Intelligent Control Room

An analytics platform providing automated construction progress, installation quality and predictive risk management in real-time.

Last updated: 10th June 2021

Date uploaded:

Approved for use

Innovation Lead: Hannah Gibson
Project number: 104783105870
UKRI funding: £893,074

Website:
contilio.com/


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Summary

Contilio's Intelligent Control Room turns 3D site data into actionable insights, in real time. It applies the same advanced technology, used in autonomous driving, to translate Lidar and Laser scans and 360 degree photos into critical information to make smart decisions onsite. The AI classifies all structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) elements and automatically compares them with the Building Information Model (BIM) and the programme schedule. The insights are then visualised on an easy-to-use and intuitive cloud-dashboard to help site and controls teams access information at any time, from anywhere in the world. For the first time, stakeholders will be able to remotely track progress and swiftly eliminate risk of delay and installation errors. The technology will help eliminate slow, manual spot-checks and forecast operations and maintenance costs throughout the life of the asset.

Innovation type: Digital
Organisation type: Innovative SME, Research centre

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Project pioneers

Having worked for over five years in the construction industry herself, Zara Riahi co-founded Contilio in September 2018 to solve many of the challenges she faced on construction sites. Zara brings over 12 years of global business, engineering, and project management experience . She holds a MSc in Earthquake Engineering, and an MBA from London Business School. 

The problem

The progress of the build is often determined using subjective approaches, and these manual checks across multiple data sources in the supply chain is creating a data gap between the project plan and the final reality of the build. Spot checks conducted during site walk-arounds are time consuming and sometimes only cover 5-10% of sites. Photos collected from sites can be unorganised, unlabelled, and difficult to use. Teams can also spend significant portions of their time on quality checks, adding up to 25% to project costs just to inspect work - and there can be unintentional error in data capture which can impact on the quality of the installation. All this means it can be as much as two to three months before critical information reaches critical stakeholders and installation errors are only identified when it is too late and reactive rework is needed, causing further delays and overspend. Current technological solutions available focus on creating 360-degree visual maps of construction sites, leaving 80% (or more) of work to site workers. 2D, photo-based AI approaches also have limitations due to the lack of reliable depth, shape, location information, a dependence on lighting, clutter and hardware - and can only automate progress for highly repetitive tasks, which account for 10-15% of sites. 

Vision

The Contilio Intelligent Control Room eliminates the gap between plan and reality. It uses real-time data to compare the 3D design model in BIM (Building Information Modelling) with a digital twin of the site, bringing them together in a dashboard that gives teams greater data visibility, accuracy and certainty for a more productive build and allows them to verify the quality of the building as it is constructed and eventually handed over. Contractors, clients and asset owners will have a single, indisputable record of progress and installation quality during the construction stage and spot issues before having to send anyone onsite to carry out manual inspections. The technology can also be applied to the operations phase of a building to help more accurately forecast and manage operations and maintenance costs throughout the life of the asset.

Key Insight

In 2018, through research and over 40 interviews with global construction firms and stakeholders, Contilio concluded that the lack of real-time visibility on construction progress, quality and performance was becoming a problem for the industry. 70% of all construction projects were experiencing more than 40% delay; 55% of maintenance costs were caused by errors in construction not caught; and more than 80% of BIM models weren't compliant, up-to-date, or traceable beyond the design stage. (1)

Contilio saw an opportunity to help construction projects better manage the progress and quality installation of a build through automation and the use of 3D Artificial Intelligence. It believed the creation of a smart (structured, machine-readable and contextually rich) digital twin using LIDAR (light detecting and ranging) technology could better track progress, identify risk of error, catalogue equipment and assets, reduce the need for manual documentation, and improve productivity between teams.

(1) TÜV SÜD AG (Global Real Estate & Infrastructure Inspection and Certification Company), Contilio Research (40+ construction companies, and McKinsey, PwC reports).

First step

Contilio have partnered with Imperial College London on two Innovate UK projects. As part of the first project, the team successfully developed an AI-based proof of concept which uses 3D computer vision, as well as Machine and Deep Learning to automate construction progress and performance reporting. After engaging with customers and ecosystem players through successful pilot projects, Contilio and Imperial identified an additional significant opportunity to further improve construction productivity through automating the installation quality and certification processes.

