Hi-Tech Diary Brings Improvements

3 April 2014

A new electronic site diary system is starting to bring efficiencies and tangible benefits for staff on projects.

The site diary ‘app’ is installed on tablet computers used by engineers and others as part of the Mobicloud system – a European Union-funded project to develop a cloud-based application enterprise system.

The electronic site diary is removing the need for large quantities of paperwork and the essential but often tedious task of recording events at the end of a working day.

One of the staff trialling the app is Senior Engineer Katie Swanick, working on the M1 Managed Motorway Framework near Sheffield.

After just a few months, she is an enthusiast. “It’s made a huge difference,” she said. “The engineers really like it. It makes their lives a lot easier.”

One of the biggest benefits of the site diary app is the saving in time that it allows.

“It enables records to be made as and when events occur and in a way that does not require writing up or transcribing later,” said Katie. “This saves time, reduces the need for hastily scribbled notes and removes the stress of trying to recall events retrospectively.

“It also improves the quality of the record and provides something that has never been available before – a verifiable electronic audit trail. This can be extremely valuable to a construction company when it needs to prove a particular sequence of events.”

However, on a day-to-day basis, the greatest benefit to a site engineer is time. For each entry made on site, a photograph can be taken on the tablet computer and automatically linked to the entry. And real-time entries mean that any problems can be recorded on the spot, with factors such as the engineer’s position and prevailing weather conditions also instantly ‘attached’ to recorded events.

With the site diary and accompanying paperwork able to be tackled as and when it occurs, that can mean the difference between leaving the site in daylight or an hour after dusk. 

“We’ve had quite considerable interest in the app,” said Katie. “It’s being used in the water and rail sectors and we’ve also had external interest – we’ve sold licences to a few companies outside Costain.

“If anyone is interested in having a trial of the site diary app they can get more details from mobicloud@costain.com. The app is currently available on iPads and android devices and we are currently developing it for Windows devices.”