‘iPlan’ on a high-tech table
<h2> J. Fred Fox | reporter </h2>
Pittsburg State has reached a new surface of technological advancement in the areas of construction and design.
The College of Technology’s School of Construction is slowly adopting the iPlan Table. It’s an innovative product for construction management that is best described as a 55-inch touch screen.
It is roughly the size of blueprint pages that contractors use for building plans. “It is able to store the hundreds of pages a project normally requires,” said Bill Strenth, assistant professor of construction management. “It really cuts down the need for so much paper and is also incredibly handy on job sites.”
He says that the Fine and Performing Arts Center under construction required about 325 pages of blueprints.
For the foreman on the job site, it allows many functionality features such as easier integration of information.
“It runs like a giant-screened computer … or like a tablet,” he said.
Strenth and other professors are still working on ways to integrate it into their class curriculum.
“Companies are very interested in this type of product, and the ability of having students already familiar with it is a huge bonus to students,” Strenth said. “We’re the only program in the country to have one.”
The National Association of Homebuilders has already started working with it on its projects.
It has helped Seth Russell, senior in construction management, with his senior design project.
He says that it has an easy-to-use interface, and assists with things like estimating building costs and materials or zooming in to see small details.
The iPlan has the ability to convert the plans into a video presentation to show a full three-dimensional model of a project to contractors and builders.
Russell says that his experience with the iPlan will help him in the future, too.
“It’s really going to be a big boost to my resume,” said Russell.
Many companies have begun to implement iPlan tables into their projects such as Kiewit, a contractor that does local construction projects.
Priced at $14,000, iPlan enables lots of savings and optimization of construction projects, Strenth says. It is not limited to blueprints. It can be used for every aspect of the project including accounting for materials, employee information, the budget and other numbers for the project.
Other iPlan tables come in sizes up to 120 inches. The two-finger functionality, akin to a smart phone or tablet, is a $30,000 feature.
As companies find large savings by going green, integration of computers and tools like the iPlan are only going to continue, Strenth says.
“It makes it really easy to update everyone on the project, and present information in meetings,” said Ashley Ferris, junior in construction management. “It’s really fun to use.”