New iCON build version 3 5 Why advanced coding is essential to every construction professional

Christoph Lux is product engineer at Leica Geosystems AG in Heerbrugg, responsible for building construction software. He explains the new Leica iCON build v3.5, the software for layout tasks, as-builts and Quality Assurance & Quality Control (QAQC) on construction sites.

In a recent blogpost Bernd Moeller talked about the new Layout Object app. Christoph now tells us more about new coding functionalities for intelligent layout and as-built measurements.

Who can benefit from the Leica iCON build software on construction site?

iCON build is tailored to the needs of building construction professionals. These are mainly construction managers, field engineers, foremen or MEP layout specialists but also, for example, landscape architects. These users have to do measurements and layout tasks on a day to day basis.

There are 3 different groups of building construction professionals who can strongly improve the way they approach layout requirements on site:

  • The first group does layout manually. They use tape measures, calculators and paper plans, often with notepads, computations and additional sketches, to locate and mark points on the ground. This way of manual work gets complicated as soon as measurements have to be done across obstacles or over distances larger than 5 metres or 20 ft or with any angle other than 90°. It takes a lot of time and is prone for many types of errors.
  • The second group of building professionals has left tape measures behind. They are now using manual or robotic total stations - tailored to the special needs of construction professionals. This group has successfully overcome the obstacles of getting started with total stations. Many of these adopters say: "It’s paying off. Why didn't we use total stations earlier?" They appreciate the time saving factor, the layout accuracy and other major advantages, such as being able to store measurements, and simply being able to do ALL the necessary layout from ONE setup location or to make complicated changes quickly in the field with no need for going back to the office.
  • The third group starts to discover the potential of using codes and information enriched plans after being sick of calling the design office asking the same questions again and again, like "Are points #354 through #361 electrical or plumbing?" Standardized code lists - meaning identical code lists used throughout a project or a company – unlock the full potential of coding to this group.

On their individual way to digitalisation, all of them can improve their daily measurement work considerably with Leica iCON build.

Can you tell us more about the advantages of using codes on site?

Coding is an excellent time saver. Just about everyone doing layout in the field has run into this situation: "Is this point a hanger or emergency lighting box?" or "Are these points representing a concrete wall or interior drywall?" With coding, such questions in the field are avoided. The information which type of point you are going to layout is directly available on your map screen.

Imagine doing as-built or data collection. You can code captured points, for example: "These 2 points will be existing sprinkler locations, these 3 points will be existing floor drains.” When you pass this information back to the office, the office manager doesn't have to guess what the captured points are. Field book notes turned in by the engineer get obsolete.

When coding is done correctly, it will minimize call-backs, re-work and time for post-processing.

How will the new Leica iCON build 3.5 improve measurement and layout tasks for construction professionals?

First, users of the new version 3.5 now benefit from advanced modeling functionality. Information enriched drawings (IFC files) can be loaded directly into the field software. What you get is a fully rendered design model in the field.

Select a wall by just tapping on it and all the necessary points and lines are available for layout: for example columns, slabs or pipe hangers. Anything that is an object can be selected and laid out directly in the field. With ONLY, an IFC file loaded - no DXF, no DWG and no additional point file, like txt or csv, laid over top is needed. Benefit from one file, with everything you need for layout including additional properties information for each object. Just like in the office modeling software.

The new Layout Object app, coming with version 3.5, is worldwide, the first of its kind. Very intuitive, it helps to find the right points in a complex 3D file on the field tablet. Previously difficult and cumbersome drawings are now tackled with ease.

Second, we help the user to better find his way through 2D and 3D drawings on the field tablet. Have you ever experienced laying out from drawings densely packed with lines and codes? Cumbersome, right? With the new solution you can assign particular types of codes to different layers. For example concrete work, electrical installation or plumbing installation. Each layer can be hidden or unhidden. The user sees only what he needs for the particular task at hand.


Left: Information overload: map screen packed with everything Right: With iCON build the user sees only what he needs for his actual work.

Third, codes can be enriched with colors and symbols. Green triangles could mean emergency lighting, while yellow squares could mean building slab corners. There are 6 different symbols each available in 10 colours. If each code group has its own color and symbol, users have a visual reference. This new functionality improves readability of the map screen in the field.


Advanced coding functionality with colors and symbols

This video shows how to use the new coding function:

Seems like you have done several meaningful steps towards full digitalisation of construction site.

I totally agree. Digitalisation currently is one of the main topics discussed in construction industry. In northern America, in countries like Singapore and in many European countries, BIM is already part of daily business. Many other countries will follow in the near future as new governmental regulations determine that public projects will have to apply BIM or digitalisation standards in order to comply. iCON build 3.5 is tailored to the needs of construction professionals. It will help to bridge BIM between office to field and back.

"After viewing the new iCON build 3.5 I am excited for the update. The IFC support is a game changer. With the ability to select an object and have points populate the vertices we won’t have tons of points cluttering up the screen anymore.
With the new Zlider bar we can really focus on what we want to see quickly and easily. Today we don’t use points for layout as much as we do lines, but I can see how using symbols and colors to quickly distinguish between different types of points will be a huge advantage now. I really like the direction Leica Geosystems is heading."

C.J. Curtis, VDC Field Engineer, Brasfield and Gorrie

What is the key benefit of the new iCON build 3.5 software on construction site, in your opinion?

3D data enriched with digital information - the "I" of BIM - is now directly available on site. It empowers building construction professionals to transfer designs containing crucial information electronically and easily to the site, use it, enrich it and send it back in the same way. It’s offering a new way to work and increase efficiency in all steps of the construction process.

Where can we learn more about the new software?

There are several options:

When can we expect the software release?

The release is planned for the first week of April.

Christoph, many thanks for the conversation!

With pleasure!


Christoph Lux, Application
Engineer Construction
Solutions Leica Geosystems,


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