14-16 May 2019

How digital transformation is creating paperless building sites

New technology is changing the face of building sites— with every construction employee walking around with a smartphone in their pocket, there’s less paper floating around, more apps being utilised and a commitment to sustainability and collaboration.

Streamlined processes not only save time and money, but improve safety that could save lives. Here’s how technology is getting rid of paper for building professionals on site as well as for designers and engineers through the entire building project.

On site: online safety inductions

It’s common practice for construction site inductions to be held at a business headquarters or at the building site office. Using mobile applications (like Induct for Work), means that staff don’t need to use paper and pen and can complete the induction on their own phone or iPad.

A more efficient way of managing inductions can mean staff get to work sooner. There’s less likelihood of a completed induction getting lost in filing, and less photocopying to make sure everyone that needs a copy has one.

On site: site inspections and audits

Forget the clipboard, printing out checklists and audit lists that might be out of date, and never being able to find a pen. Another app (like iAuditor) lets you drag and drop your own lists in, create more within the platform or use pre-loaded templates.

The best apps and software in this space use simple logic to step the user through the process and what to do next. For example, if a user marks that an area has a hazard or safety issue, the app will prompt the user to take a photo of the hazard with their device to be uploaded as part of the report. Your team can be trained to collect safety and audit information to maintain consistent standards across the site and multiple projects.

Tip: Look for an app that will let you work offline if you’re at a site without internet access— and the downloads your updates into the app/cloud later.

DM Civil goes paperless

Many businesses have paper-based knowledge, templates and IP built up over many years. This was the case for DM Civil, based in WA, who’ve been in business for over 40 years. When it was time to digitise, they didn’t want to lose that information and experience.

To combat this, they found an app where they could easily replicate their existing paper forms or choose new templates. Data is captured via iPads and can be recorded on or offline.

Day-to-day, their team uses the app to keep track of forms like daily job sheets, compaction test reports, checklists, pressure test records, productivity logs, incident reports, site inductions and permits to work. Site plans and drawings can be modified within the system and communicated instantly to site managers.

DM Civil’s commitment to the paperless model stems from a simple philosophy—site supervisors spending less time on paperwork and administrators spending less time collating hand written reports are adding value to their business and improving client outcomes.

BIM: transforming design and collaboration

Going paperless isn’t just for the trades and construction management. Building information modelling (BIM) has been evolving in Australia for years and is a key part of how many construction projects are being managed.

With the global BIM market expected to be worth $6.5 billion in 2020, industry bodies are encouraging the Australian design and building sector, and governments, to boost their current investment to upgrade software and hardware and address the skills shortage of BIM specialists.

Focussed on shared information and specs, a renewed BIM focus in the Australian sector may continue to improve collaboration and regulatory compliance.

Collaborating with OpenBIM

buildingSMART Australasia supports the OpenBIM concept where information can be exchanged through a vendor-neutral program.

OpenBIM relies on key shared technologies including:

  • IFC (industry foundation class)—a common data model that allows data to be exchanged between different software applications.
  • IFD (international framework for dictionaries)—builds a data dictionary of shared terms, attributes and terms.
  • IDM (information delivery manual)—captures and maps individual processes to guide project flow.
  • MVD (model view definition)—the apps that translate the processes into technical requirements.

In Australia, the Open BIM Alliance is a group of software vendors committed to connectivity and shared solutions—software that talks to each other through these established project languages and standards.

Digital transformation on site and off

Apps and mobile devices are as important on the worksite as a hard hat and hi-vis vest, and BIM technologies are set to change the face of collaboration in the sector.

From the earliest concept for a building design, through to construction site compliance and the building lifecycle, the digital transformation of the design and build sector is gaining momentum.

Digital transformation at DesignBUILD

We are embracing the digital transformation at DesignBUILD and are looking to expand our representation of software and technology. If you have an app or are looking to launch an app that is relevant for use on construction sites or streamlines safety procedures and processes, contact the team today to discuss opportunities to reach construction professionals with buying power.


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