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In risk management, important lessons often come from incidents caught before they cause injury or property damage. Such was the case with a complex construction project inside a major sports stadium.

Broadmoor, L.L.C., a subsidiary of heavy civil contractor Boh Bros. Construction Co., L.L.C., was contracted to demolish sections in a vast space inside the existing stadium structure to prepare for further renovation. The first phase of the project was to remove ramps to make room for new elevators and other conveyances. Interested in monitoring air quality and moisture during the project, the contractor partnered with AXA XL and Pillar Technologies to deploy specialized sensors that acted as “digital eyes and ears” on the site.

Pillar, a digital construction technology company, administers customizable sensors that monitor conditions on jobsites, including temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, noise and particulates. In the stadium renovation, Pillar placed more than 50 networked devices to send alerts to designated individuals on the contractor’s construction management team. The work took place across eight stories, each comprising up to five work zones. Pillar installed sensors on every level, with each device capable of monitoring approximately a 3,000-square-foot area.

One day, a sensor instantly alerted the contractor after detecting an elevated temperature in a work zone. Quickly identifying the location, the construction management team went to investigate. They discovered a diesel excavator working in a tight space was heating up the air. The team also learned the activity was emitting a high level of carbon monoxide. It is not uncommon or necessarily dangerous for machinery to work indoors but the incident showed that every construction is unique, with its own set of variables. When those variables change, risks can arise. That’s when the sensor technology is particularly helpful, to keep track of changing conditions before they create safety issues.

In addition to helping the contractor enhance its risk management and safety, the sensor also ensured a safe outcome on a high-profile project.

For this project, the sensors were deployed to monitor temperature as well as indicators of air quality such as concrete dust particulates and carbon monoxide.

Extra eyes on safety
It’s critical for contractors to assess safety risks and remain aware of changing conditions, and most contractors strive to do that. However, limited staff on even small sites, let alone a venue as large as a stadium, means it is impossible for safety teams to observe all work activities all the time. Even for the most safety conscious contractor, having extra eyes on worksite safety is valuable.

For this project, the sensors were deployed to monitor temperature as well as indicators of air quality such as concrete dust particulates and carbon monoxide.

Besides this project, Pillar is being used by a wide variety of construction sites from multifamily wood frame to high rise apartments and healthcare. In each case, construction teams are interested in monitoring and preventing conditions that could lead to loss and delay. In wood frame construction the PODs are placed throughout the project to protect primarily against fire and mold. Alternatively, in healthcare construction, teams are using the PODs to ensure air quality and particulates are not affecting the active hospital during renovation.

Alternatively, the PODS can be deployed to prevent certain conditions caused by climate or season. A project in Philadelphia deployed Pillar to monitor for freezing conditions during the winter months. A freezing temp alert from Pillar was received in the middle of a cold night. They were able to send someone to the job site and found a window had been left open on the project causing the temperature to drop quickly. They were able to close the window quickly allowing the buildings temporary heating unit to recover and prevent a frozen pipe loss.

Sensor technology is able to monitor site conditions around the clock and activate safety response teams. In the past, construction contractors had to rely on visual inspections, which might not identify dangerous conditions promptly. With real-time data on site activities, contractors can respond to changing risk factors to protect people and property faster and more effectively.

Pillar has been integrated as a collaborator in the AXA XL Construction Ecosystem, providing alerts and project specific information to those that have adopted Pillar and are users of the Construction Ecosystem. This integration will give Customers the ability to toggle between projects and seeing how Pillar sensors are performing. AXA XL is providing a unique cross project portfolio view to select contractors via the Ecosystem technology.

AXA XL is proud to work with innovative technology collaborators to build stronger partnerships with our customers, empower risk managers to reduce risk and improve their businesses. For more information, please visit axaxl.com.

About the Authors
Justin Gress is director of strategic operations, North America Construction, for AXA XL. He can be reached at justin.gress@axaxl.com.

Anne-Gwin Duval is risk manager of Boh Bros. Construction Inc. in New Orleans

Alex Schwarzkopf is the founder and chief executive officer of Pillar Technologies Inc. in New York.


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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

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