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Technology Buzz in OSU Construction Project

Technology Buzz in OSU Construction Project

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Kiosks with computers and iPads have become just as important as cranes and concrete mixers at construction sites.
This is evident at Ohio State University’s $370 million “North Residential District Transformation” — which will create dormitories, dining halls and a recreation center — where Messer Construction is putting into use several high-tech construction techniques.
“In our business, it’s all about coordination, communication and collaboration,” said Rob Verst, general manager and vice president of Columbus-based Messer, the construction manager for the project.
And this isn’t always easy at a job site as big as the one at Ohio State, where there are about 850 construction workers daily. The project includes 10 new buildings.
“We have (five) electronic kiosks on site, which are electronic planning tables with computers,” Verst said.
The project’s document-control coordinator downloads updated plans and drawings that all the Messer employees and subcontractors have access to in real time.
“That means zero lag time,” he said. “Everyone’s on the same set of music, and this helps us avoid mistakes and accelerate the construction schedule.”
Many workers also carry iPads to tap into the Latista Field mobile app.
“Our managers and subcontractors can walk around with the Latista on their iPads and take a photo of anything they see that is incomplete or deficient, and it goes into the system and is immediately issued to all parties,” Verst said.
These unfinished or deficient items are then prioritized and completed.
“And over time, it helps us see if there are any trends, and our designers and the client can all see it as well,” Verst said of the app.
Despite a harsh winter, the North Residential District Transformation project is on schedule and about halfway to completion.
Messer has played the percentages to stay on schedule.
“We use what we call plan percentage complete,” Verst said of a computer program that tracks the thousands of tasks necessary to complete the project.
“Every week, we do a plan percentage complete, and it identifies any tasks that haven’t been completed, and we can determine if they’re labor-related or material-procurement issues, and then we figure out a way to get back on track,” he said.
The North Residential District Transformation is the largest building project under construction in central Ohio, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s ENR Midwest website.
The project includes seven residential buildings, a dining facility, a residential/dining building and a recreation building, said Ohio State spokesman Daniel Hedman.
“Four residence halls and a dining facility will open at the start of the upcoming academic year, and the rest of the facilities will be completed prior to the fall 2016 semester,” Hedman said.
 

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