Enhancing the Construction Workflow with Leica iCON: Lessons from the Arbora Project in Switzerland

The construction industry continues to seek innovative ways to streamline operations, decrease errors, and increase efficiency. One such innovation is the integration of technology into everyday workflows on job sites. Leica iCON solutions - which bring digitisation into familiar workflows through robotic total stations, application-focused field software, and cloud connectivity - are transforming how tasks are conducted on construction sites. 

Zühal Duran Goeminne, a Product Engineer at Leica Geosystems, completed a two-week site visit at the Arbora Project in Lausanne, Switzerland, which comprises constructing numerous residential buildings and shaping surrounding areas. The experience offered her a firsthand opportunity to see how Leica iCON seamlessly enhances construction workflows on complex and challenging projects.

Below she shares her experiences working with iCON technology on different applications and provides tips for construction site professionals to help them make the most of their iCON software. 

The Leica iCON construction portfolio streamlined the Arbora project's construction workflow

As a product engineer for Leica iCON build, I had the chance to fully immerse myself with a construction company for 2 weeks to learn how they operate in today's construction environment and utilise digital layout solutions every day.

Working on the Arbora construction project was an excellent opportunity for me to observe iCON's direct impact on workflow efficiency. With a comprehensive project plan and up-to-date design data, the foremen used iCON build field software with Leica iCON, Leica iCR70 robotic total station, and our AP20 AutoPole. With these tools, we were able to execute diverse layout tasks across several buildings.

A standout benefit of using iCON build was how it helped reduce the time needed for design updates. As multiple buildings were being constructed simultaneously, there was a pressing need for on-site design file updates. The iCON cloud service, known as ConX, played an invaluable role in making sure design files were up to date in the easiest sible way. No one wants to run back to the office several times to fetch the latest file during a hectic day of hard labor on the construction site. ConX linked foremen directly to the server, making it possible to have real-time file updates, which significantly improved the construction workflow., played an invaluable role in making sure design files were up to date in the easiest possible way. No one wants to run back to the office several times to fetch the latest file during a hectic day of hard labor on the construction site. ConX linked foremen directly to the server, making it possible to have real-time file updates, which significantly improved the construction workflow.

The capabilities of Leica iCON field construction software across layout tasks

My first assignment was marking out to the corners on a polyethylene sheet in preparation for the construction of a rebar structure. I positioned the iCR70 using the control points, which were installed by a geomatics engineer and visible from all sides of the construction site. This then allowed me to easily place markers at the corners of the sheet and mark the corner points for the crane base which would be erected later.

On the left: Marking out the corner points on a polyethylene sheet using Leica AP20 AutoPole.

On the right: Control points around the construction site. The blue-lined areas show the construction site, while the control points are highlighted in light green.

 

A routine task throughout my site visit was confirming that the walls were correctly positioned as per the design. For this, I assisted in marking the walls for buildings 1, 2, 3, and 6, using the layout lines application in the Leica iCON build software

The building with their numbers in the Arbora site.

 

These wall markings had to be precise, with an acceptable error margin of only 2mm. Red and blue chalk lines were applied to indicate the wall position on a concrete slab after the corners were marked. Using the iCON technology, we could achieve this high accuracy level and document it for easy reporting.  

Marking the location of the wall by using the layout lines app in iCON significantly enhanced the construction workflow.

 

Leica iCON in common construction workflows  

Apart from the walls, we used the iCON build software to mark the position of building elements from balconies to sewer lines. The points for balconies were also used as guides for placing the scaffolding. Additionally, pairing the iCR70 with the AP20 meant we could easily find and mark the balcony points even when they were at the base of existing walls or other places where it would have been difficult to layout without moving the instrument, adding a new setup and measuring with the red laser. This sped up the work, and guaranteed the high accuracy needed for line layout work. 

Leica iCON verification results from field to office

On the right: Marking the location of the balconies using the AP20 AutoPole with the foreman.

On the left: Marking the location of the balconies by using the layout lines app in iCON.

In another task, I used the layout lines application to trace the path of sewer lines in iCON. This feature allowed me to calculate the accurate distance from the sewer line, enabling the precise placement of iron pickets by the foreman.

Marking the location of the sewer line by using the layout lines app in iCON.

 

Towards the end of the site visit, two new buildings, 10 and 11, were added to the project and iCON smoothly adapted to new developments. The engineer provided new points, which were imported into a new iCON project. Then we used the layout points app to mark the points from these new buildings on the field.

Leica iCON verification results from field to office

On the left: Newly added buildings 10 and 11 in the Arbora project.

On the right: The new points were smoothly imported into iCON software enhancing the construction workflow. 

   

The total station is set up in the middle of the area where the future building 11 will be built.

 

Getting the most out of iCON: Site-inspired tips for even better workflows

From my firsthand experience with the construction crew on the Arbora project, I’ve gathered valuable advice and site-inspired tips. In this section, I share these practical insights to help you optimize your use of iCON and enhance productivity.

  1. Don`t forget about the Toolbox: Explore the tools within this feature.
  2. Experiment with Split Screen/Multiple Views: Don't be afraid of using multiple views. It will improve your project visualization and increase productivity by allowing you to see different aspects of the project at the same time.
  3. Learn Basic CAD File Management: Familiarize yourself with essential CAD file management features, such as turning layers on or off before or after importing. This will simplify your workflow because it allows you to work with the relevant portions of the design by displaying only the preselected elements.
  4. Master the Tap and Hold Function: This often-overlooked function can be particularly useful. Regular use will make operations smoother and more intuitive.
  5. The Cube Symbol: This appears on the left in the map area when a CAD object is hidden. Use it as a reminder to look for any hidden objects before you get confused about missing elements.

Leica iCON: The Future of Construction Workflows

Zühal Duran Goeminne, a Product Engineer at Leica Geosystems, has shared her firsthand experience in enhancing construction workflows using Leica iCON on the Arbora Project in Switzerland. Through her two-week immersion, she demonstrated how the Leica iCON solutions, including iCON build, iCR70 robotic total stations, and AP20 AutoPole, streamlined operations, reduced design update time, and improved efficiency in diverse layout tasks. By effectively using iCON's advanced features in various applications, Zühal provided practical, site-inspired tips to help construction professionals optimize their use of digital layout solutions in the field.

The Leica iCON software suite underscores the transformative power of technology in construction workflows. Despite the complex, demanding, and variable nature of construction tasks, iCON emerges as a potent set of applications that significantly boosts efficiency.

Additionally, the combination of Leica iCON's workflow-friendly features and ConX’s cloud connection eliminates the need for traditional, time-consuming onsite data updates. The software enables quick, simplified adjustments in an ever-changing construction environment, safeguarding the project timeline. The power of easy-to-operate but powerful tools like the robotic total station and AP20 combination further enable uninterrupted productivity and accurate work. Continuously evolving and consistently improving, Leica iCON lays the groundwork for a future in construction where enhanced efficiency is the cornerstone and on-time project deliveries are no longer the ceiling, but the new foundation.

 

Zühal Duran Goeminne, Leica Captivate Product Engineer at Leica Geosystems

Zühal Duran Goeminne, Product Engineer @ Leica Geosystems AG



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