Digital technology to tackle COVID-19

How digital tools like BIM will tackle COVID 19

Here’s how BIM, digital twins and other digital technologies can help to mitigate the COVID-19 infection risk in a workplace and on construction sites

It is evident digital technologies are helping to get us through the unprecedented measures that have been put in place as a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In this article we’ll be seeing how the integration between BIM, GIS, IoT (Internet of Things), Point Cloud, Cloud, etc., enable us to obtain advanced tools for monitoring, controlling and analyzing data that is based on worker activities which could possibly spread the contagion from COVID-19. We will also examine how digital tools can improve the COVID-19 risk analysis and enhance the support measures to be adopted in a workplace or on a construction site.

If you’d like to receive more info regarding this project or if you’d like to implement this innovative system in your company send us an email.

BIM and cloud platforms to generate surveillance systems

Cloud platforms that have been developed for BIM models management and for the integration of digital technologies in the construction industry can now be used as a valid surveillance and control system for construction sites and workplaces, with the aim of containing the COVID-19 risk and the improvement of safety protocols to minimize the risk of contagion.

digital technology to tackle COVID-19

digital technology to tackle COVID-19

ACCA software has developed a BIM collaboration platform, named usBIM.platform, an innovative system that works through:

  • an app downloaded on workers’ smartphones
  • a cloud platform that contains all the infrastructure and to which data is transmitted in real time.

This system basically supports digital monitoring and prevention of behaviours that are non-compliant with safety regulations through real-time alerts.

usBIM.platform can be an efficient support system for guaranteeing that the behavior of company management, workers and third parties comply with the provisions of the Safety Protocol adopted by a construction site or a company.

Here is a preview video of its extraordinary potential.

COVID-19 digital risk monitoring on a construction site and in a workplace

Thanks to ACCA software’s research and testing, usBIM.platform has become an innovative digital tool for the supervision and control of procedures and practices for the prevention and containment of the COVID-19 transmission risk.

usBIM.COVID19

usBIM.COVID19 di ACCA software

It is an effective surveillance system both when a supervisor for the security and prevention of contagion is present on the site or is operating remotely through data analysis on the cloud platform, which is also useful for tracing the type of contacts between people.

The main functions that the usBIM.platform guarantees for the supervision and control are the following:

  • location and tracing of workers both on an outdoor construction site with GPS and indoor
  • integration with BIM, GIS or Google maps and point clouds
  • entry or exit self-declaration from predefined areas and digitized entrance to the construction site or company
  •  alerting functionality
  • tracing in real time
  • data analysis
  • video surveillance, IoT and non-invasive temperature monitoring systems (thermo-camera, gate, etc.)
  • daily health report and remote diagnosis
  • remote control system for information, training and PPE (Personal protective equipment) control).
  • digitalization of transport documents (Document of Transport, CMR, company documentation).

Workers location and tracing

The platform allows you to precisely localize workers either indoors or outdoors.

digital technology to fight COVID-19 in the construction industry

usBIM.COVID-19: tracing and alerting

The outdoor localization via on-board GPS (integrated in the smartphone) allows you to detect certain routes in a building or outdoor as a place of arrival or departure, also identified by specific areas as in construction sites.

The indoor localization takes place through triangulation algorithms on the Bluetooth network with respect to other mobile phones or devices, including landline, equipped with the same communication protocol. Indoor location can be remarkably accurate thanks to the installation of specific additional sensors (beacons) (for example: BLE, UWB or ultra-sound).

Integration with BIM, GIS or Google maps and point clouds

The usBIM.platform allows you to track worker movements and information directly on the layouts of your company or construction site. BIM models can also be easily managed in open IFC format together with the site or company models where to pinpoint worker flows and activities.

People are represented by localizer markers.

usBIM.COVID-19: site model from drone, point cloud and IFC

By clicking on each localization marker, you can immediately access the worker data, his or her daily health report and other information useful for risk prevention.

By clicking on the marker of the individual worker or making a group selection, you can start a video call to check or manage information in real time or even take care of requests and interviews.

The construction site or company layout can be loaded onto the platform in different formats.

If you have a drone site survey, for example, in a few minutes you can obtain the point cloud of the construction site where you can immediately see the worker movements and activities within the model.

It is also very simple to make a selection window on Google Maps and automatically upload it to the platform, so as to obtain the site area with all the necessary geolocation parameters.

digital technology to tackle COVID-19

usBIM.COVID-19: construction site model with survey from Google Maps

The map loaded in usBIM.COVID-19 can be easily supplemented with the areas and viability of the construction site thanks to some platform functions.

In just a few minutes, the digital model of the construction site can be obtained so as to start activities monitoring and risk control in real time.

Construction site or company digital entrance system

The usBIM system also grants the complete digitalization of access control systems at the entrance, replacing classical turnstiles or clocking in machines.

Thanks to special QRCodes, employees or external personnel can scan their smartphones and immediately obtain information from the system or send data to the system, such as employee admittance and use of designated entryways.