Barrier

Construction is a 3D physical environment changing constantly. Spending time and money on experts to manually spot-check the progress and quality of installation adds cost not value. It is a resource intensive process that can lead to inaccuracies, reduced quality and waste. This project encourages the adoption of more reliable smart data gathering onsite and the automation of critical processes such as progress tracking and installation quality verification.

Digital Innovation

The Contilio Intelligent Control Room first captures 3D data using LIDAR technology, or laser scans, to show greater depth, shape and location information than 2D photos, which only show colour and texture information. LIDAR scanners have mm accuracy, and measures the size of an element, how that element relates to other elements in the space, and whether a specific element is behind or in front of another and by how much. This 3D data is then processed through an AI-enabled platform that connects to the project schedule and BIM and automatically analyses progress, installation quality and risk. The use of scaleable data labelling can accommodate rapid changes in the growth of data. The result? High volumes of rich site data that are automatically turned into actionable insights. By comparing the as-built model with the as-designed model, the platform provides insights on delayed or out-of-tolerance items. It visualises these through a cloud-based dashboard, so site teams have a picture of the real-time performance of the project and can also access powerful predictive analytics to unlock further efficiencies for the programme. Teams can use it to verify quality and progress across all areas of a project - from structural stages through to architectural element construction, mechanics, electrical and plumbing services installation, and a large part of the fit-out stages. AI insights can be accessed through Contilio’s cloud-based dashboard 24-7, and from anywhere in the world, enabling the users to navigate and filter the AI insights, augmented BIMs, point clouds and 360 images, focusing their efforts on their respective work package/ trade and critical (delay and rework) risks, which are also communicated in tables. BIM and programmes (schedules) are also updated with insights automatically. Contilio’s 3D AI software platform works in tandem with all commercially available Lidar/Laser scanners and most recently drones. 

Collaborators

Contilio is the lead partner. It was set up to help the construction industry adopt new technologies and has a wealth of knowledge from other sectors. The various teams, projects and individuals working on the Intelligent Control Room have learnt from each other throughout to build the solution.  Imperial College London is the research partner on the project and is the only university in the UK to focus exclusively on science, medicine, engineering and business. The team has enjoyed the support of multiple industry partners. in June 2021, Contilio announced a global partnership with TÜV SÜD and a joint AI offering “3D AI Construction Inspection.” The solution provides AI-based defect analysis, installation quality verification and progress tracking for building and infrastructure construction projects. It enables asset owners, general contractors and investors to deliver quality projects within the time, cost & risk requirements, and to enhance ROIs and sustainability measures.

  • Contilio
  • Imperial College London

Lead support

Innovate UK support has helped Contilio's growth, establishing its market and accelerating the development of its technology. Contilio’s solution has been part of two rounds of collaborative R&D competitions, providing Imperial and Contilio with a unique opportunity to research and shape cutting-edge technology and novel research. The Transforming Construction Challenge network has enabled Contilio to build a strong partnership with some of the leading construction ecosystem players.

Long Term Vision

The Contilio Intelligent Control Room eliminates the gap between plan and reality by using AI to process rich 3D data and compare as-designed BIM with and as-built BIM. It gives teams greater data visibility, accuracy and certainty for a more productive build. Contractors, clients and asset owners will have a single, indisputable record of progress and installation quality during the construction stage and spot issues before having to send anyone onsite to carry out manual inspections. And by identifying errors and quality issues quickly and accurately, it helps contractors manage their projects better, reduce rework cost and effort, and reduce the waste coming from construction. The technology can also be applied to the operations phase of a building to help more accurately forecast and manage operations and maintenance costs throughout the life of the asset.

Human Stories

Contilio Intelligent Control Room gives site teams visibility across the project so that they can make the best decisions based on real-time data and ensure that people on site are being used most effectively, and not having to waste their time on rework. Contilio also reduces the need for people to travel to site to conduct inspections manually and helps better manage construction progress. This increased accuracy means buildings are handed over as-designed, reassuring clients and asset managers of the building's performance throughout its life.

