COVID-19 has challenged us as a business, as project owners, and as a community. Rather than submitting to those challenges and accepting the gaps it could create in your building experience, MCL Construction implemented new, innovative ways to bridge those gaps.
OpenSpace is a cloud-based software platform that allows owners, the MCL project team, architects, and designers to tour and digitally archive each stage of the build without physically being there.
“When COVID-19 hit it was kind of a group effort to still communicate with the owner and the architect without them being there,” MCL Project Engineer David Almanza said. “Their input is important during the entire process, but safety was just as important.”
We know that the pandemic has made programs like Zoom, Teams, and FaceTime part of people’s daily lives, but more than a real-time video platform, OpenSpace allows us to view and digitally archive each phase of the building process. Those recorded images have the potential to eliminate unnecessary work in the future. In essence, it gives facility managers an x-ray vision of the entire project.
Right now, MCL is using OpenSpace at the new Centris Federal Credit Union building in Sterling Ridge. MCL introduced the program to the owners and team before the first wave of COVID-19 hit with an emphasis on the digital archiving aspect. The ability to see the project without physically being there proved to be an added asset for communication as pandemic restrictions started to tighten.
“We have to acknowledge the MCL team on site. They would walk around the entire building and record it for communication and prosperity benefits, Centris Federal Credit Union Executive Vice President Ann Helm said. “We have never had this kind of historical timeline that has been captured. It is a huge benefit that we will have on an ongoing basis. Thank you for taking time out of your day to record this for us.”
So how does it work? It is as simple as walking. A member of the MCL team puts on a hardhat with a magnetic feature that holds a small camera in place on top of his or her head. That person then walks a pre-set path around the building, using an app to start or finish each floor of the tour. The camera captures whatever the individual wearing the hat looks at. That individual will pay close attention to parts of the build that the owner or design partners need to see and is sure to spend a little extra time there for them to view through the computer.
“Using OpenSpace, the owner was able to check our progress and actually wanted to change the location of some of the outlets and data ports,” said Almanza. “We were able to make those changes before it required more work than it needed.”
Once the tour is complete, MCL uploads the data to OpenSpace and shares the information with the entire project team. MCL Construction would update the images about twice a week. The Centris Federal Credit Union team viewed and still does view them weekly to compare the progress and send any feedback back to our team and board members.
“It lays the groundwork for me presenting to the board and it gives me a historical timeline of the project,” said Helm. “I can grab a snapshot of what the project looked like at one time and compare it to another while giving quarterly updates.”
Even when the concerns of the pandemic loosen and we start to return to normal, OpenSpace will still be a tool that we continue to use. It will not be used in place of owner presence but as an archiving tool and a point of reference for our clients.
About MCL Construction
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