As a handover deadline nears, contractors can find themselves spending more time chasing paperwork in the office than overseeing the final flourishes on site. That’s a waste of human capital, and it can leave gaps in communication that develop into delays and unexpected costs.
A digital solution helps return contractors to the environment in which they are most effective. In most cases, they can conduct all the inspections onsite using a simple handheld tablet, instead of shuttling back and forth to the office to pull up files from a paper-based archive.
Speed and efficiency are not the only advantages. The frictionless experience that digital transfer allows leads to improved safety and more robust compliance. It’s much easier to identify gaps in certification and approval by searching from a single digital dashboard, rather than counting on each subcontracting team to submit its paperwork on time and in the right place.
On a traditional build in the pre-digital era, information was gathered in a linear manner, with each phase of subcontractors ideally submitting their reports and inspections for approval by an agreed deadline. However, the practice often bore little resemblance to the theory.
When vital information is shared by email, attachments go missing, outdated versions find their way back into the revision chain, and requests go unanswered. Resolving these issues draws the contractor back into the office.
With a digital solution, the contractor can send out blanket requests for documents, with visibility at all times over completion. Collaboration is ongoing and dynamic, so that lack of progress in one phase does not have to hold back another. All these combine to liberate the contractor from administrative tasks.
Under the paper-based system, the main contractor rarely enjoys the luxury of transparency while construction is underway. More often than not, there is the feeling of struggling to keep up on paper with what is happening on the ground. This can lead to lapses in safety when faced with the relentless momentum towards completing the project on time.
With the capability to perform digital inspections, the main contractor is back in control. Being able to access a single source of information from a simple dashboard makes it easier to manage quality insurance and validation.
The contractor can see in real time that everything that goes into the building has been vetted, tested, and double-checked, that correct safety measures are in place, and that all employees and machinery operating on site are compliant.
After the handover is complete, a paperless solution also makes maintenance much simpler, not least because maintenance planners have all the site inspection data they need prior to the building going operational, instead of paperwork trickling in over a period of weeks or months.
The end user can track information, organise it in an accessible format, and integrate it into their maintenance system. Crucially, there is no delay between the client receiving the building and getting started on maintenance.
A digital platform like the Zutec solution does not have to be implemented in one sweeping action. Contractors and clients can apply different aspects of the platform where they are needed most, then phase others in as users get up to speed.
Whatever the level of integration, it’s a fully auditable platform, so each user can see when someone logged in, what information was submitted, audited or reviewed, and when authorisation was approved.
From a liability perspective, there is no time limit on finding the necessary information. For example, if there’s fire damage to the building two or three years after handover, the owner can still pull up the details on who performed the inspection, whether a fault was made, and who would be legally liable.