Reduced Site Visits and Travel Time by 80% with Remote Oversight: Vancouver Area Municipalities Expand Use of 3D Digital Twins to Save Time and Money

Kickstart Technologies

An industry leader in Engineering Support Services for survey, drawings, LIDAR scanning, 2D drafting & 3D visualization.

360 CAPTURE SPECS

camera Ricoh Theta Z1
capture size >1 Million sq ft
capture time <1 day per site
capture date June 2020

ABOUT THE APPLICATION

Utilizing 3D Digital Twins throughout the full building life cycle and during daily operations for municipalities facilities management.

project dates Ongoing
location Vancouver Area, British Columbia, Canada
capture sites Municipal buildings, aquatic centers, public parks, public school districts

Engineering services firm Kickstart Technologies helps growing municipalities see numerous points of savings with 3D Digital Twins throughout the full building life cycle and during daily operations.

For metro Vancouver-Area cities and municipalities, upgrading and maintaining millions of square feet of properties across multiple sites means involving numerous stakeholders, service providers, consultants and city staff, resulting in time consuming site visits, back and forth review, and significant man hours to oversee everything from major construction projects to day-to-day maintenance and repairs. To help improve the municipalities’ short and long-term operations management processes, engineering services firm Kickstart Technologies is developing an ongoing virtual management system with Visual Plan as the municipalities’ new central facilities maintenance and visual data hub.

Incorporating Visual Plan’s 360 capture and platform into the workflow is allowing Coquitlam and area municipalities to gain scalable, comprehensive virtual oversight of their buildings and public facilities, allowing for more effective and selective integration of more costly LIDAR and BIM technologies where needed. With 360 photogrammetry as the foundational visual record for each site, Kickstart Technologies has optimized the cities’ management processes by leveraging Visual Plan’s integrations with third party platforms, like IBM Maximo for work order and asset management and Gordian VFA for asset capital planning. Other visual data like 2D blueprints, BIM, CAD, GIS data and LIDAR scanning are also imported, organized and available for equipment management, construction progress monitoring, maintenance tracking, and more effective quote solicitations, saving countless hours of time.

“The immediate money saver for Coquitlam will be to reduce back and forth review by service providers who need to view the site and assess needed maintenance or repairs. They are now able to figure out what needs to be done, where the repair needs are located, and what equipment will be necessary before the service provider or an employee even gets in a truck.”

– Doug Suddaby, Founder, Kickstart Technologies

Key ROI & Outcomes

Increase in efficiency through visualization translates to significant tangible cost savings. For the City of Coquitlam Base Operating Plan budget of $263 million:
Labor (43%), Contracted Services (16%), and Asset funding (10%).
1% increase in operational efficiency through visualization = $1.81 million in savings.

Site visits & travel time reduced by up to 80% • $500 pre-planning cost savings per contractor, per repair • Reduced on-site travel and per diem costs save up to $200 per person, per day • $9,000 savings in 3D capture & modeling costs for a single project, at a single site

Challenges: Inefficient Facilities Management due to cumbersome in-person oversight and site visits

The city of Coquitlam is growing rapidly, driving significant construction and maintenance across all their buildings and properties ranging in age from new construction to 30+ years old. To better manage short-term and on-going maintenance, city officials were looking for methods to maintain buildings synergistically with all the various consultants meeting their mechanical, repair, painting and contracting.

Contracting these services out results in multiple internal and external agencies in need of streamlined data sharing, decision making and oversight capabilities.

The major challenges include:

  • Lack of comprehensive and efficient data sharing of visual information
  • Data silos hinder progress: different visual data is stored in different locations (GIS, CAD, BIM, LIDAR, 2D CAD, jobsite photos for construction, asset photos for facility condition assessments. Access to accurate information is a challenge. 
  • Ineffective method to organize site and asset photography, and understand the spatial relationship between the imagery to CAD and building orientation
  • Challenges with accurate capital planning and capital forecasting due to incomplete or inaccurate asset information
  • High cost of 3D visual data capture, implementation of a comprehensive BIM program and scan to BIM
  • High cost of trucks rolling to site for onsite visits 
  • Time wasted by facility operations searching to find information onsite or directing service providers where to locate things
  • Inability to frequently and accurately update building and asset information

To create long-term success for the municipal areas, KickStart Technologies identified a central goal for their approach: to deliver comprehensive visualization and data interaction between 360 photogrammetry, AutoCAD, hard copy drawings and LIDAR, building and asset documentation on an ongoing basis, facilitating maintenance and oversight from a single visual data hub.


