It is very easy to talk about the benefits of mobile technology, but it is often hard to really understand them. The decision to invest in a mobile solution is inevitably a financial one, but any improvement in efficiency or cost effectiveness is ultimately due to the behaviour of the employees using it. For those individuals an improvement in efficiency is also an improvement to the quality of their working life.
Katie is a site engineer working for Costain and has first-hand experience of the difficulties of keeping accurate records in the frenetic environment of a construction site. Such records are important for many reasons, but not least to ensure the accountability of all parties and their adherence to a safe and assured method of working. Katie is one of the engineers who has been testing the MobiCloud Site Diary App and knows all too well what it is like working the “old way”...
"Typically I arrive in the office before the sun is up, determined to get a hot drink before venturing out onto site. After a manic half hour ensuring all the paperwork is in place including permits, inductions, briefings, drawings and check sheets I finally get out onto site...without a brew. Suddenly, it dawns on me that I didn’t write up my site diary last night for yesterday’s activities! I had been working late and by the time I got back to the site office getting home to bed was all I could think of. Its ok, I say to myself, I shall write it tonight along with today’s when I get back in. I can still remember what happened yesterday...can’t I?"
“So the day starts…concrete deliveries, reinforcement deliveries, muck away wagons, excavator breaks down, fitter arrives to fix excavator, oil spill on site, clean up oil spill on site, take photos with camera, weekly SHE [Safety Health & Environment] inspection completed, actions from weekly SHE inspection handed out, problem with the design on a drawing, speak to designers about the problem, wait for a response, order in make-up load for the concrete pour, fill in inspection and test plan...at last morning break!”
"I frantically brew up during the half an hour ‘break’ whilst responding to the raft of emails that have come through during the morning. In what feels like 5 minutes, the morning break is over and off I go out onto site again…"
"Arrive on site, speak to Foreman about works being carried out, check reinforcement schedule to make sure all the reinforcement has been delivered, realise there is reinforcement missing, ring supplier about missing reinforcement, subcontractor claiming setting out is incorrect, check setting out, back into the office for engineers meeting...now lunch."
"Again, eat over the computer whilst responding to queries and placing more materials orders for future works. Half an hour up...back outside!"
"The setting out is now ready for tomorrow’s work, check setting out and make sure it is all correct, confirm concrete orders for the following day, dumper breaks down, fitter out tomorrow to fix dumper, make sure subcontractor is happy with setting out ready for works tomorrow. It’s now getting dark...head back to the office to close out all the paperwork."
"After half an hour of completing paperwork and another sending out emails and uploading photos I’m exhausted and hungry...definitely time to go home!"
"I leave the office after the sun has gone down, wave to the security guard to wish him good night...and then I remember...I haven’t done my site diary for today...or yesterday! It’s ok, I tell myself, I will do them tomorrow. Now what happened yesterday again...? Hmm…hang on...what happened today?!”
Site engineers typically work long unsociable hours – a twelve hour day is not unusual and when things go wrong the hours get longer. Any time that can be saved, especially on mundane tasks that are a waste of an engineer’s skills, is a blessing. An extra thirty minutes in the day can make the difference between a well-run site and a happy engineer and a chaotic site with an engineer headed for a breakdown.
One of the major benefits of the Site Diary App is that it allows records to be made as and when events occur and in a way that does not require writing up or transcribing later. This saves time, reduces the need for hastily scribbled notes and removes the stress of trying to recall events retrospectively. It also improves the quality of the record and provides something that has never been available before – a verifiable electronic audit trail. This can be extremely valuable to a construction company when it needs to prove a particular sequence of events, for example as part of dispute resolution or an investigation into an accident or unsafe occurrence. However, on a day-to-day basis the greatest benefit to the site engineer is time…
“I arrive in to the office before the sun comes up. Brew up to ensure I get a hot drink before venturing out onto site. All the paperwork is in place including permits, inductions, briefings, drawings and check sheets from the night before. I pick up my iPad and head out onto site.
The usual activities ensue, however I am now able to record each one in real time as they happen. Not only can I record the plant and labour used, I can record where it’s happening, how it’s happening and more importantly if there are any delays or issues with subcontractors! As well as these extremely useful features, the efficiencies don’t stop there!
For each entry I can take photos and attach them directly to the information so they will be there as reference when reviewed (no downloading from a camera and trying to match them up later!). Also, I don’t need to remember the weather forecast! The app is directly linked to the local weather and records it automatically without me having to think about it!For more information about the MobiCloud Site Diary App, please visit our website. If you want to try out the benefits of the App within your own organisation then it is currently available on a free trial basis.
The same goes for emails too...I can respond in a more timely fashion directly from my ipad!
I leave the office before the sun goes down, wave to the security guard to wish him good night...and I think...paperwork done, site diaries complete...bring on tomorrow!”