A Unique Opportunity to Improve Efficiency in Construction

Yvesround75Yves Frinault
Founder & CEO

I love construction for what it is: a complex process where engineering, people, and materials collide to create awe-inspiring objects, even by modern society's standards. However, with many variables at play and innumerable things that can go wrong on a project, the process is often grindingly inefficient; always improving but never mastered. Well, construction is about to take a huge leap forward.

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On any construction site today, whether it's a big office building or a residential project, you will see foremen taking off their gloves at lunch break, grabbing their iPhone from their pocket and reading their emails and texts. It's clear from the presence of technology found on the job site: the importance of mobile capabilities for field workers continues to grow.

Mobile technology has finally reached to the core of construction, where the complexity resides, where inefficiency happens, where it's most needed: in the field. And it got there, not because of some great IT initiative, but because people brought it with their lunchbox that morning. Now, we have powerful project management tools right at our fingertips.

People mistakenly describe BIM as a technology that allows access to a 3D building model in the field. BIM is not about technology. It's about solving the problem of collaboration in a complex rugged environment. It's about access to information and good decision-making. Fundamentally it's about organizational change.

Indeed, with the widespread adoption of smartphones by foremen and superintendents, the project team can finally achieve shared awareness. Improved access to vital information like up-to-the-minute as built drawings, gives people on-site the ability to make faster and better decisions. This is the key toward streamlined field operations.

However, if we don't break the knowledge silos and start sharing information more openly on our projects, if we don't grant more autonomy to the field teams to allow them to make decisions, if we don't adapt at an organizational level, we run the risk of realizing very little of the potential benefits of BIM.

Thankfully, construction was built, for better or for worse, with a lot of independence at the project level. That's the unique opportunity to improve efficiency in construction. As a project manager, superintendent or lead foreman you are empowered with the choice to adopt BIM on your project not as a technology but as an organizational change.

Let us know what you think at info@fieldwire.com and make sure to join the revolution by signing up below.

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James Pease, IPD Leader, joins Fieldwire Advisory Board

MarielleroundMarielle Price
Director of Customer Success

We are thrilled to announce that James Pease has joined Fieldwire’s advisory board. James is a groundbreaking leader in the Lean Construction and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) movements. He is currently Regional Manager for the Facility and Property Services division of Sutter Health in California. At Sutter Health, he is helping deliver a $6.5 billion capital improvement program by managing multiple projects that use the IPD model.

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IPD projects differ dramatically from the typical construction contracts that we know. Per the American Institute of Architects, IPD is “a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.” IPD projects are therefore inherently Lean: they reduce waste, align incentives, and increase value. Furthermore, IPD projects tend to be delivered on time and on budget more consistently!

Here at Fieldwire, we think that by reducing waste (calls and emails back and forth, walking around the jobsite, waiting for responses, etc.), we help get people back to the important and value-add side of their jobs - actually performing the work that gets our buildings and infrastructure built! We see the value in Lean construction and it has been a focus of ours since the beginning.

We’re looking forward to James’ valuable insight to help impact where Fieldwire is headed! If you want to learn more about Lean construction and IPD, please check out LeanIPD.com, where James is the Executive Editor.

Fieldwire is free for small teams on Apple iOS, Android, and on the web. Start your Lean construction journey with us!


OSHA, Safety, and the role of Technology in Construction

DominicroundDominic Delfino
Construction Specialist

Are you fully compliant to OSHA rules? On the occasion of Construction Safety Week May 7-11, you may want to check if you’re not one of the 200,000 companies which failed to fulfill their reporting obligations to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA). At Fieldwire, we believe that technology can be very helpful to ensure safety on the jobsite. Our inspection features can provide valuable assistance in this respect.

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Between 1970 and 2016, worker deaths in America have decreased from 38 a day to 14 a day thanks to drastic safety improvements in working conditions. This task is precisely the main mission of OSHA. This agency from the U.S. department of Labor regularly publishes new standards to ensure workers’ health and safety is not put at risk. For the construction sector, OSHA proposed last year a standard to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and will start enforcement of a new rule to limit exposure to beryllium and prevent lung cancer in American workers this month.

This is a step in the right direction, yet some experts criticize OSHA’s laxity in enforcing some of its standards. Bloomberg Environment revealed the lack of compliance with the federal injury reporting rule, which can now be done via electronic submission of Form 300A. Form 300A is a summary of work related injuries and illnesses which are supposed to be logged in Form 300 throughout the year. This obligation applies to all companies in high or medium hazard industries, and exempts small companies employing less than 10 people. According to Bloomberg Environment, when OSHA expected 350,000 worksites to file electronically their 2016 summary of injuries and illnesses, 200,000 did not. Interestingly, another 60,000 worksites submitted their Form 300A without being compelled to. This sheds light on the confusion that reigns on the subject.

