Field Technologies and Real-Time Reporting

FT-04 Topic Summary
FT 04


Advances in field technology and real time reporting have many benefits. Among the most often cited are from the reduction in construction time to provide significant savings with less rework for construction operations with improved quality and productivity. The construction industry lags compared to most industries in regard to utilizing advances in field technology and real time reporting. The primary objective of this research study was to identify how technology and real time reporting can improve construction productivity. The following summarizes the findings in each of these field technology and real time reporting areas:

Construction Technologies

Recent exponential growth in computer networks and wireless capabilities, coupled with more powerful software application, has made it possible to apply information technologies in all phases of the building/facility life cycle. These advances will reduce construction time to a fraction of today’s averages by more effectively orchestrating and closely monitoring the use of labor, equipment and materials on the job site, and will thus provide significant savings through schedule compression, materials and work package optimization and labor reduction, with less rework for construction operations (E4-1, page 5).

Wireless Technologies

Wireless data networks are now common in many office and industrial settings. Wireless data communications offer distinct advantages over wired systems on active construction sites, and the construction industry is starting to adopt such wireless technologies. Wireless systems allow reliable communications in the dynamic and physically harsh construction site environment. In addition, wireless data communications systems represent a significant economic savings over traditional systems by eliminating the need to install expensive fixed infrastructure (e.g., fixed cabling and power sources) for the duration of a construction project (E4-3, page 1).

GPS Technologies

GPS technology can further improve the tracking and locating of tagged materials, specifically fabricated pipe spools, in construction laydown storage. While materials management has been the focus of much industry research, material handling procedures on the construction site have been relatively unexamined and present potential for significant improvements. According to a CII study, the implementation of a basic materials management system on a construction job site conservatively produces 6% improvement in craft labor productivity, while implementation of computerized control provides an additional gain between 4% and 6% (CII, 1986). These technologies were integrated with materials management processes, technology devices, and project management systems. (E4-5, page 10).

Real-Time Field Reporting Using Smart Devices

Based on the research, smart devices offer a variety of features that can be used to perform various construction activities with more comfort and in less time. Mobile devices on construction job sites, used to help perform various construction activities in real time to enhance communication among various stakeholders, will increase the productivity and profitability of construction projects (E4-11, page 6).

Augmented Reality Technologies

Augmented Reality is defined as “a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual, computer-generated imagery.” The intended use of this technology is to help site personnel more efficiently handle and interpret the growing amount of onsite digital information. The use of 3D models and handheld devices, coupled with Augmented Reality technology, enables an operator, engineer, or maintenance technician to better understand advanced modeling data. In addition, it allows personnel to work in a novel, more direct, and intuitive way than they would with written instructions or electronic manuals. This technology provides an alternative perspective to designs through a first-person, immersed interface and interactive mock-up of 3D models (E4-11, page 6).

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Construction Simulation Technologies

(E4-1, page 97)

2 : Wireless Network for Construction

(E4-1, page 97)

3 : RFID for Site Materials Management

(E4-1, page 99)

4 : User End Requirement Survey Results

From the survey results, it can be concluded that the majority of respondents agree that real-time field reporting can benefit construction activities. Also, there is not much variation in the number of positive responses per activity to conclude that one particular activity will benefit more from smart devices than another (E4-11, page 18).

5 : Handheld Device Live Camera View Overlaid with Construction Site Information

Augmented Reality will provide engineers with all the specific information they require when in the field and the ability to access and edit information on site. As a result, the success of this project will create new capabilities and develop current methods and practices within the capital projects industry (E7-1, page 13).


Key Performance Indicators

improved productivity, improved cost, improved schedule, improved quality, improved project information

Related Resources

Emerging Construction Technologies: A FIATECH Catalogue (E4-1)

Publication Date: 10/2005 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-04

Field Study of Wireless Strain Monitoring Technologies (E4-3)

Publication Date: 10/2006 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-04

Field Trials of GPS Technology for Locating Fabricated Pipe in Laydown Yards (E4-5)

Publication Date: 10/2004 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-04

Real-Time Field Reporting Using Smart Devices (E4-11)

Publication Date: 03/2012 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-04

Real-Time Field Reporting Using Smart Devices - Phase II (E4-12)

Publication Date: 03/2017 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-04

Advancing Asset Knowledge through the Use of Augmented Reality Technologies (E7-1)

Publication Date: 04/2013 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-04