5 Ways to Improve Layout Accuracy and Speed with Trimble FieldLink

June 10, 2020 Bryan Williams

As the construction industry grows more competitive and the labor shortage continues, construction contractors are being challenged to work with greater speed and accuracy. Continuing to rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual layout methods can hurt your ability to keep up. 

Layout is a critical step between design and structural reality. But it’s also notoriously time-consuming and tedious, particularly when details are lacking. When layout crews use the right tools and technologies for the job, they can:

  • Increase speed while improving accuracy
  • Gain better access to project data
  • Speed up and automate workflows
  • Create a feedback loop between the field and office

Trimble FieldLink is an easy-to-learn layout software solution. By bridging the gap between the office and the field, Trimble FieldLink helps you improve coordination between designers and the jobsite in real time. Layout professionals are able to collaborate with other stakeholders to achieve greater accuracy and efficiency during layout workflows. 

Here are five ways Trimble FieldLink can help you optimize your layout process.

1. Connect to multiple instruments

Instead of having to switch between multiple software solutions and instruments to complete layout tasks, Trimble FieldLink works with a range of instruments including robotic total stations, rapid positioning tools, 3D scanners, and GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receivers. No matter the task, you can use the best positioning technology you need to complete it, knowing that FieldLink will integrate with the instrument and require no additional training.

“With the Trimble FieldLink/robotic total station process, we can install hangers faster and safer with fewer people.”

— Joe Bright, Field Pipe Manager, MTech

2. Import PDFs to perform layout

There may be times when it’s necessary to bring paper plans to the field to perform layout, especially if you lack a CAD department. You can import PDF plans into Trimble FieldLink to complete layout in the field. The import process allows you to assign and verify proper scale, as well as turn the line work of the PDF into CAD geometry to make it easier to work with.

3. Add points to an existing plan

Whether you’ve imported a PDF or are working with a 2D or 3D model, you can add additional points from the office or directly in the field. This capability helps you perform automated layout and data collection on any background geometry you choose, or you can simply start with a blank job if you prefer. You can place points on endpoints, midpoints, circles/arc centers, and intersections. You can also create, name, and layer control points in the plan to keep workflows organized.

“The Trimble FieldLink system is very precise and works exactly as we expected.”

— Jim Mercer, Commercial Project Manager, Ken Neyer Plumbing

4. Build a digital plan from a printed one

If you have only a printed plan to work from, you can use Trimble FieldLink to create digital data from the plan. By using the layer management tool, you can manage and visualize information important to layout, prepare it for field layout crews, and share it as a common FieldLink file. The information can then be shared with the office to compare it against the original plan, simplifying the interface between the office and the field. 

5. Create point patterns 

To eliminate the time you need in the field to create individual offset points, Trimble FieldLink allows you to create point patterns for things like anchor bolts, column offsets, and other common components. You can select X and Y values to create a grid pattern first, then save and load the pattern into the map view. Once in the map view, you can click on any layout point to drop in the pattern and rotate it to whatever angle you choose.

“With the aid of 3D coordination and Trimble FieldLink, precision installations have become not only possible, but commonplace—no matter the structure, scope, or scale.”

— John Gray, CAD BIM Manager, COSCO Fire Protection

Optimize Layout with an Integrated Layout Solution 

When you combine Trimble FieldLink with an intuitive robotic layout solution, you can address the challenges and risks that typically come with layout, while increasing your speed and improving accuracy.

To learn more about how to evaluate the right layout solution for your needs, get the buyer’s guide.

About the Author

Bryan Williams, Segment Manager, Field Technology Group, Trimble Buildings. Bryan has nearly 30 years of international experience working in the construction industry as a site engineer, construction surveyor, project supervisor and consultant. He has spent the last 15 years developing and marketing intelligent positioning solutions for the construction industry as part of Trimble’s Buildings.

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