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OSHA however doesn’t stop inspecting and imposing fines for noncompliance. During the period October 2016 through September 2017, OSHA imposed fines totaling almost $200M. Construction is the industry with the most fines, totaling over $90M, far away from manufacturing which is just above $60M. The two most cited standards in the construction industry are due to Fall Protection and Scaffolding. Falls in this sector represent more than a third of fatal accidents, making this the leading cause of deaths.

Fieldwire’s reporting options will help you keep track of your projects and ensure compliance with safety standards. Our construction software also enables foremen, supers and engineers to report every safety concern they encounter, instantly notifying the concerned subcontractor in the application.

This year, Construction Safety Week focused on the power of safe choices at all levels. A good opportunity to engage discussions on safety with your team. You can also participate by making a pledge and sharing your safe choices with a photo to help create a mosaic.

More on the benefits of using Fieldwire here.


Are construction jobs at risk of being automated?

Yvesround75Yves Frinault
Founder & CEO

Studies, debates, and news articles about automation have become commonplace. There is a growing uncertainty about which occupations, and more importantly how many jobs are at risk due to technological advances.

A recent study from the OECD - which regroups many western countries - divided jobs into four groups based on their automation risk. It was found that 46% of jobs are on the verge of being automated.

14% of jobs were found to be ‘highly automatable’ based on the current state of technological progress. Across the countries which participated in the study, this amounts to 66 million workers whose entire jobs could essentially be taken over and carried out by a computer or a machine. Another 32% of jobs were considered partially automatable. Sectors with the highest risk of automation included manufacturing and agriculture, but the construction industry isn't far behind, with an automation risk of just about 50%.

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The study investigated the risks of job automation in a wide range of sectors across OECD member countries (including the US, Canada and most European countries). A positive correlation was found between automation risk and lower levels of education, as well as wages. At first glance, this could be perceived as a potential threat for unskilled or entry level construction labor.

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However, the study also identified 'engineering bottlenecks' as a barrier to automation. In the case of construction, this includes ‘perception and manipulation’ - typically tasks requiring manual dexterity or agility - or ‘cognitive intelligence’ - dealing with uncertainty and solving problems with complex or creative thinking.

As we all know, construction is not as easy to automate as manufacturing. There are many underlying reasons why a construction jobsite today still looks vastly different from a manufacturing plant. In the current state of technology, this tends to classify jobsite activities in the partially automatable category. However, if robots can now assemble Ikea furnitures, there is really no telling what's next.

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Beyond the word, automation is an important subject for the industry. As construction embraces more technology in its search for productivity, it has a choice to make between adopting technology that enhances the craftsmen rather than replaces them. Just as computers brought tremendous gain in productivity for scientists by freeing them from the time-consuming calculations, at Fieldwire we believe that technology can be used to generate similar benefits to those on the jobsite.

You can learn more about Fieldwire here.


Fieldwire and Assignar Kick Off Alliance

RaphaelroundRaphael Varieras
Director of Growth

At Fieldwire, we’re laser-focused on helping to improve the productivity of field workers. But we also recognize that a field management solution is just one layer of an optimal construction technology stack.

Many contractors also rely on software for design planning, bidding and estimating, and workforce management, among other tasks. While there are many advantages in choosing the best vendor for each specialized function, this can increase complexity and restrict data portability.

The construction industry deserves a better solution, one that combines the power of specialized software with the ease and compatibility of all-in-one solutions.

Today we’re taking the first steps towards working with other complementary construction technology providers to help make that vision a reality. By teaming up with Sydney, Australia-based Assignar, we’re not only helping Fieldwire reach another part of the world, we’re also introducing our customers to a class-leading software solution that is highly complementary to our own.

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Over the next few months you can expect to see educational resources explaining how the two platforms can be used in tandem as part of your technology stack. We also plan to offer package discounts for contractors interested in using both platforms together.

Further down the road, our two teams will be working together to find ways to drive deeper integrations offering a seamless solution to customers of both platforms.

We’re also putting out a call for other construction technology providers interested in fostering an open and collaborative ecosystem of platforms rather than a traditional monolithic model. Users want free choice and the ability to fill each function with a different vendor. In other industries, open ecosystems offering the greatest choice and flexibility have nearly always won out over proprietary data formats and “all-in-one” suites trying to do everything. Construction is likely to follow a similar path.

Construction technology providers interested in joining the alliance for a collaborative ecosystem of platforms should reach out to Niek Dekker, niek(at)assignar(dot)com, or Raphael Varieras, partnerships(at)fieldwire(dot)com.

More on the benefits of using Fieldwire here and Assignar: www.assignar.com


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