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An Assessment of Point Layout Software Used in Building Information Modeling

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Point Layout is Autodesk’s field point layout software used to generate layout points from a 3D model, CAD files, or DWG files. These points are then exported to a total station in the field that is used to layout the project quickly and in a more accurate manner than through manual layout. When properly applied, it can result in layout being performed at two to three times the rate of a two man crew from only one person. Marek has used field point layout sporadically over the past few years. The assessment of its implementation has ranged between success and failure.

The success stories have several common denominators. Complete buy in from all parties involved was the first factor of success. The BIM team, the project managers, and the field all agreed that the use of this technology was beneficial to the project and reinforced this continuously. Communication was another vital component. The team members corresponded throughout the project allowing quick resolution to any issues. The most important key to the successful implementation of the lay-out system was our field personnel. Having a well-trained staff to man the total stations was paramount in achieving the desired benefits of this technology.

A distinct pattern could be found on the projects where we were unable to obtain our desired results. First and foremost, we tried to implement a new technology using personnel that were not adequately trained. Next, the lines of communication broke down between all parties. With no solutions to field issues being offered, this quickly led to a lack of confidence in the product. Once this apprehension concerning the device set in, the buy-in was lost from those needed to reinforce the use of the total stations. Basically, we took all the attributes of our successes and did the exact opposite.

In an effort to properly implement this new lay-out system, the BIM department is working hand-in-hand with our project management team. We are looking to develop the processes and procedures necessary to ensure success. This will involve training for our field personnel to become proficient in the use of the lay-out devices. We will implement team training in order provide an understanding of the overall process and instill confidence in the product. Our goal is to communicate at every level. Feedback will be necessary to quickly resolve issues as well as to implement successful strategies.

We are asking our field to radically change how lay-out has been performed for decades. Change can be difficult, but it does not have to be. With the proper training, cooperation, and communication, Marek will successfully implement our field point lay-out technology.