“How technology saved contractors during the virus crisis”. Possibly not one of the most read headlines of the last few months. But one that featured on the industry leading, Construction News website. The article cites the transformation of Birmingham’s NEC into a Nightingale Hospital as an example of a project that was turned around at lightning speed. For a project of this size and magnitude good communication between everyone working on the job was crucial. And technology was the critical factor.
“Nobody was fully prepared for the coronavirus as it rolled through the UK in the spring.”
Is any business or team ever fully prepared for anything? We go from day to day doing the same things, in the same old ways. Very rarely do we take the time to question our methods. Unless a business is forward thinking and strategically minded, it’s easy to get caught up in the trap of doing what’s always been done. Humans, generally speaking, are resistant to change. However, the pandemic has forced the majority of people and businesses to have to navigate and implement some sort of change. This has shown how adaptable we can be when we have to be.
How can technology help adapt, react and be proactive when it comes to health and safety?
“…some firms were better equipped to cope than others because digital technologies helped them communicate and collaborate.”
It goes without saying that firms who are better equipped to cope and react to change will be the firms that survive and thrive. When it comes to communication and collaboration when producing health and safety reports in the Construction industry, it’s easy to do this swiftly and efficiently with the right technology.
Paper trails can go off the rails. No matter how diligent you try to be, paper trails – whether physical or electronic paper, can go awry. By utilising the right technology, the beginning of the paper trail will always be found. A report can never go ‘missing’.
There can be multiple stakeholders involved when carrying out inspections and producing reports. From those permanently on site, contractors coming on and off the site, management and ultimately, the people that the results of the inspections are there to protect – the end user of what is being constructed. If the processes and procedures for reporting are made easy and clear, then the potential for mistakes, accidents, errors or lost forms, will be reduced.
Stakeholders can be made accountable and/or responsible. If technology is implemented across the business or the site, health and safety can be put into the forefront of everyone’s day.
Reports can be sent instantly to those who need to see it. No waiting to get back to the office or having to re-enter information. When technology is used well, it can free up time (and therefore money) by making processes smoother.
“Keeping on top of what everyone was doing was extraordinarily complex.”
This is one of the key points from the article. We can only imagine how complex transforming an events venue into a fully functioning hospital to deal with a pandemic would have been. But it had to happen. If it didn’t, the project would have stalled. And, at the time, this was not an option.
When we utilise technology to produce better reports, we can monitor health and safety more closely, as we can do it with ease. Technology can open up responsibility and accountability by placing reporting processes into the hands of contractors on a construction site or project. Information is fluid and shared instantly between all involved.
And therein lies the answer to the original question. Sharing information easily can be a challenge when there’s so many people and so many different ways to communicate. By pulling everyone involved into one place, communication is simplified.
“There’s an amazing technological advance that’s happening in the industry and I see a lot of companies that aren’t taking full advantage of it. And in my mind, there’s an opportunity in the industry right now, for companies to get slicker, quicker, faster, and to manage that process very effectively.” Dapatchi founder and chairman Dan Pattrick.
Reporting as a manual process can and must be replaced by slicker, 21st century tools.