Powerful Processes

The Contilio Intelligent Control Room first captures 3D data using LIDAR technology, or laser scans. This 3D data is then processed through an AI-enabled platform that connects to the project schedule and BIM and automatically analyses progress, installation quality and risk. The high volumes of rich site data are automatically turned into actionable insights. By comparing the as-built model with the as-designed model, the platform provides insights on delayed or out-of-tolerance items. It visualises these through a cloud-based dashboard, so site teams have a picture of the real-time performance of the project and can also access powerful predictive analytics to unlock further efficiencies for the programme.

Fascinating Facts

Current data has shown that the Contilio Intelligent Control Room can increase profitability by 12-20%. Contilio Intelligent Control Room improves productivity by up to 30%. Contilio automated progress reporting reduced analytics time from 40-80 hours to four hours, and identified key delay issues, resulting in cost-savings and improved performance. Overall it is shown to result in 20-30% faster completion times.  Contilio has just closed a £1m round of funding from venture capitalists. Its aim is to use this momentum to raise £3-5m throughout 2021 with its innovation. Contilio has been identified as one of ten AI companies changing the game within UK manufacturing and construction.

Benefits

Cost
Contilio’s 3D AI platform delivers significant benefits by automating the progress tracking and quality verification processes for the industry. In addition, critical delay and quality risks are identified and swiftly resolved, reducing waste (up to 5%) and rework cost (up to 25%), and improving delivery cost and sustainability throughout construction and during operations. This will be enabled by:

  • Automatic and timely verification of installation quality for 100% of work installed and timely identification and communication of rework issues results in reduced rework costs.
  • Reduced waste (material, travel, paper, resources) linked to delayed and reactive identification of only some of installation errors based on spot checks with significant knock-on effects.
  • Cross portfolio/package efficiencies and lower operations costs from predictable outcomes, insights, and early warning signs (predictive insights), enabling intelligence from one part to be applied to other work packages/ parts of the value chain and empowering cross-portfolio learnings, and synergies.
  • Reduced quality issues during construction and having access to smart digital twins that can be read/connected to other data for smart operations, reduces the maintenance costs, optimising operations.

Diversity
Contilio was founded by Zara Riahi who brings significant experience in global management, operational/commercial and engineering prior to Contilio, driving growth and productivity for multinationals and startups in US, Canada, the UK and Australia. 

Investment
As a result of the support and credibility from its two Innovate UK projects, Contilio has been highly successful in raising private market capital. In early 2021, Contilio closed an additional £1.5m round of funding from venture capitalists, with the goal of accelerating the onboarding and servicing its strategic customers and aims to use this momentum to raise an additional 5-10m 2021. Contilio has also secured many blue-chip customers in and outside the UK, with five EU customers and two American customers, and several more from the EU, North America, and South America in advanced stages of their sales pipeline. 

Productivity
Contilio’s 3D AI platform delivers significant productivity benefits, including increased productivity operational efficiency and site safety, by:

  • Significantly reducing the manual operations and reactive reporting/risk management required, by providing its customers with scalable and automated processes to track progress and installation quality.
  • Lowering the need for site travel (by 50%) to track progress, quality, and to manage rework and delay issues/risks, by providing the actionable intelligence digitally from the comfort of a cloud-based platform, 24/7.
  • Automatically augmenting the BIM and programme with the latest insights as opposed to manually updating these only partially.
  • Helping its customers and other stakeholders access the same information centrally from the same source of truth (digital twin) throughout construction, reducing the complexity and number of interfaces.

Time
A significant focus of this investment is to save time by automating construction progress and installation quality processes. Currently, there is a lack of real-time visibility on construction sites, and lots of manual, time-consuming site checks. This innovation will provide increased certainty and reduced risks during the construction stage, covering over 80% of the process from structural components all the way through architectural, services, and some parts of internal fit-outs. Contilio has seen significant time savings for two customers through ongoing pilots. Since the beginning of its development, Contilio’s platform has reduced the time it takes for its 3D AI to deliver its actionable insights from over 80-160 hours to between 4-16 hours, putting critical information in the hands of key decision makers sooner and with increased accuracy. It has helped several customers and partners establish best-practice data collection strategies for scaled deployment.