Nova Communications is lending a hand to the Nova Scotia construction industry to help improve productivity, accuracy and safety at construction sites across the province through the use of mobile digital devices.
The program – a first of its kind in Canada – provides members of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council with a verity of digital mobile devices, including ruggedized tablets, mobile computers, scanners, wearable computers and two way radios.
Members are able to migrate to paperless processes, including scanning of site materials inventory, incoming shipments, electronic delivery of receipts with stylus signatures, on-site employee and sub-contractor time tracking, ordering of materials and job scheduling directly from hand-held computers.
The technology helps streamline processes, reduce labour overhead, and improve accuracy and timeliness of information.
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Source: The Chronicle Herald
N.S. Construction Industry Finds Going Digital A Good Fit
TRURO — Chris Curtis knows the cost of making changes on a work site or when a paper invoice goes missing.
That’s why Curtis, of Atlantica Mechanical Contractors Inc., is excited about a new industry-led project examining the application of digital devices to improve efficiencies and productivity on construction sites.
The Functional Information Technology project is the first of its kind in the country, said Trent Soholt, executive director of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council.
The idea comes from a study in 2006 that looked at the use of information technology in the workplace, Soholt said. The study showed that while technology is being used to some degree at construction sites, there were noticeable gaps, particularly when it comes to getting information back and forth between the job site and a company’s main office.
On Tuesday, the project, which already has industry funding, received a further boost. With the construction site of the Central Nova Scotia Civic Centre in Truro serving as a backdrop, area politicians announced $98,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and about $210,000 from the province towards the technology project.
A variety of devices that use touch screens, styluses or keypads are already on job sites in the hands of foremen and supervisors. They’re designed to take a pounding, be used while the operator is wearing gloves and can be strapped to a wrist, worn around the neck or several other options.
“The momentum has been phenomenal,” said Soholt. “Being able to manage their time, manage their resources more effectively is key.”
The devices can help manage everything from schedules, to safety records, to digital communications and provide digital copies of building plans.
Paperwork can be a major issue for contractors, said Curtis. Atlantica is working on the civic centre project and also did work across the street at the new Colchester East Hants Health Centre. Some of their workers have been able to test the new equipment.
Lost invoices and packing slips can cost companies as much as $250,000 a year in interest payments, said Curtis. Keeping track of inventory on expansive work sites or making changes to drawings and then ensuring everyone has updated copies can also be cumbersome.
With a digital work flow, everyone involved in a project gets real-time updates and changes can be made right away. Inventory can now be scanned much the way couriers scan mail. The result is less time lost on the job as workers wait for changes to come down from the office.
“If we can take that (wait) from hours to minutes, the cost savings are huge,” said Curtis. “If that happens once, it will happen a thousand times in that (job site).”