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Developing Mobile 3D Data Collection, Processing and Dissemination Solution for Construction SME-s

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Handheld building power

New handheld technology with three-dimensional imaging and administrative features has the potential to render the European construction sector highly competitive and gain savings in building costs as well.

Digital Economy icon Digital Economy

Europe's construction industry is facing tough competition from Asia according to the European Construction Industry Federation, which represents 2.4 million small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers, with 2.3 million members, is also echoing these concerns. This is especially due to competition from ultra-low cost, low-experienced migrant workers and companies in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, 25 % to 50 % of engineering and management time on construction sites is wasted due to incorrect communication or non-conformity, causing delays and waste in the billions of euros. To combat both challenges, construction efficiency must be improved and the construction sector must provide significant added value over its Asian counterparts. The EU-funded project 'Developing mobile 3D data collection, processing and dissemination solution for construction SMEs' (Mobi3Con) provides inexpensive, handheld solutions for easy three-dimensional (3D) data management at the construction site. The project is overcoming the gap in 3D information between the actual on-site situation and information stored in the construction stakeholders' databases. This rugged and robust handheld 3D navigation and 3D data processing system can be used on-site and in different field conditions, facilitating 3D data management significantly. The handheld unit will be used for data gathering, processing and visualisation. It will boast a task management feature and other important tools for on-site management such as supplier contacts and construction drawings. The Mobi3Con project is heavily driven by Building Information Modelling (BIM) software and integrates BIM into the construction phase, rather than employing it only during the design phase. The equipment will feature a relatively large display with touch sensitivity to be able to display drawings. The initial cost of the device should be between EUR 400 and EUR 500, to be marketed to Europe's entire construction sector, which employs 11.8 million people. About EUR 910 billion was invested in construction in 2003, representing 10 % of the gross domestic product and 51.2 % of the gross fixed capital formation of the EU. Estimates show that this technology could save EUR 6.2 billion annually and reduce design deviations in construction SMEs estimated at EUR 2.8 billion. The Mobi3Con market study highlights strong market readiness for such a device, to be used by medium-level construction workers, managers and experts. With this handheld device, improved visualisation, 3D rendition, communication, client management and supplier management will all contribute towards reduced costs and enhanced efficiency.

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