Solution: Enabling Remote Oversight and Comprehensive Visual asset Management from A Single Data Hub

Kickstart Technologies immediately saw the value of capturing the municipal properties with the Ricoh Theta Z1 camera, and utilizing the Visual Plan’s 360 capture app and SiteView visual data hub into their deliverable set, as the data the city agencies already own can be readily imported into the application.

Every stakeholder – from government officials to, municipality engineers, service companies, architectural and engineering firms, and daily maintenance crews – can incorporate their annotations, still photographs and documentation reports along with 2D CAD, BIM, and 360 photogrammetry of each site, yielding a comprehensive single-source record of the current and as-built conditions of each facility.

For the City of Coquitlam, their existing GIS system was able to map out facility locations but lacked the ability to offer internal visualization of the buildings. With the implementation of Visual Plan’s streamlined capture, processing, and accurate spatial alignment of 360 photos of the building interiors, stakeholders can now gain visualization for internal drill downs, oversight and streamlined asset tagging.

Kickstart Technologies has helped the city of Coquitlam integrate Visual Plan and 360 photogrammetry into their facility and site maintenance processes, including with the Parks Department and Aquatic Centers, saving time and money by streamlining oversight and prioritizing the need for more expensive capture technologies where they are required.

“The City was looking for a solution to their inefficient internal asset tagging management processes. We can now handle asset tagging and data collection with IBM Maximo, and spatially align those assets by building, floor, and room across interactive 360 visualization. The teams already had CAD and some BIM of the facilities, but did not have a great way to manage and share this data. Now, it can be ported over, organized and visualized in-environment, by site, with Visual Plan.”

– Doug Suddaby, Founder, Kickstart Technologies


“You aren’t using 15 different software applications – it’s all in one place – if you have the ability to have 1 singular process that affects everyone the same way, giving the benefit to the organization, as one fixed process. How do you put a price on that? It’s impossible because of the scalability of the benefit.”
Doug Suddaby, Founder, Kickstart Technologies

Critical Features for Success

As Kickstart Technologies and the City of Coquitlam continue to see benefits from implementing Visual Plan into their workflows, the central theme for their success has been establishing their comprehensive data hub. The teams can easily capture their facilities, gain virtual oversight, integrate multiple forms of visual data, communicate effectively, and streamline decision making all from a single source: the Visual Plan SiteView platform.

Critical Benefits:

  • Visual Plan as a data hub with BIM, LIDAR, and CAD import
  • Third-party integrations with asset management platforms
  • Virtual walkthrough functionality to enhance remote oversight & decision-making
  • Barrier to entry was low regarding the capital investment
  • Easy import, scale, and alignment of floor plans to GIS via Import Floorplan Wizard
  • Simple auto and manual orientation of 360 imagery to CAD to enhance understanding
  • Intuitive organization of 360 photos across levels, areas, and spaces (accelerated via the Visual Plan Capture App)
  • AI spatially and accurately aligned the panos automatically
  • Intuitive organization of 360 photos across levels, areas, and spaces (accelerated via the Visual Plan Capture App)
  • Intuitive interface and functionality
  • Helps eliminate BRAIN DRAIN (Employees retire or move on and so does all their knowledge)
Key Platform Features Utilized
  • Camera Agnostic Platform
  • Multi-shot 360 Capture
  • Pano Editing Tools
  • 2D CAD/Floor Plan Import
  • Automatic & Manual Redaction of Faces through a Blur
  • Importing Additional Data (BIM, LIDAR, Revit models, GIS, 2D floor plans,)
  • Annotations / Annotation Groups
  • In-Environment Markup & Measuring
  • Asset Management Integrations (Maximo)
  • Share/Reporting (Deep links to specific locations / User access controls / HTML Reports)
  • Remote Viewing & Access Secure Cloud Storage

Tangible Time & Cost Savings: ROI of 3D Digital Twins for Municipalities

After seeing the capabilities of Visual Plan’s ease of 360 photo capture and integrations with existing third-party platforms, the use cases for the City of Coquitlam and surrounding municipalities have expanded to further maximize the tangible ROI of utilizing Digital Twins.

75% Cost Savings for Public School Capture For the First Project at a Single Site
A local architectural firm is using Kickstart Technologies’ Visual Plan in conjunction with LiDAR to capture an elementary school for an earthquake seismic upgrade project. Using Visual Plan and  LiDAR reduced the potential project capture and modeling cost from over $12,000 (for full LiDAR), to $3,000 for a single project, on a single site, while still offering limited LIDAR capture in critical areas. With Visual Plan’s 360 capture app, photos were taken in less than a second, whereas LIDAR could take anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour per station move; the time savings is a difference between capturing ten 360 photos in less than 1 minute versus 15 minutes for 2 LIDAR scans in a single classroom.

