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SKUR – Aiding The Construction Industry By Visualizing Variance

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SKUR is a recent start up from California focused in “Visualizing Variance” for the construction industry. What does that mean? Well, according to them, it means “utilizing sensor data aiming to decrease cost overruns and delays.” In more practical terms, it means “taking a design model and a current point cloud of the same asset, and generating a visual representation of the differences between the two.” Using cloud computing and advanced algorithms, SKUR may have created software that will become a necessity for the construction industry.

Imagine being able to compare 3D models with reality and knowing exactly how the two differ. It could probably clear up a few misunderstandings, right? It is all about quality control. And this goes both ways. Whether you want to compare built reality to the model during construction, or if you want to compare a building model created of an existing building that is about to be retrofitted or renovated.

According to SKUR founder Adam Cohen, “Scanning more often and utilizing SKUR can provide contractors and asset owners with significantly more vision of how their project is progressing. This provides a invaluable resource around managing quality control and resource management, whether that’s for labor, supply chain and ultimately facilities management.”

How, exactly, does it work? Using the project’s 3D design file as the basis for comparison, laser scans are used to track the progress of construction and then are held back up against the original design to check for variations. In the picture below, you can see one of the comparisons for a steel structure. The stoplight color model gives a good overview about the situation based on the user-defined accuracy thresholds. The heat map provides more detailed visibility into the variances and their locations. The aspects of the project that match the design exactly are colored green. Yellow coloring signifies a slight change from the design, and red signifies a significant change. SKUR provides the results in an augmented design file that includes also a vector indicating the discrepancy direction. All of this is provided in a .pdf report containing the discrepancy values for each element, like a column or a wall.

Pretty cool, right? SKUR hopes that this will help construction projects with staying on time and on budget – which are both things building projects are notorious for not doing. And SKUR isn’t stopping there. Another goal of the company is to make this data accessible to all the different experts on the construction site. They want to give the project leaders the simplest form of the data possible to aid them in making decisions on the project.

“Our primary focus is to enhance workflow, not complicate it. If a project engineer consumes SKUR in a BIM environment we provide the augmented file where the data is shown as layers. If the subject expert is in a different role in an office or part of the external project ecosystem we can provide them with dashboard data. Providing actionable information that is easily consumable is really what SKUR is all about,” said Cohen. SKUR’s software allows their customers to keep their models up-to-date with the construction and makes it possible to give asset owners a full history of the construction of their building as well as a true as-built model.

What’s more, SKUR doesn’t want their software’s usefulness to be limited only to the construction phase of a building; they also have a plan for software that can be utilized during the operation and maintenance phases. SKUR is built to integrate not only point clouds but additional sensor data that can be geospatially oriented to the design model.

Cohen shared his vision of where SKUR is going, “Over time we’ll integrate different sensors that will create even more value with functions like assessing concrete cure rates or measuring thermal performance of a building. Our vision is that the design model ultimately becomes a true virtual representation of the asset that can be utilized on a daily basis for operations, creating value for a variety of people and functions.” And we at BUILTR believe that vision is worth pursuing, and one that SKUR will almost definitely be able to realize.