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How 360 Photo Documentation Helps Tackle the 8 Wastes of Lean Construction

Studies have shown that nearly 70% of activities carried out in the construction industry are non-value-added or outright wasteful, according to the Lean Construction Institute. But construction firms that follow lean principles can dramatically reduce waste, resulting in lower costs, faster delivery and better quality.

The 8 wastes, originally defined by Toyota’s Chief Engineer Taiichi Ohno for the storied Toyota Production System, are commonly expressed through the acronym TIMWOODS. By enabling field teams to create a detailed and easily searchable record of each job site in a fraction of the time required by manual capture, OpenSpace’s AI-driven 360 photo documentation can reduce waste in each area. 

Here’s how OpenSpace can be applied in each domain:

Transportation: By creating digital twins that enable virtual walkthroughs and remote project management, OpenSpace cuts down on the need for travel between job sites, enabling customers such as JLL to reduce travel costs by 50%. In addition to cutting back on the need for physical travel, OpenSpace can make “transportation” of data more efficient. Captured 360 imagery is automatically mapped to project plans and stored in the cloud, making it fast and easy to share with internal colleagues as well as owners and architects. 

Inventory: Via robust 360 photo documentation and OpenSpace’s split-screen feature, construction teams can get an up-to-date count of materials and track their use over time by viewing the same area on different dates. This avoids a surplus of materials sitting unused, which can lead to product defects and damage that can be costly to correct. OpenSpace’s object search functionality can also easily search for and reveal excess inventory, such as stacks of drywall. 

Motion: 360 photo documentation allows construction teams to see how people, materials and equipment are moving day-to-day on a project site, which curbs unnecessary movement. Specifically, OpenSpace can make the RFI process—which is time-consuming and inherently wasteful in many respects—more efficient and streamlined. It allows field teams to automatically attach visual references and precise locations to RFIs and Issues within Procore and Autodesk BIM 360, which cuts down on the back-and-forth between parties. 

Waiting: OpenSpace mitigates “waiting” by making scheduling and collaboration more efficient. Project managers with responsibility for scheduling work can quickly track the status of the project in different areas without having to walk the site to verify progress in person. And construction teams don’t need to wait for scheduling meetings to view the “work in place” or status of the schedule; they can compare the current progress of work with captures alongside the P6 schedule whenever they want to. Owners, engineers, building inspectors and architects can also “drop in” to address issues in real time without waiting for an in-person visit.

Overprocessing: 360 photo documentation can reduce the burden of tedious paperwork for construction teams. For example, viewing a job site via a 360 virtual tour can deliver the information needed to make sound and informed decisions, eliminating the need for a lengthy chain of coordination emails. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then OpenSpace photo documentation is worth a million. 

Overproduction: Building something before it’s truly needed can lead to it not being done correctly, since contingencies often arise in the interim that can change the scope or requirements. (Imagine what could happen if you had a curtain wall trade contractor detail their portion of work before the exterior design was approved.) OpenSpace mitigates overproduction by giving project managers a complete and up-to-date digital twin, enabling them to sequence work more effectively.

Defects: Construction errors are inevitable, but they can be mitigated with the use of 360 photo documentation technology. Specifically, defects tend to be detected at an earlier stage with OpenSpace because of how thoroughly it captures a site, which helps to avoid costly rework. Construction teams can use the Field Notes feature—which automatically maps text notes or photos taken from the field to project plans—to more easily coordinate fixes. They can also perform a preliminary punch list walk-through for defects via a “digital blue tape” tour of the site. This also cuts back on the number of site visits, which tackles “Transportation” waste as well. 

Skills: Waste isn’t always tangible in the form of materials or minutes in the day; it also 

encompasses under-utilization of talent and failure to seek input from different stakeholder groups. OpenSpace can mitigate this by enabling early coordination with the design team to obtain iterative feedback and approvals. When construction is underway, 360 photo documentation can be used for coordination across stakeholder groups, including the general contractor, trades, owners, architects and inspectors. Everyone sees the same view of the job site over time, relying on OpenSpace as the single source of truth.

When used correctly by project teams and lean program managers, AI-powered 360 photo documentation can rein in construction waste and increase the profitability of every project. 

To learn how OpenSpace can become an integral part of your lean construction program and to see a demo, click here