It's the building visualization and modeling aspects of the dashboard that has Jacobs excited. In 2012, Jacobs began working with Autodesk on cloud-based 3D visualization software that allows users to see digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places such as architecture, plumbing, electrical wiring and structural engineering. One of the perks is "clash resolution," the problem that arises when, for example, a beam intersects with a column. Once identified, project managers can alter the design on the fly rather than redo the entire drawing.
Looking at buildings through a new Lens
JE Dunn added a proprietary pricing technology, called Lens, to the dashboard. Built with Microsoft and Autodesk, the app provides cost estimates for each building element in the 3D model. Users can open a building model in Dunn Dashboard, click on an object in the model and see how much it costs, including the object cost relative to the entire building estimate. Users can also change object properties -- say from wood to brick -- to see the financial impact of the change. Previously, calculating the cost of such a change would take two weeks.
"Now it's instant," Jacobs says. "It's absolutely our biggest piece of technology that is changing how we estimate how much buildings are going to cost."
Today, 42,000 users, including JE Dunn employees and their constituents, access 498 websites addressing projects such as hospitals, advanced manufacturing facilities and office parks, among other sites. By collaborating via the platform, project stakeholders can stay abreast of cost and schedule overruns.
Improvements to the Dunn Dashboard are forthcoming. Although Jacobs initially built the Dunn Dashboard to be accessible via any Web browser, the portal has not yet been upgraded for responsive Web design, which would provide users a consistent experience regardless of their device. Jacobs says his team is overhauling the portal to run in SharePoint 2016, which will provide a more consistent user experience across all devices.
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