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In our latest guest blog, Tom Boland, Head of Digitisation with our corporate partners Zutec, discusses cost-effective inspections.
Keeping tabs on Quality Control (QC) and safety compliance can be a challenge on construction projects. Inspections are therefore essential, to scrutinise the quality of contractors’ work, check conformity with plans and specifications, ensure Health & Safety and building regs compliance, and to monitor general progress, budgets and contractual obligations.
It’s necessary but time-consuming work. With productivity pressures bearing down on everyone in our industry, field teams need to customise their inspections process for the sake of cost and time efficiency, making sure the right things are being inspected at the right times, and outcomes recorded correctly.
Here’s our advice for managing inspection activities efficiently using customised Field BIM technology:
Improve your checklists
Robust checklists are the bedrock of site inspections. These will cover critical details of the build, plot checks on document compliance, and stipulate the recording of important measurements and signatures for completed elements of the project. Photographic logs of inspected work also play a big part in site inspections, and should be included in the checklist.
Today digital field management solutions are replacing inefficient paper-based inspections and greatly boosting productivity when it comes to construction quality management and compliance. Cloud-based inspection software can formulate customised digital checklists, help keep site diaries up to date, and ensure everyone has a full picture of the project’s progress, reducing the risk of defects being missed.
With a tool like Zutec’s quality checklist builder it’s easy to select the data points you’ll need to capture. To make the process even speedier, it comes with 50 pre-built templates that you can tailor according to your needs. https://www.zutec.com/news/product-update-quality-management/
Quality control inspections
Quality control exists to ensure assets meet required standards and to verify compliance with the contract documents. Needless to say, a robust QC process will spot problems early, mitigating the need for costly rework. Post-Grenfell, stringent regulations are coming into law to transform safety in buildings. In this era of ever-tightening regulation, stakeholders have a huge responsibility to meet wide-ranging provisions, set out by the new Building Safety Regulator.
Stakeholders, including the design team, contractors and subcontractors, must undertake inspections of their area of specialism and provide indisputable and granular information that tracks progress and shows construction quality is being achieved. Site inspectors typically report to the contract administrator, and provide an independent assessment of the works. They are likely to keep a site diary, attend construction progress meetings and produce regular written reports.
Operatives must find the most efficient ways to manage Quality Assurance/Quality Control processes and snagging and defect management, for better project outcomes. Digitised Quality Assurance/Quality Control processes and Snagging & Defect Management, will allow the field team to contribute easily via their mobile devices. They can identify and close out snags and defects quickly, while keeping a digital record of completed tasks and sign offs. https://www.zutec.com/product/field-productivity/quality-management/
Verification processes can be sped up and simplified. For instance, it’s possible to use GPS to drop pins onto plans and BIM models during inspections, to locate and rectify issues quickly. Automated notifications can be sent to the responsible actioning party. And it’s simple to capture time and date-stamped photographic evidence of issues and resolutions.
Health and Safety
Health and Safety (H&S) inspections are mandatory for construction – the third most dangerous industry to work in, according to the UK’s HSE agency. Mismanagement and shortcomings can result in tragic injuries, but also in financially crippling lawsuits.
Safety inspections will differ according to the nature of the project, but may include things like working from height, electrical checks, obstructions, respiratory risks, permit management, noise control, PPE and structural stability. Risk assessments are necessary to determine the focus and required frequency of H&S inspections.
Again, Field BIM tools streamline the process. With custom checklists, safety inspectors can avoid risk, flag hazards and resolve problems with ease. And as reports are stored in one central location, safety can be managed collaboratively, with confidence and accuracy. On site operatives can view customisable dashboards that show the number of safety incidents or audits assigned per stakeholder or company, and monitor turnaround times for close-out.
Sign off and handover
Let’s not forget inspections of completed works onsite. For a successful handover, all fixed building services need to be calibrated to perform optimally. This means that you need to test and sign off everything including systems such as HVAC, boilers, water treatment, renewable energy, fire, security, elevators and escalators. With Field BIM tools it’s possible to collect and verify asset information, ready for a smooth handover to operations and facilities management teams.
Automate repetitive tasks
Digital tools allow field teams to automate inspection workflows to ensure a fastidious approach and to provide a full audit trail of inspections completed.
This digital approach to inspection brings all the benefits of custom workflows, notifications and delegation of responsibility and action points, so that team members are accountable, and there is clarity and transparency when it comes to who is doing what.
Ultimately sound inspection processes deliver better quality work, far more efficiently. With inspections completed in a timely fashion, clients have every reason to be delighted, and with a glowing reputation, contractors are more likely to attract new business. Importantly, stakeholders won’t be hauled up for remedial work after handover, or face legal reprisals for sub-par workmanship.