On any big construction project, numerous inspections are carried out by various stakeholders on a continuous basis – from labourers and sub-contractors assuring the quality of their work, up through the chain of command, to checks by supervisors, to the main contractor overseeing everything, and finally to the client or owner.
What the right software can bring to this process is particularly valuable – it means snagging defect management can be done digitally in real time as the different stages of a job are completed and checked and logged, all the data has integrity and is instantly shareable and accessible.
And all the information on defects, and their resolution, is safely stored and easily viewed afterwards.
On a digital app, a worker can quickly enter information about any defects, whether they’re simply following a form or a checklist and ticking different boxes, or they’re providing a photo or a description of what needs to be fixed and who that task needs to be allocated to.
“The use of collaboration platforms allows you to send that information to all responsible parties so that they know: here’s my defects list,” says Zutec business development manager Daniel Da Silva.
Daniel points to the use of the platform on the construction of the huge Abu Dhabi Airport Corporation terminal as an example.
“On that job, Zutec has got something like 400 concurrent users logging into the platform to do their inspections,” he says. “So that means that there’s 400 people out there signing off on inspections, raising inspections in the field on tablet devices.”
All of this information is shared and updated instantly, which streamlines the whole process and speeds it up – there’s no waiting for people to respond to emails or text messages or to hand over paper documents, meaning that ultimately defects are resolved faster and more systematically.
When construction data is stored in the cloud, that means it’s more reliable than traditional paper-based methods – it’s easier to access, it can’t be lost, it can be backed up for total security – and every inspection will have a clear breadcrumb trail with all the relevant information regarding who carried it out, where and when.
“You’ve got an electronic trail, so you know that the information, once it has gone in, cannot be messed around with,” says Zutec project manager Gemma Hawes.
“There’s an integrity to what you’re seeing. You’ve got the ability to go in and actually look closely at who’s done what and when, and see when the information has gone in. So, you get a degree of confidence and trust that what you’re reporting back-end from all of this data that you’re gathering daily, it’s accurate and reflects exactly what’s going on onsite.”
The transparency that comes with digital construction software means the client is always up to date on how a project is proceeding – then can simply go onto the digital platform and check any aspect of the job to see what stage it’s at, at any time.
Daniel Da Silva explains: “The benefit for the client is that they can see all of the photos, they can see how many defects or inspections have occurred or not occurred on the project.”
“On the Abu Dhabi airport terminal building, our system is managing all of the work inspection requests and there’s been over 400,000 inspections, all with photos, etc.”
“The client, Abu Dhabi Airport Corporation, is able to see how their consultants are performing, how the sub-contractors and the main contractors are performing, because they can see how many inspections have been completed.”
Having all of the accumulated data around defects and snagging in one place also makes it easier to compile progress reports for clients. “We need to ensure that the information is gathered but then also that we can produce a report to prove that the information is in place,” says Zutec’s Ray McCaul.
And while many of the different software solutions on the market focus in on one isolated element such as snagging defect management, Zutec brings this together with a range of features and functions required for other aspects of the job, for optimum efficiency and collaboration.
“Zutec has applications that can go through from early design, document sharing, to snagging, to compliance, all of that – whereas our competitors are picking one element and doing those,” says Gemma Hawes.