OpenSpace Reality Capture technology gave Lipman a new-found confidence in accurately capturing the entirety of its projects, an invaluable asset for the construction company’s ongoing delivery of school infrastructure projects in the Central West region of New South Wales.
With more than 55 years in the construction game, commercial builder Lipman has delivered an abundance of iconic projects across New South Wales, including Sydney’s Raging Waters water park and the Macquarie University Arts Precinct. The company has a passion for construction excellence and harnesses the latest innovations, materials and design to ensure the success of its projects – a passion that led to its partnership with construction technology solutions provider OpenSpace.
In 2022, Lipman’s IT Manager identified the potential for improved project management by utilising OpenSpace Capture, an automated site capture system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a live, as-built record of a construction site.
Shortly after, Lipman commenced live trials of OpenSpace Capture on its remote $29 million Central West Schools project for NSW School Infrastructure. Led by Lipman Project Manager Shamus Long, the project included the construction of new teaching spaces and refurbishment of existing facilities at Bletchington Public School in Orange and Millthorpe Public School in Millthorpe, New South Wales.
OpenSpace’s 360 Reality Capture technology quickly and easily captures a comprehensive visual record of a construction site to verify work-in-place, simplify dispute resolution, and keep teams accountable. Its AI-powered computer vision and analytics tools give construction teams the visibility and insights they need with the power to compare building information modelling to as-built, automatically track progress, and stay on schedule. OpenSpace’s powerful integrations and Field Notes feature help businesses streamline workflows to enable better communication, smarter resource allocation, and faster decisions. Fundamentally, OpenSpace enables the operator to fully document the project site for an up-to-date, collaborative record of the building from preconstruction to handover and operation.
As a Project Manager, Long says he’s always looking for new ways to improve team optimisation and the efficiency of daily functions. “Historically we captured the build process by going around the project site and manually taking photos,” Long explains. “It was up to our visual supervisors and administrative staff to manually guide onsite photography and its various elements which was a good and robust process.”
“However, if we needed to look back at historical project data, we’d often find the photos would be poor quality or not taken at the right angle.”
Working closely with Long, OpenSpace Director – Australia & New Zealand Milton Walters was keen to showcase the capabilities of OpenSpace Capture in a live project environment.
With over a decade of experience in senior roles in the construction technology space, including as Chief Executive Officer at HammerTech and Vice President Marketing APAC at Procore Technologies, Walters says he joined OpenSpace because he hadn’t seen anything like its technology before.
“I was absolutely blown away by OpenSpace and still am to this day,” says Walters. “When I was approached by Lipman, I knew our technology would transform the way it manages its projects.”
As it happens, the trials were a complete success. Long says OpenSpace Capture provided better coverage of the build process, streamlined the capture of project progress, enabled the easy identification of possible defects and gave the Lipman project team the confidence of guaranteed accurate data. As well as the team onsite, those back in Lipman’s head office could view the live captures and insights generated from the built-in AI.
“From the very start of the Central West Schools project, the value of OpenSpace really came to the fore,” says Long. “We’ve now successfully delivered both schools which have been operational for over four months.”
Lipman delivered a new two-storey learning hub including ten new flexible learning spaces, a hall upgrade, a new ICT special programs unit, refurbishment of existing learning spaces, replacement of the covered outdoor learning area and upgraded walkways at Bletchington Public School.
At Millthorpe Public School, Lipman delivered a new two-storey learning hub including 10 flexible learning spaces, a new library and additional practical activity areas, the renovation of the existing administration area and a new staff room, and the renovation of Heritage Block B with new covered outdoor areas and walkways.
Long says the historical snapshot of project progress captured by OpenSpace proved incredibly useful when the client came back and asked Lipman to install several large artworks on one of the newly constructed walls. He knew there was hydraulic services behind that particular wall and if they drilled through and perforated one of the pipes it could cause a flood.
But with OpenSpace, says Long, the project team was able to go back and look at the captures behind the wall with supreme confidence.
“If we drilled through without that information and cracked a pipe, it could have flooded and caused damage to the entire ground floor and of course the wall would have had to be replaced,” explains Long. “It’s hard to put a value on the level of confidence it has provided us.”
“OpenSpace has optimised a task that historically was met with satisfaction, but now is ironclad.”
Further impressing Long and the Lipman team was the onboarding process. Typically, when a construction company thinks about adopting a new technology solution, it has to consider the sometimes-lengthy onboarding process that comes with it. In the case of OpenSpace, onboarding takes merely an hour. After the one-hour boarding session, Long says it was plug-and-play. “It was a very straightforward process,” he adds.
Following the success of the OpenSpace trials on the Central West Schools project, Lipman has now adopted the software across various other projects. OpenSpace’s Milton Walters says he will continue to foster the relationship between OpenSpace and Lipman, with hopes of seeing the use of OpenSpace technology across the business in the near future.
Optimising efficiency is becoming ever important in the rapidly changing world of construction, and Lipman’s adoption of OpenSpace is a clear example of the role technology will continue to play in improving business performance.
“I don’t think people really understand the depth and breadth of how difficult it has been across the construction industry over the last 12 months,” says Walters. “The number of insolvencies is extraordinary and it’s not just the small family subcontractors going under, it’s also the large commercial and residential contractors.”
“To address this continued uncertainty around business security, saving time and money and reducing risk is vital – and that’s exactly what we do.
“Whether I was a subcontractor, builder, owner or work consultant, I could see a way of using OpenSpace to enable my efficiency levels to be increased dramatically.”
Lipman joins a portfolio of leading industry names, such as BESIX Watpac, Mirvac and ADCO, harnessing OpenSpace to optimise efficiency and successfully deliver the buildings and infrastructure of Australia.