Specialists in Health Care and Education
Nobody opens a construction business because they expect easy money. Costs are high, bids are competitive, and the industry is hit harder by economic downturns than most.
Even so, Knutson Construction has thrived in Minnesota and Iowa for more than a hundred years. With world-renowned health care providers and major universities on its list of prestigious clients, the company’s reputation as a specialist in health care and education projects couldn’t be stronger. Knutson is equally awed by its clients: visionaries who heal people in need and care about youth.
The Move from 2D to 3D
Knutson is a streamlined, family-owned company, and it uses its agility to react to opportunities and changes faster than larger firms can. One of those opportunities
was the digital revolution, which was slow to take hold in an industry that traditionally relied on manual approaches. “Construction lags behind in technology,” says Katie Montag, Knutson’s virtual design and construction director, “and there’s a chance for us to make up lost ground.”
Last year, Knutson was looking for a more efficient, productive way to show completed projects to clients and decided that Matterport offered the ideal platform.
“Matterport allows us to go to a jobsite, quickly walk through the space, and capture it in a way that used to require thousands of photos and a lot of complex folders,” Montag says. “We replaced that with a simple scan that provides high-quality information, is much easier to navigate, and is way more informative for our clients and us.”
Knutson’s Clients have access to Matterport 3D scans almost immediately. And because they can virtually navigate through the space on their own and drill down into whatever they want whenever they want, client conversations are more informed and specific.
“Everyone is familiar with standard street views today,” Montag explains. “Now we can capture interior spaces in much richer detail and make those available to clients who might be anywhere in the world.”
This is even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic because the construction industry has to limit the number of individuals onsite at a time. Matterport enables Knutson to conduct virtual inspections instead of physical ones, for instance. “We collaborate with the superintendent, the project manager, and the space designer to ensure we capture exactly what needs to be scanned for the inspector to sign off on it,” explains Montag.
Producing Accurate Construction Documentation 2X Faster
Knutson uses the Matterport Pro2 for interior scans and the Leica BLK 360 for the exterior, with Mattertags linking and cross-referencing the two. A Ricoh Theta camera is a great portable option to quickly capture progress on a jobsite or a walk through of a pre-bid project. The images are transformed by Matterport’s Cortex AI into an immersive 3D digital twin with accurate spatial and measurement data.
Ten minutes after Knutson’s designer partners first saw what the Matterport platform could do, they put away their traditional cameras and tape measures. “Measurements captured by the Pro2 camera are incredibly accurate,” Montag says. “We no longer need to measure spaces by hand. We can get all of our imagery and dimensions directly from the scan, giving us accurate insight into the size and condition of each space.”
One person can now reliably do a job that once required four: the estimator, the pre-construction manager, the project manager, and the virtual design construction manager. As a result, the number of jobsite visits has been drastically reduced by 75 percent.
“We can produce our construction documentation and images at least twice as fast now thanks to Matterport,” says Montag. ”Plus, we end up with reliable dimensional information and photo documentation all in a single file.”
Protecting Staff and Clients during COVID-19
Recently Knutson renovated an elementary school and built a new one, along with a day-care facility and some community education buildings, in Northfield, Minnesota. The project took over ten months to complete, with COVID-19 striking right in the middle of it. The inability to visit or work at the jobsite threatened its completion.
Matterport solved the problem. Knutson continually captured and shared the progress of the project so that stakeholders could virtually monitor the status anytime. And when the project was completed, they scanned all 90,000 square feet of the new school so that parents, students, and the wider community could tour it as a “virtual open house.”
“Matterport allowed us to share progress with board members, our leadership team, and others as the building was being constructed,” says Northfield school district superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann. “We received very positive feedback from people who couldn’t visit during the pandemic.”
Knocking Down Barriers to Access
Ten minutes or less of training is all the teams at Knutson need to be successful with Matterport. Project engineers, superintendents, and business developers are all comfortable using it. Designers can integrate the Matterport 3D model with their architecture software far more easily than the older and much larger files. “Matterport provides a file that is far easier to load, manipulate, view, and use throughout the design process,” Montag says.
With simultaneous access to Matterport scans, designers, contractors, and subcontractors can make decisions faster. Meetings are shorter and less frequent. In the past, 3D modeling was primarily a visualization tool. Now it's becoming a data tool used to share information across teams. “It's not just the pictures anymore,” explains Montag,
“it's all the valuable information that's associated with each image. The virtual walkthroughs help everyone make decisions immediately because we have the same access to the same information at the same time.”
The 3D scans have even become a business development tool. “By using Matterport, we find that we’re winning projects faster,” Montag says. “We can provide information to prospective clients that they likely didn’t have before, and we’re also seeing our own costs to win business—and then subsequently manage it—decrease.”
ABOUT KNUTSON CONSTRUCTION
Knutson Construction, founded in 1911 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in Rochester and Mankato, Minnesota and Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides general contracting, construction management, and pre-construction services to clients throughout that region, specializing in health care and education projects. The company nurtures a culture of innovation, collaboration and putting clients first.
Create accurate 3D scans of construction projects to increase work efficiency, speed up decision making, and share progress and completed projects with clients.
Matterport Pro2, Leica BLK360, Ricoh Theta
Matterport synthesizes high-definition images with spatial data and measurements to produce immersive 3D digital twins that can be analyzed and explored without having to travel.
Produce construction documentation 2x faster
Reduce site visits from four project members to one
Eliminate in-person site inspections during COVID-19
Replace thousands of 2D photos with a Matterport 3D virtual walkthrough