Workflow Management – the 4 phases of CDE
A Common Data Environment (CDE) is essential to the smooth running of any construction project. In this article, we explain the functions of the 4 distinct phases of the CDE workflow.Read more
The balance of power in a paper-driven handover solution has been compared to a pendulum.
At the outset of the project, the main contractor establishes the schedule, budget, resources and direction of construction, then hands these over to a variety of subcontractors spread across several phases, relinquishing visibility and control in the process. Power doesn’t swing back to the main contractor until each subcontractor has completed their task and delivered all the required information.
Clearly, a paper-based system gives the subcontractor enormous power to withhold or delay information, potentially driving up costs and prolonging delivery time.
With a digital handover, control is never wrested away from the main contractor, because they are able to examine progress at every step, raise concerns and take necessary remedial action.
Under the paper-driven system, designs, 3D models and plans are submitted, reviewed and archived in physical storage. Site inspections, material sheets and safety certs are filled in on-site, then brought back to the office for filing. Communication between various teams is by phone or email, leaving it to administrators to consolidate data in a spreadsheet or cost plan at the end of each day.
It might be familiar and comfortable, but it’s a very inefficient way to work. Key information cannot be added to a database without employees leaving the site to return to base, and gaps or conflicts do not reveal themselves until everything is assembled for handover, by which time it may be too late.
Information recording during a digital handover, by contrast, is ongoing and cross-platform. Subcontractors on-site can submit logs and record activity from a tablet, architectural teams can share 3D models and designs on a central portal, and the main contractor can see an electronic trail of signatures and sign-offs at any time to ensure compliance documentation is complete. The Zutec platform feeds on live data and processes it into actionable intelligence.
Since information is updated, synchronised and consolidated in real time, the risk of duplication is eliminated. Administrators know that they are accessing the latest version of a document for feedback, even when the source data is entered remotely from the site by subcontractors.
The Zutec platform allows data input from multiple sources and devices, but information is hosted in a cloud environment to give a single, secure source of truth. The platform integrates a variety of separate tools relative to the needs of each user and translates them into data that can be accessed to the broader network.
Here are some typical scenarios:
Each of these processes might use different types of software and devices, but the Zutec platform consolidates them into a single repository of information that can be accessed through a single dashboard.
Arguably, Zutec’s biggest competitor at the moment is Excel, whose faithful evangelists may be under the impression that they’ve left paper behind. But while the spreadsheet is an improvement on sheaves of receipts, invoices, inspection certificates and site logs, it falls far short of the impact a fully integrated digital handover platform can deliver.
Zutec’s digital solution is built on a “3 clicks to an answer” philosophy that streamlines data to make it accessible to the right people in the appropriate format. That doesn’t mean the business has to take on the whole platform. End-users can adopt a bespoke set of tools to address the tasks they want to manage as a priority.
Those on-site, such as the sub- and main contractors, can leverage a digital solution to make anything from site diaries and inspections to Quality AssuranceQuality Control checks and safety inductions smoother. Those in the office, whether administrators or main contractors, do not have to rely on people picking up their email or text messages. They have instant visibility over data, drawings and signatures.
When it comes to the handover, the digital solution presents a clear benefit to the main contractor. Well in advance of the handover date, the main contractor can assemble all necessary records of site activity, design information, and safety certification, ready to present to the client in a tidy cloud package. Subsequently, the end-user benefits from a cloud-hosted resource that can be consulted easily at any time in order to plan ongoing maintenance.