow. Jared Atkins, of Atkins Land Surveying, a small business, bought a RTS on recommendation from a peer. He calculated that half of the cost could be saved from savings on labor costs of third party contracting. It would also allow his business to instantly scale to the size of  a more heavily staffed organisation, as his productivity when laying-out had doubled, and in some cases, tripled. In other words, working solo, he was able to layout a site twice as quickly as a regular layout team – usually consisting of at least two people.

Misconception 6

The savings aren’t real – they won’t improve my bottom line.

This is simply not true. Savings from the use of a RTS can be seen in: » Reduced remedial works due to increase in QC/QA documentation and recording – an immediate reduction      in cost » Improved efficiency while on-site – reduction in labor cost » Fewer errors in AEC element locations (another remedial work saving) – an immediate reduction in cost » Reduced resource required to complete works – an immediate reduction in cost Another option for AEC contractors is a new innovation – the Trimble Rapid Positioning System. This layout tool, priced less than a typical RTS system, provides all the layout functions an AEC team would need. It works from paper, digital plans or 3D models and can be used by anyone on the team and has an easily realized ROI.

Next week – RTS Success Stories from Around the Globe!