Digital Construction for All: NCC works smarter and sustainably with Leica iCON
Achieving sustainability through smart project management
NCC is a leading Nordic construction company supporting sustainable development in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. With experience in large projects from renovations to new construction, NCC has taken on the challenge to construct the Science Park Towers in central Jönköping, Sweden, an entire city block development scheduled for completion in 2023.
When finished, the Science Park Towers will offer an environment that fosters sustainable entrepreneurship, providing office spaces and conference and event venues. The project leader, Jönköpings kommuns Fastighetsutveckling AB, wanted sustainability to be evident in the final towers and throughout the construction process, encouraging the integration of digital solutions to measure and manage impact – making NCC the perfect partner as the general contractor in this endeavour.
NCC implements sustainability through smart project management of complex construction processes, optimising the role each employee fills by investing in technology that can be used for a variety of tasks and by a range of personnel. This is made possible by the Leica iCON iCR80 total station and Leica iCON software, a construction-tailored solution that allows NCC’s surveyors to focus on specialised tasks and enables construction personnel to learn and execute new skills.
Building for the future
Science Park Towers is an entire city block consisting of a lower brick base and four towers of varying heights, from seven to fifteen floors. In total, the buildings will cover around 13,000 square metres.
“The project started with minor demolition work on existing surfaces. Then we knocked down the sheet piles around two thirds of the building and excavated five metres before beginning foundation work. There have been many layout and as-built measurements so far, and more to come,” describes Andreas Persson, Site Manager for NCC Infrastructure in Jönköping.
Some of the most commont tasks on the project include underground pipes and wiring and exterior and interior walls and slabs, along with some height measurements.
“A lot of it is about basic tasks – setting out points and drawing lines with stringlines so we know where the different elements of the formwork or walls should be,” Persson continues.
Laying out a line for a wall is an example of a construction site task that, in the past, has caused a productivity bottleneck when crews had to wait hours for a surveyor to arrive and layout lines. “Our Jönköping team has two surveyors, and they are usually fully booked. They are constantly travelling, moving over large geographical areas and working on several projects at once,” explains Persson.
However, by thinking innovatively and using the right equipment, the on-site team can execute the task themselves. Using the Leica iCON iCR80 total station and the Leica iCON CC80 tablet running Leica iCON field software construction-tailored software, these small measurement and layout tasks are now distributed to the site crew, who can progress faster in their work when they are not dependent on surveyors for all measurement tasks.
“Operation is simple, and the equipment is robust and reliable. Additionally, we are close to the Leica Geosystems product specialist in Jönköping and that provides extra reassurance if we need help,” says Persson.
Making the right use of resources
“The aim of this approach,” explains Persson, “is to use our resources better and more wisely. We increase productivity and get a better flow of work. The surveyors are also satisfied, and still very much involved in the project.” NCC’s surveyors are still key to project success: as data managers they are involved in all preparation steps and quality assurance, complete as-built measurements and create documentation deliverables for clients. “The surveyors have a better everyday life with this new workflow and, for example, don’t have to travel 19 kilometres between Jönköping and Eksjö and back just to lay out a few simple lines. Additionally, fewer trips are better from a sustainability standpoint and safer from a work environment perspective,” Persson adds.
Everyone can participate and develop
Work on the Science Park Towers involves many members of the NCC team. In the morning, the Leica iCON iCR80 total station is set up so that layout and as-builts are completed as needed by several employees. “Working in this way is good for both foreman and skilled workers who want to embrace and learn the technology. In this phase of the project, I’m even doing measurements myself for a couple of hours a day,” says Persson. The practice of taking your own simple measurements is widespread and increasing in popularity. “As far as I know, one to two NCC foreman per project in the Jönköping region are doing layout for interior walls without the surveyors present,” Persson continues, “and I think it will become more common to work in this way.”
Additionally, the technology developed specifically for construction, like the Leica iCON solution, helps attract the younger generations entering the industry, as computer technology and integrated systems are natural for young workers, removing steep learning curves and barriers for use.
Distributing layout and as-built tasks to more workers creates additional benefits for the employees and organisation overall in terms of skill development. It provides experience and new knowledge as construction crews can learn how to understand drawings and gain additional context for their work through an understanding of a project’s whole picture.
“Quickly we have increased productivity on the job site and saved carbon emissions through fewer trips – all while maintaining quality. Additionally, we are broadening the skills within the organisation, which alone is a significant gain,” reflects Persson.
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