Complete Assessment in Every Dimension

by Balfour Beatty

To know where you’re going, you must first know where you are.

On renovation, restoration and addition projects, buildings may have incomplete, inaccurate or inaccessible as-builts. Balfour Beatty preconstruction teams are leveraging the powerful advantages of OpenSpace to provide an equally powerful solution: accurate and early documentation of existing conditions in 360-degree images.

At the intersection of OpenSpace, our experts and their tech-powered insights, all project stakeholders are empowered to make informed decisions that accelerate schedules, enable proactive procurement and mitigate risk. 

The Starting Line

Existing structural conditions inform every aspect of design and construction. Every party, including our preconstruction and operations teams, clients and trade partners rely on these insights to make critical decisions. Early information is particularly vital on collaborative and alternative delivery projects on which the final stages of design and the earliest stages of construction often coincide.

On a series of projects for McKinney ISD, Balfour Beatty is renovating and expanding the front entrances of 19 separate campuses in the North Texas suburb. While some campuses share architectural similarities, capturing the full spectrum of each building’s existing conditions is providing valuable insights for our team and the client alike.

“Using OpenSpace during preconstruction has greatly improved the quality and consistency of our existing conditions captures and as-builts,” says Joseph Lien, assistant project manager on a series of similar projects for Allen ISD. “We can analyze existing conditions in real time and anywhere in the field, ask the right questions and provide quick-turn solutions.”

Asking the right questions before construction begins may even prompt further exploration, including targeted demolition, wall or concrete coring or other measures. Teams can even glean additional tech-powered insights using tools like laser scanning, enabling all parties to actually see behind walls. In any case, these solutions facilitate preconstruction decision-making that will prevent cost overruns or schedule delays.

The McKinney and Allen campuses aren’t the first times Balfour Beatty has leveraged OpenSpace to the client’s advantage, nor even the first for North Texas schools. On a similar multi-campus renovation project for Denton ISD, Balfour Beatty Estimator Morgan Heimdale meticulously documented each campus’s condition during preconstruction, including complicated layers of prior work and recent damage from a historic ice storm and freeze in 2021, just before the project entered preconstruction.

“We had to complete our Denton ISD campuses in time for the new school year in spite of the additional ice damage, and the district needed information to aid with insurance claims,” Heimdale says, “But wielding the powerful advantages of OpenSpace, we corrected as-builts during the 360-degree capture process, maintained our accelerated schedule and helped the district above and beyond our mission.”

On the Southwestern Community College Student Union project in Chula Vista, California, the project team found that OpenSpace documentation during preconstruction not only aided client decision-making but also interactions with other contractors occurring nearby.

“Other contractors nearby were building water utilities and rainwater systems that our work would later tie into,” recalls Mikayla Socia, assistant superintendent on the project. “Rather than rely on as-built plans from another company, Balfour Beatty captured our own 360-degree images of their utility tie-ins to our jobsite, streamlining and accelerating our later work.”

The Path Forward

Every preconstruction advantage Balfour Beatty provides with OpenSpace leads to long-term benefits for the project schedule, budget and trade partner collaboration.

“Using OpenSpace, we prevent later complications and schedule disruptions that could occur due to inaccurate or missing as-built drawings,” Heimdale says. “This innovative preconstruction practice simply reduces risk in every way and for every stakeholder.”

Material and workforce shortages remain an ongoing issue in the construction industry, so every efficiency counts. By providing the most accurate possible capture of existing conditions, trade partners can accurately estimate their labor and materials needs and prepare accordingly, again reducing cost and schedule delays before beginning work.

“For site walks alone, our OpenSpace captures offer immense value to our trade partners,” Heimdale adds. “They are busy too, and fully in-person site walks aren’t always logistically possible on projects that need to begin immediately.”

Future-Proofed Plans

After construction commences, OpenSpace jobsite capture flows seamlessly into capturing the entire construction process.

Balfour Beatty projects are built to last and will serve clients for years to come, but community and business needs may evolve and necessitate future renovations or additions. With our meticulous and exacting OpenSpace documentation from preconstruction through project completion, future contractors can design and work from accurate drawings and schematics.

Our work provides value during a project’s lifecycle and enduring value for any future needs. Even simple MEP system repairs depend on accurate as-built schematics of utility chases, floor and ceiling penetrations and access points. By deploying OpenSpace in new and innovative ways, we constantly generate new value for our clients at every step of the construction process and beyond, future-proofing their as-builts for any future contractors.