Construction Tech Allows Real-Time Updates Between Subs

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Edwin Bailey, SkanskaEdwin Bailey is senior preconstruction technologist at Skanska USA Building, a leading project development and construction groups, in Houston.SkanskaTechnology is evolving and helping streamline how general contractors, design teams, and subcontractors work together. Autodesk Construction Cloud allows real-time coordination between the trades, working in a shared environment and saving time. At Skanska, we host subcontractors’ shared models, which allows subs to have nearly instant access to make changes and updates, quickly leading to a constructible model.

Streamlining the build process is always a top goal when implementing new technologies. The following details how cloud-based systems can create an even more collaborative project and successful outcome.


During pre-construction, we receive the design team’s cloud-hosted 3D models and 2D construction documents, bridged or hosted into Skanska’s Autodesk Construction Cloud Docs account. Models are automatically extracted for use into separate modules for quantification and clash detection. Autodesk Takeoff is where we do our 2D and 3D quantifications. Using the Autodesk Model Coordination program allows us to hand off the models earlier so pre-construction works in tandem with operations. In this instance, we onboard our operations team for clash detection while we are still in pre-construction. This helps us work through any major constructability issues together, before construction documents are issued, or subcontractors are brought on board.


The operations team works with the models in a different capacity. Using Autodesk Construction Cloud’s Model Coordination, operations run clash detection for coordination between the trades. We want to know what in the current design will prevent it from being built seamlessly in the field. The model used through the software allows operations to thoroughly check the model, do constructability reviews, and provide feedback.


Through the Design Collaboration module, the design team and their engineers – structural, mechanical, electrical, etc. – can all work in the cloud with the files hosted online. The files are set up as workshare files so people in different teams can access and work on it at the same time based on permissions. Each discipline’s files are interlinked.

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File sharing is not a new concept for design teams, but Skanska has found file sharing to be extremely beneficial with our subcontractors during construction coordination. If we host their shared models like the design team, subcontractors can have quicker access to everyone else’s models, almost as soon as they make changes and updates.

For example, the design model has a duct running in one long line. A subcontractor gets the model, and they may need to reroute the duct to make room for another trade and work through how it will be fabricated. When Skanska hosts all the models for the subcontractors, each subcontractor can see the changes happen sooner between the trades. Plus, the model shows one trade versus another in the clash detection so they can see the issues that are assigned back to them.

With this cloud-based collaboration, an immense amount of time can be saved. The days of spending hours downloading everyone’s files and uploading your own, while only receiving updates every week or two are numbered. Now, subcontractors can move a duct or pipe and simply synchronize it back to the central model. When another subcontractor reloads their latest file, they can see what was moved and make any necessary changes.

All onboard

The beauty of cloud-based filesharing is that all the stakeholders can see nearly real-time updates, including owners who want to see the project’s progression as it is refined. With these cloud-based technologies, the logistics of sharing files back and forth is no longer a bottleneck. Each project stakeholder can seamlessly provide insight and their expertise. For example, we provide more detail in the model and more accuracy for routings before breaking ground. Embracing this collaborative approach can mitigate costly mistakes in the field and allow you to meet timelines.

Edwin Bailey is senior preconstruction technologist at Skanska USA Building, a leading project development and construction groups, in Houston.