BIM to fight COVID 19

usBIM.COVID-19: construction site access control

Time attendance (log in and log out) registration on the cloud platform is very handy for workplaces with limited numbers of people. The system is able to count the number of people entering and compare it with the allowed maximum number, hence generating an altert in case of reaching the maximum number and sending out the proper communication.

Preventive and timely information is the first prevention initiative. Each person (employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, etc.) must be aware, through specific written notes, of all the information necessary to protect the health and safety of the people present within the company.

The entrance admission registration also makes it easier to trace contacts during the days preceding a possible diagnosis.

Alerting

The alerting features enables you to communicate the proper behavior for workers to have in a given situation, such as:

  • not accessing a specific place;
  • after having had contact with a virus positive person;
  • maintaining adequate distance from others.

The location and interpersonal distances tracing warns you through alarm notifications about cases falling below minimum values, or the access to places of potential gathering, access to areas predefined by particular behaviors, the use of particular devices, etc.

All activities are monitored and controlled (as if you had a digital direction) in order to prevent unwanted risks

Here is a video showing the system for the access control, temperature measurement and the alerting system on the usBIM.platform, created in collaboration between ACCA and BIG (Building Innovative Governance) University of Reggio Calabria.

Tracing

The tracing functions allow you to check and record any staging area for a real-time analysis or for a subsequent analysis in case of failure to comply with the protocol, such as in cases of not respected safety distance or entry to overcrowded areas.

Position information can be obtained via GPS in outdoor environments, while proximity information with other subjects (indoor or outdoor) can be acquired by exchanging Bluetooth or Wifi messages between smartphones equipped with the same tracing app.

This enables automatic recognition of close contacts by means of smartphone identification, with automatic alert and event recording for information analysis aimed at improving the protocol and for sending out notifications to staff in case of contagion.

Data Analysis

The usBIM platform implemented with specific functions (such as the anti-COVID-19 system) can be a valid tool for controlling work spaces and flows, specifically supporting areas classifications and the reorganization of people movements.

The information collected in real time by usBIM.COVID-19 through the app, allows you to record a series of data in the cloud, such as :

  • alert signals;
  • gathering records;
  • failure to respect distancing or other protocols;
  • movement detection;
  • level of crowding in each area and automatic estimate of the number of people per square meter.

The analysis of these data can help developing appropriate anti-contagion strategies and modifications to existing protocols.

Furthermore, the analysis of group behavior within the company or on the construction site during a working day can effectively help establishing what the risk dynamics may be.

All this information can be used to reschedule processes and access to common areas by minimizing risk situations and maximizing staff operations.

Video surveillance, IoT and non-invasive temperature monitoring systems

It is possible to use video surveillance systems created by installing cameras on the workplace or with direct connections to the worker smartphone via video calls managed by the platform.

The platform can be integrated with specific sensors for data collection or for system automation, for presence identification, for the detection of specific behaviors and temperature or for automatic recording of inputs and outputs without the worker self-declaration.

Thanks to the connection by means of IoT sensors to PPE, it is possible to have, for example, the early identification of symptoms with rapid, inexpensive and large-scale diagnostic screening methods (e.g.: temperature with IR viewers during the whole day working).

Daily health report and remote diagnosis

usBIM.platform allows each worker to fill in their own health report on a daily basis, completing all the data useful for early detection of COVID-19 symptoms.

BIM to tackle COVID-19

usBIM.COVID-19: personal health report

The collection of daily health journal sheets will constitute the personal health record of each individual worker.

Data is very useful for identifying any infections at an early stage and for having trends and statistical data on all the workers of the company.

The competent doctor tha has been warned can immediately contact the worker and proceed to a first immediate remote diagnosis directly with a video call between the platform and smartphone to prescribe the procedure of possible isolation of infected people.

Therefore, it will be easy to have the symptomatic data of the workers on a daily basis and possibly proceed to receive detailed information with medical support.

Conferencing and remote-control system for information, training and PPE control

usBIM.platform also features the possibility of making a video call directly from the platform to the smartphone of one or more workers simultaneously. In this way, you can monitor and visually control the worker so to give appropriate instructions on the procedures to be followed when implementing certain group activities.

The system also allows you to check if workers are wearing the devices required by the procedure and if they are doing it correctly.

All this information can be used to reschedule processes and access to common areas by minimizing risk situations and maximizing staff operations.

BIM to tackle COVID-19

The platform is also configured as a cloud training and information system that can be used by means of a smartphone in real time. The safety manager will be able to send all the information materials necessary to face the activity in safety, including interactive or virtual reality training contents that allow adequate training for the activity to be performed.

Digitization of transport documents (CMR, company documentation)

usBIM.platform can also be used to exchange or digitally record documentation between internal staff or between internal and external staff, for example maintenance technicians, couriers, etc., without necessarily proceeding with the manual exchange of paper material.

In addition to minimizing the possibility of contagion, this solution increases the productivity of the whole system thanks to the exchange of information and digital documentation between the various company departments.

Contact us

Send us an email to receive more info about this project or if you’d like to implement this innovative system.

usbim-platform
usbim-platform