The team was able to 360 capture a single public elementary school in half a day as opposed to the estimated 5 days necessary for LIDAR scanning, saving both time and technology costs. Utilizing the 360 photogrammetry and seamlessly importing into Visual Plan resulted in 10x faster capture and a savings of approximately $200 per person per day in travel time. The comprehensive school scans will live beyond the initial structural upgrade project, as the school is looking at Visual Plan for asset tagging and emergency preparedness management.

“LIDAR is very expensive and time intensive – a lot of our clients don’t need that level of accuracy across an entire site, or don’t have the budget to do that level of detailed work. Visual Plan fills that niche – giving our customers what they really need – visualization of everything at a site and LIDAR on the critical structural elements where required.”
– Doug Suddaby, Founder, Kickstart Technologies

Reduced Site Visits by and Travel Time by up to 80% with Remote Oversight

For the City employees and officials, the main benefit is reduced site visits and travel time driven by Visual Plan’s remote oversight capabilities. For one captured site, the produced virtual tour combined with bi-directional integrations with project management platforms like AutoDesk Plan Grid, ProCore and BIM360 can dramatically impact construction project efficiency, scheduling and reducing rework or miscommunication through virtual job site walks. For facility operations, asset management platforms and in-environment asset tagging are bringing assets to life and democratizing access to visualization. Multiple stakeholders can now remotely walk through any job site, evaluate the necessary maintenance needs with subject matter experts or building professionals and communicate effectively with field teams to efficiently plan the repair or maintenance  project – eliminating countless hours of travel time, per-diem costs and required safety protocols associated with on-site visits. All stakeholders can review the same data at the same time, sharing perspectives and real-time collaboration.

Expedited Preventive Maintenance & Improved Uptime
1% of uptime equals 10% of savings, according to a study from Solomon and Associates. With the incorporation of Visual Plan’s 360 virtual tour, annotation and report sharing capabilities, mechanical and preventive maintenance teams across buildings and facilities are seeing improved uptime performance and more efficient facility maintenance.

On-boarding new contractors before an on-site visit is improving the quote gathering process, expediting pre-repair planning, and increasing knowledge transfer between vendors and stakeholders. Without 360 site visualization, a single repair typically requires two different service calls: the first to identify and evaluate the needed repairs, and the second to complete the repair. By conducting the pre-planning site visit virtually with Digital Twins, the City of Coquitlam is saving approximately $500 per contractor, pre-repair review, and improving uptime with more knowledgeable vendors.

“Digital Twins are an absolute equalizer for new contractors to pre-plan their job before arriving on site. Being more knowledgeable through visualization makes the service provider even more valuable, as the available data lets the incoming crew know more about the building than even the owner.”
– HVAC Service Provider for City of Coquitlam

Higher ROI over Competitor 360 Technologies
One of the City’s construction teams currently utilizes competitor visualization services that require high premiums for professional photographers to capture the site. This data is not made available to the wider facility team and is not imported to facility or asset management software applications today. After utilizing Visual Plan as the capture platform and data hub for the facility maintenance applications, the City of Coquitlam is exploring data migration opportunities away from the higher cost and less accessible platform and into Visual Plan’s offering.


Maintaining Safety & Building Customer Confidence With Digital Twins

For the greater Vancouver area municipalities, utilizing Visual Plan as the visual data hub at the center of their municipal maintenance strategy has resulted in tangible cost savings from reduced site visits and expedited site capture, all with lower capital investment costs.

With 3D Digital Twins, different departments and stakeholders are able to see various details when looking at the same data – this is the power of the Visual Plan platform because you are capturing everything. It’s the power of collaboration, the group being able to look at the problem from different perspectives, different points of view and to have the conversation to get to the best results.”

– Gary Ponting, General Manager, Kickstart Technologies


About Kickstart Technologies

An industry leader in Engineering Support Services for survey, drawings, LIDAR scanning, 2D drafting & 3D visualization, Kickstart Technologies, Ltd.is a breakaway company from well-known printing company Resolution Graphics. Kickstart Technologies has long been known for embracing cutting edge technology in the survey and modeling space and was an early adopter of LIDAR in Canada, completing their first project in 2016. Today, Kickstart Technologies continuously looks to integrate new technology into their services for clients, ensuring comprehensive, efficient, and effective support services for a variety of architectural and engineering needs.