Truebeck Maximized Productivity and Efficiency on Complex Life Sciences Facility

Dusty Robotics’ multi-trade layout capability leads to teamwide collaboration, improving accuracy and profitability on a complicated office and laboratory project.
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Days to lay out 90,000 square feet
Accuracy in the field
Model errors per floor caught during layout

Truebeck Construction is an industry-leading full-service general contractor that specializes in technical building and complex projects. It faced a major challenge when tasked with coordinating and printing the entire layout of a congested and complicated 90,000 square foot life sciences facility in California's Silicon Valley in just one month. With no room for error, the contractor relied on Dusty Robotics to help accelerate the process and meet the tight deadline. The results far exceeded expectations, yielding 100% accuracy to the digital model and expedited schedule, saving significant time and money.

By printing multiple trades’ layout at one time with the Dusty Robotics FieldPrint Platform, Truebeck completed the entire layout on the five 17,700-square-foot floors (90,000 square feet in total) in less than 10 days–an effort that would have taken multiple weeks with traditional layout methods. Andrea Hernando, Senior Construction Tech Innovation Engineer, said that "what took a couple of days with Dusty Robotics would have taken weeks to get everything laid out" using traditional methods.

Multi-Trade Layout Resolves Conflict Before Installation Begins

A key component to guaranteeing speed and accuracy on this complex project was Dusty’s multi-trade layout capabilities, which prints all trades’ layout at one time including drywall, electrical, plumbing, mechanical duct and piping, and engineering. The FieldPrinter printed a coordinated model that included every trade’s layout and all work to be done on the floor simultaneously, allowing people employed by different trades to walk the floor together and identify conflicts before installation began. Because trades worked together and stacked work to complete tasks that otherwise would be spread out, delays were avoided, which saved time and money on the project.

“With Dusty we’re able to have everybody work together and we can see if there are issues with layout points in the CAD before we lay them out in the field.”

“If we have mechanical laying out first and then plumbing comes in and there’s some issues we see afterward, we have to go back to the drawing board and have a conversation about it–or maybe it’s not even picked up altogether," explained David Bogan, Senior Superintendent at Truebeck. He added that because "everything was laid out at one time with Dusty, I could start building in less than an hour after starting the layout process."

Using Dusty Robotics for multi-trade layout was crucial to the project’s success. The tight schedule and complexity of the MEPF systems demanded an efficient solution. Traditional methods would have been too time-consuming to meet Truebeck's deadlines.

“When you see all the layout, piping and equipment on the floor, it’s easier to deal with that and see where everything is going,” says Shukri Khoury, foreman at United Mechanical. “Dusty saves lots of time for our company and helps us get ahead on the project.”

Plan for Multi-Trade Layout During Preconstruction

Trade partners submitted point files and drawings of their layout to Truebeck Construction, who then combined them all into a single, multi-trade model using the Dusty Portal. This combined model was then laid out in the field using the FieldPrinter.

“We provided Dusty Robotics as a tool to help with their layout–we didn’t do their layout ourselves,” says Justin Porter, Construction Technology Innovation Director for Truebeck Construction. “Each trade still validated that their layout was right.”

All subcontractors quickly learned to use and leverage Dusty Robotics’ capabilities. As the project progressed and trade contractors learned how to deliver more of what they wanted to see in the field, they began to lay out additional elements like line work including mechanical shop drawings. Subcontractors quickly discovered that Dusty Robotics helps them improve efficiency and profitability. 

"We knew we had to get buy in for our trade partners very early in the project for this to be successful," Porter says. “Together, we could plan how to get the most value of Dusty and figure out how to do this from a multi-trade perspective." Some of Truebeck Construction’s trade partners already were familiar with Dusty Robotics, including its mechanical and drywall contractors. In fact, Truebeck requires the use of Dusty Robotics by trade partners on many of its projects in order to expedite schedule and reduce the risk of errors.

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Solve Challenges Without Losing Time or Money Using Multi-Trade Layout

The multi-trade layout identified conflicts early that were remedied with no impact to the project schedule or budget. For example, Truebeck Construction always uses laser scanning in conjunction with Dusty Robotics to ensure walls and other as-built conditions will work with MEP systems. On this project, two to three errors were identified on each floor, including column wraps that were not large enough and had not been coordinated in the model. 

“We coordinate architecture in the beginning to make sure the floor plan and footprint of the building align with trade layouts so we can catch items earlier,” says Andrea Hernando. “We had to bump out walls or make them larger so they align with core shell walls. Some were a little off what the model showed and needed to be adjusted to accommodate. Those issues were resolved quickly in one call to the architect.”

Incorporating Dusty Robotics to avoid rework and make complex projects more successful is a competitive advantage to contractors like Truebeck Construction working in Silicon Valley and other progressive regions. 

“Showing that we are tech-savvy can help us win projects in the Bay Area because it’s such a tech-forward environment,” Porter says. “We show we leverage technology, we’re efficient and our work is high quality because we use these tools, which gives us an advantage.”

Truebeck Construction’s use of Dusty Robotics impressed the project owner, who frequently walked the floor with the contractor to see the layout and envision the future project early in the construction process. 

“They were impressed by seeing the representation on the floor and how it was installed so closely to the layout,” Hernando says. “It validated that we have a good process.”

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