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How to Reduce New Construction Electrical Costs Through Automation Processes

HP SitePrint Blog

How to Reduce New Construction Electrical Costs Through Automation Processes
HP SitePrint Blog

For years, the construction industry has consistently fought rising costs by seeking innovative cost-control solutions. It's prompted construction professionals to increasingly turn to technological breakthroughs showing proven and consistent returns. Learning how to reduce new construction electrical costs using automated robotics can reduce costs by maximizing speed and accuracy, creating ripple effects that impact all teams. With the latest in automated construction solutions, electrical engineers can get ahead of the curve and stay there.

Understanding the Challenges

With rising material costs, all eyes are on electrical teams to remove obstacles to overall project efficiency and decide how to reduce new construction electrical costs.
That's partly because electricians depend on a large cross-section of expensive materials, which makes balancing procurement needs for every crew somewhat difficult. Of course, electrical work also carries an extremely high burden of safety.
It's no surprise, then, that electrical installations receive some of the highest scrutiny in multiphase construction operations. In fact, general contractors may hold electricians liable for monetary damages if planning and layout errors cause significant project delays.
That's largely because projects are at the mercy of city and third-party inspectors, who require appointments booked far in advance. If electrical layouts or installations aren't up to code, it causes major delays and scheduling conflicts (not to mention additional manual labor).
But these immediate and subsequent expenses are hard for any company to bear. Coordinating mobilization effectively between onsite and offsite teams should thus be the highest priority for firms considering how to reduce new construction electrical costs.
There are also major workflow incentives for electrical teams to perform their functions as quickly as possible. To cite just one example, compare the coordination needs of electricians and drywall teams:

  1. When electrical crews complete their work first, it reduces the risk of interfering with drywall installations
  2. Installing electrical systems after drywall practically ensures senseless damage and costly rework
Crowded ceiling space is another good example of strict coordination requirements. Ceilings require a wide range of structural elements, fire safety devices, MEP systems, and much more, drawing multiple crews into limited space. The last thing they need is confusion over site markings.
As simple as it sounds, establishing clear, accurate electrical layouts through automated processes can be a game changer. What these and similar challenges come down to is maximum precision and speed—the essence of construction automation.

How Can Construction Automation Reduce Electrical Costs: Streamlining Project Planning and Design

Construction automation is any onsite process that streamlines rote tasks using automated technology. Whether alone or alongside manual procedures, construction automation can reduce costs by expanding functionality.
Modern electrical construction teams now have many automation tools at their disposal:

  • Automated transfer switches to coordinate between generator and utility power
  • Electrical system design and validation software (also available for electromechanical and electrohydraulic devices)
  • Automated BIM planning for MEP systems
  • Laser marking for automated labeling of circuit breakers and switches
  • Welding robots, such as for custom, in situ electrical enclosures
  • Remote- or software-controlled robots for drilling access holes and routing cables
  • Geospatial positioning systems, including robotic total stations (RTS)
  • Cloud-based BIM monitoring and layout solutions
  • Robotic site printing solutions—marking 2D CAD designs directly onto below- and above-floor work sites
All of these options play a role in organizational strategies for how to reduce new construction electrical costs.

Optimizing Construction Processes With Robotics

Until now, construction robotics have been hard to fully automate due to the inherent novelty of almost every site.
Even when robotics began automating construction site tasks (like designing and laying wire layouts), companies were slow to adopt them at scale. Uncertain about long-term returns, the construction market has been hesitant to propel construction automation robots past the threshold where it becomes cost-prohibitive to not fully leverage a certain technology.
Robotic site printing is one of the most promising exceptions, as the accuracy of sensors, tilt and collision detection, and RTS positioning has now reached razor-thin margins while shattering previous records for speed and efficiency.
With HP SitePrint, the fully automated layout robot has generated enormous and consistent returns. It's also creating lasting workflow improvements among crews dependent on clear and consistent MEP markings on tight schedules.

Workforce Augmentation Through Automation

More than most other teams, layout crews have been quicker to adopt automation. Even the marginal gains of minimally automated RTS layouts have been enough to inspire action. Now, those gains have accelerated to the point where fully automated site printing can easily exceed 10x efficiency rates over manual processes.
These advantages are indispensable for electrical teams. Hands-on layouts can become extremely monotonous, distracting electricians from more important tasks related to verifying a printed layout's safety and accuracy.
Automated site printing augments these and other critical tasks by accomplishing the functions best suited for machination—allowing electricians to perform much higher-value work that keeps the wider project on schedule and error-free. It also advances timeframes by giving design engineers the means of perfecting digital layouts before site printing begins.
The end result for all teams is total confidence that they're receiving a 1:1 copy of the digital plans directly on the site—and in mere hours or days (not weeks).

Implementation Strategies
How to Integrate Automation Into Existing Workflows

The first step in gauging how to reduce new construction electrical costs is deciding which existing site functions are most readily automated.
Many electrical construction firms are now on stable foundations to expand their adoption of robotics. The returns are now obvious to investors, and stakeholders have greater interest for a variety of reasons, including speed and safety.
Construction companies at large share these incentives, eager to enhance the all-important relationship between electricians and the crews who depend on them. For everyone involved, the time is now to invest and prepare in the following ways:

  • Establish training and education programs to upskill staff
  • Compare automation opportunities by closely analyzing case studies
  • Present your findings to stakeholders and investors
  • Pay special attention to the scalability of a given technology
  • Work with the most reputable construction automation companies with a strong track record
We've now witnessed the crossing of an important threshold, where initial market resistance gives way to faster normalization of now-proven technologies.
MEP firms, beleaguered by rising costs, have watched the construction automation arms race with baited anticipation. They've been rightly skeptical of opportunities with high costs of entry. But with automated site layout robotics, those barriers are a thing of the past.

Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis

As with any breakthrough technology, the next phase is a race to adoption. It requires quick action to stay ahead of the curve before the technology reaches a saturation point.
How can we be so sure this is happening now? In just a few short years, HP SitePrint has achieved phenomenal, unheard-of gains in BIM layout efficiency. Our experienced site print technicians have worked closely with numerous early adopters. Together, we've proven HP SitePrint consistently optimizes the metrics that matter most to electrical construction professionals:

  • Up to 10x speed efficiency over manual layouts
  • Single employee operation
  • Minimal downtime
  • All but eliminates layout-related injuries
  • Line accuracy to within 1/8" (3 mm)
  • Compatibility with a large variety of surface types, including porous and non-porous surfaces
  • HP's legendary ink technology, with slow-, medium-, and fast-fade ink options
  • Maintains operations during skilled labor shortages
  • 50–500% ROIs, depending on the scope of the job
  • Saves weeks on manual labor for large-scale layouts
  • Saves man hours
As electrical jobs become bigger and more complex, deciding how to reduce new construction electrical costs raises the bar on automated robotics.
HP SitePrint is raising that bar higher still. By improving electrical layout solutions, electrical firms improve the cost efficiency and accuracy of construction projects from start to finish and at any scale.

Automating Electrical Construction Layouts With HP SitePrint

Electrical engineers en masse are wondering how to combat electrical construction costs through automation processes—and they're taking a much closer look at automated site printing solutions.
HP SitePrint is transforming the industry, delivering immediate results for electrical construction firms facing enormous pressure to improve performance and control costs. Automated site printing solutions can not only meet these challenges but also repeatedly surpass them.
Contact us using the form in the top-right corner, and learn more about how to combat electrical construction costs through automation process options.

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