Kier trials robot that monitors progress and H&S on site
Kier is one of three international contractors trialling new robotic technology designed to automate onsite progress tracking and check for health and safety hazards.
The four-wheeled robot, developed by European Barcelona-based start-up Scaled Robotics, is fitted with a range of sensors that enable it to manoeuvre autonomously around a building site and capture detailed 3D survey scans and panoramic photos of ongoing construction.
Online software then compares the 3D as-built survey information against the original BIM model to automatically identify any discrepancies or deviations from the design to help contractors keep tabs on quality and progress.
Kier piloted the system on the £22m Harris Academy scheme in Bromley, Greater London, and another project in Cambridge. Other trials are underway with the civil engineering and construction firms AF Gruppen, in Norway and Dura Vermeer, in the Netherlands. A principal investor in the technology is German formwork and scaffolding company PERI.
Stuart Maggs, CEO of Scaled Robotics, told BIM+: “We’re basically automating progress tracking to ensure that contractors understand precise progress on site to keep things ticking over smoothly. Site managers need to know things like how many ducts have been installed that day, whether steel columns are in the right place, or if edge protection is fully compliant – we can help them answer these questions without having to physically check themselves, which allows them to focus on the more important task of solving issues that arise.”
The robot trundles around the site every night, capturing detailed 3D point clouds and 360 degree high resolution photos. According to Maggs, “the robot prefers a flat surface, but it doesn’t have to be”.