Eurovia Contracting accelerate their paperless site target from 2 years to 1 month with Paperless Construction
- bringing construction into the 21st century -
Eurovia Contracting was awarded a contract to carry out Phase 4 of the Salford Bolton Network Improvement Scheme in Pendleton by Salford City Council.
Pendleton town centre, which occupies a strategic location close to Manchester City Centre, Salford University and Salford Quays, is the largest town centre in Salford and an important public transport hub. The scheme seeks to support the economic vitality of Pendleton by improving facilities for pedestrians and bus passengers, and enhancing the quality of the public realm. The improvements delivered by Eurovia Contracting include:
- New signalised junctions to improve pedestrian safety
- Resurfacing areas of footways and carriageway
- Removal of unnecessary street furniture and upgrading bus stops
- Developing public realm, areas of soft and hard landscaping and upgrading subways across the site
Paperless in 1 month
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At the end of March 2020, and as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurovia Contracting decided to temporarily close its sites. This gave Eurovia Contracting breathing space to plan how the contracted works in Salford could be delivered safely.
It was evident when staff went back to work, following the shutdown, sites would feel and operate differently. Two-metre social distancing would be the new norm, new risk assessments and new safe systems at work would be needed as would additional cleaning.
A key issue to address was the risk of passing on the virus by sharing common spaces, interacting with each other, sharing equipment, and exchanging physical pieces of paper. Emphasis was placed on replacing manual processes with technology, avoiding paper-based briefings, and exchanging paper plans on-site.
Due to having fewer people on-site and people working from home, it would also become very difficult to conduct audits across projects. With fewer resources available for document control, there was a greater risk of losing documents or misfiling. Furthermore, to check compliance you would need to be physically on-site to retrieve and review paper-based records.
When interviewed by Paperless Construction, Dan Ferneyhough, Eurovia Contracting's Contract Manager, stated
"Finding records during an incident is already difficult, so a digital cloud-based solution was required immediately”.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurovia Contracting decided to embrace available technology rapidly. Although Eurovia Contracting did have a high-level initiative to become entirely paperless by the end of 2021, the pandemic significantly accelerated the rollout.
The project team would no longer rely on paper-based safety briefings, permits and paper drawings being issued. The decision was taken to remove paper in its entirety by replacing traditional processes with mobile applications that could be used through smartphones or tablets.
As all data was hosted in the cloud, the site team would now have all the information they needed, available instantaneously. This functionality also contributed to massively accelerating the rollout goal from the end of 2021 to just one month!
It was for these reasons that The Paperless Construction app became an integral part of the solution. Paperless Construction was seen as the best way to address the need to keep people apart, prevent them physically interacting with each other and avoiding bodily contact, and it also aligned with their long-term aspirations.
When deployed on the Salford project, the Paperless Construction app delivered immediate benefits to Eurovia Contracting such as:
- Delivering digital site briefings, inductions and toolbox talks to workers.
- Keeping accurate centralised records of briefs with immediate real-time access.
- Maintaining accurate records of workers who received paperless briefs and inductions.
- Recording training attendance across multiple locations in real time.
- Improved efficiency by automating processes and eliminating manual collation of paper records.
- Recording who was trained to the correct levels of competency and keeping a record of who was trained.
- Immediate access to accurate information reflecting who was on site at any point in time.
- Keeping accurate records of any permits issued, with instant access to records via smartphone or tablet.
- Contact tracing and keeping track of possible exposure during COVID-19.
- Eliminating the need for workers to touch a device, with a Supervisor doing it all from a single tablet.
- Abolishing the need for physical filing systems.
The results delivered by deploying the Paperless Construction app on the Salford project post furlough were immediate and significant.
When interviewed by Paperless Construction, Dan Ferneyhough, Eurovia Contracting's Contract Manager, stated "The Eurovia Contracting Salford project is 97% paper-free whereas, a few months ago, there would have been lever arch files everywhere. People still like to be able to see an A3 drawing rather than one on a tablet, but Everything else is pretty much paper-free now".
Dan also explained that document control, particularly knowing who was signed on to what, was much more efficient now. Previously he had to physically be on site to look for a document (which may or may not have been filed correctly). Now it was just a question of a few taps on the web or the screen of his tablet to uncover the same information.
“It’s physically impossible to do the job now unless it’s paperless as processes prohibit anything else. So, our ability to monitor who’s on-site, who attended briefings and who is trained is significantly better than it’s ever been before.”
With Dan managing multiple projects, he now has the ability to check records across all his projects remotely. Knowing that people are doing the work they're assigned to is as easy as logging in to the app and checking how many people have been on a specific site and for how many hours. Previously, it was really difficult to calculate these numbers and social value metrics with reams and reams of paper and lever arch files all over the place.
Dan mentioned that the Paperless Construction dashboard was easy to use and very intuitive; his Site Managers also reported a similar experience with the app. Although some challenges had to be addressed and minor process tweaks were needed to facilitate digital solutions, the team embraced the change, and everyone sees this as a step in the right direction.
Finally, Dan even went so far as to say that without a solution like the Paperless Construction app, they would not have been able to re-open the Salford project when they did.
"With the ‘paperwork’ taken care of, I can now focus on really adding value whilst out on site – looking at new ways of working and engaging with local people to make a difference to the quality of our work.”
Dan Ferneyhough - Contract Manager