How GIS Helps Reduce Construction Waste

How GIS Helps Reduce Construction Waste

The concept of building more with less waste appeals to everyone involved in the construction industry, where margins are slim and every advantage is needed to keep your budget intact.

Experts believe that GIS (geographic information system) technology will help reduce construction waste, creating a more sustainable blueprint for construction projects at a time when the number of new builds is skyrocketing.

The Engineering News-Record tackled this topic in a recent article on its website. They cited data from the Environmental Protection Agency, which found that an estimated 600 million tons of construction and demolition debris was produced in 2018 – more than twice what’s collected from residential curbs annually.

143.8 million tons of that waste headed straight for landfills.

“Keeping construction debris out of landfills is easier said than done, especially when faced with materials of unknown age, origin, warranty, or value,” writes ENR. “Construction officials documenting materials for a new build, sometimes referred to as a materials bank or passport, can lean on location technology to map everything in a digital record. That way, when a building reaches the end of its lifecycle and nears demolition, the owner will have an exact inventory and location of each asset. This includes knowing where, for example, a light fixture came from, allowing for it to be returned to the manufacturer and warrantied again for reuse.”

Two men look to the left of screen while holding tablets.
GIS technology is believed to be a solution for construction waste, as well as subsurface damage.

A GIS is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.

“GIS technology is a crucial part of spatial data infrastructure, which the White House defines as ‘the technology, policies, standards, human resources, and related activities necessary to acquire, process, distribute, use, maintain, and preserve spatial data,’” reads an article in National Geographic.

Digitizing the data of materials used in a construction project using GIS technology “enables location awareness and spatial analysis,” ENR argues.

“By going beyond a binder of printed pages handed off at project completion, it ensures the end user will have every detail about every asset inside their building,” the publication wrote.

The Common Ground Alliance echoes ENR’s belief that new technologies and practices will help improve the overall health and efficiency of the construction industry.

In its 2022 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, the CGA wrote that contractors and excavators’ “commitment to forward-thinking practices, engagement across committees and programs, participation in the Damage Prevention Institute, and investments in innovative technologies and process are essential” in efforts to reverse troubling trends in subsurface damages on jobsites.

The problems of subsurface damage and construction waste share a common cause: inaccurate and/or incomplete infrastructure data.

The annual estimated cost of construction mistakes is $1.7 trillion, according to ENR. The American Society of Civil Engineers found that 76% of failed/collapsed structures failed during the design or construction phase due to poor/inaccurate data. And according to BuildingSmart Alliance, architecture & construction-related industries have seen just a 1% overall improvement in productivity over the past two decades.

A man on the left uses an EM locator while a woman on the right walks with a GPR scanner.
GPRS utility locating and mapping services are 99.8%+ accurate, providing you with the peace of mind that comes with a complete record of your jobsite.

Getting Off on the Right Foot

While GIS technology promises to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of construction projects, it’s only half of the solution equation.

To ensure you can import a complete, accurate record of your entire jobsite into your GIS platform of choice, you need to start with complete and accurate utility locating and mapping data.

GPRS provides 99.8%+ accurate utility locating and precision concrete scanning & imaging, and millimeter-accurate 3D laser scanning services to document every detail of your jobsite and ensure you avoid dangerous subsurface damage, and/or costly mistakes and reworks.

Using state-of-the-art ground penetrating radar and 3D laser scanning technology, we can capture the precise as-built conditions of your site so that you know exactly what was constructed and where. This ensures efficiency when it comes time for maintenance, renovation, or even demolition.

All the data collected on site by our SIM-certified Project Managers is instantly uploaded into SiteMap® (patent pending), our industry-leading, cloud-based infrastructure management platform.

SiteMap® gives you instant access to complete and aggregated site data, which is all geolocated, layered, and securely shareable in an intuitive user interface. It compliments your existing GIS program to ensure you always have what you need, when you need it. And it’s powered by the unparalleled accuracy of GPRS’ suite of infrastructure visualization services.

From skyscrapers to sewer lines, GPRS Intelligently Visualizes The Built World® to keep you on time, on budget, and safe.

What can we help you visualize? Click the links below to schedule a service or request a quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GIS used for?

A GIS, or geographic information system, is a digital solution for capturing, storing, checking, and/or displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. GIS technology connects data to a map, allowing for accurate locating and analysis of a variety of objects such as subsurface utilities.

What are the Benefits of Underground Utility Mapping?

Having an updated and accurate map of your subsurface infrastructure reduces accidents, budget overruns, change orders, and project downtime caused by dangerous and costly subsurface damage.

How does SiteMap® assist with Utility Mapping?

SiteMap®, powered by GPRS, is the industry-leading infrastructure management program. It is a single source of truth, housing the 99.8%+ accurate utility locating, concrete scanning, video pipe inspection, leak detection, and 3D laser scanning data our Project Managers collect on your job site. And the best part is you get a complimentary SiteMap® Personal Subscription when GPRS performs a utility locate for you.

Does SiteMap® work with my existing GIS platform?

SiteMap® allows for exporting of data to SHP, GeoJSON, GeoPackage, and DXF directly from any user’s account that either owns or has a job shared to their account. All these file formats can be imported and utilized by other GIS packages if manually imported by the user. More information can be found here.