If you've ever seen one of those movie-sized OSHA posters, you know the dizzying amount of rules and regulations that construction sites must adhere to in order to be safe. It makes sense, as construction sites continue to rank among the most hazardous working environments. Construction accounts for 21% of all US worker deaths, with an additional 169,200 injuries per year. These injuries can become a vicious cycle; one injury may cause an outage for a team member, which threatens construction timelines, so the remaining team works faster and accidentally overlooks safety issues, leading to increased risk of injury. Every year in the construction industry alone, poor safety results in over $12 billion in lost production, workers compensation, and lost income.
OSHA works hard to regulate common risks on a construction site, including ladder safety, hand tool use, scaffolding, and more, conducting 38,100+ annual inspections and handing out over 70,000 citations. If you're curious about diving deeper into these regulations, OSHA has in-depth safety standards for everything from PPE use to how workers should operate in a confined space. Regardless, with the size and complexity of modern construction sites, manual monitoring of standards is often not enough. This is where construction inspection software and construction bidding software can help organizations improve safety while also adding efficiencies to the construction management process. In this article, we’ll provide an overview and cover the benefits of both in turn.
What is construction inspection software?
Construction inspection software is any platform that supports the digital capture of field data on a construction project, such as annotations, photos, videos, drawings, and more. In the past, manual data entry was used to capture and report findings related to compliance items during safety checks. This could include a range of data points from hazardous conditions to completed tasks or missing materials. Data collected manually is often unreliable due to human error or data loss during manual data entry. So, construction inspection software was developed to eliminate human error, with the added benefit of increasing safety on the job site.
Construction inspection software offers many features designed to enhance safety practices and support compliance objectives. Some of the key features include:
- Digital Data Capture: This feature allows users to record data in the field using a mobile device, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the potential for human error.
- Real-Time Reporting: The software provides real-time reporting capabilities, enabling immediate access to safety data and facilitating prompt action when necessary.
- Templated Forms and Checklists: Users can create custom digital forms and checklists for inspections, ensuring that no essential points are overlooked.
- Photo and Video Documentation: Users can capture and attach photos or videos to their reports, providing visual evidence of safety issues.
- Integrations with Other Software: Many construction inspection tools integrate with other project management or enterprise software, enhancing data sharing and improving overall project efficiency.
- Cloud-Based Storage: All data captured is securely stored in the cloud, ensuring it is safe, accessible, and easily retrievable.
These features combine to create a more effective method of safety management, fostering a safer work environment and ensuring more stringent compliance with OSHA and other regulatory standards.
Understanding the benefits of construction inspection software
While the features listed above provide clear cut examples of ways construction inspection software supports safety and safety compliance, there are additional benefits that go beyond the functionality of the software. Those benefits can be simplified into four core factors: reducing travel, visualizing risk, limiting mental fatigue, and adding efficiency.
Because construction inspection software usually offers functionality to sync back to an office database, inspectors don't need to travel as much back to the office for manual data entry. While this benefit produces obvious cost savings - one user cited over $100,000 a month in company-wide travel savings - it also reduces the risks that come from being on the road, occasionally in inclement or icy conditions.
When inspectors and project managers have access to accurate, geo-located job site data, they gain a clearer picture of potential risk. For example, if a job has multiple inspectors, one might use a cloud-based inspection platform to notate hazardous conditions in an area, be it a particularly icy patch, loose rock, etc. When another inspector goes out to the job site, they can easily see the areas they should avoid to protect themselves.
Mitigating Mental Fatigue
Mental fatigue can wear inspectors down quickly, especially in an industry where a small number of people are asked to handle an increasingly large degree of responsibilities. Unfortunately, this fatigue contributes to a suicide rate in the construction industry that is four times that national average. By automating tiresome tasks and eliminating manual processes, construction inspection software helps reduce the efforts that lead to mental exhaustion.
The simple truth of any construction site is that the longer it takes you to do something, the more risk you are incurring. Use of construction inspection software reduces the time spent on simple tasks to help decrease risk. Additionally, inspection software with remote-sensing equipment like rovers or LiDAR eliminate the need for the inspector to get physically close to potentially dangerous conditions.
Interested in learning more about construction inspection software?
Construction inspection software not only enhances safety and compliance but also leads to reduced travel, less mental fatigue, and improved efficiency on the worksite. Mobile Inspector, our mobile inspection platform, is a prime example of this technology in action. Mobile Inspector is used by DOTs, LPAs, and engineering firms to capture digital field data and transfer it back to construction and asset management systems.
If you're interested in transforming your safety practices and streamlining operations, reach out to Infotech today and learn how Mobile Inspector can help.
What is construction bidding software?
Construction bidding software is a digital solution for accepting, rewarding, and analyzing bids. Traditionally, construction bids were submitted through manual paperwork, which was time-consuming and prone to errors. However, with the advent of construction bidding software, contractors can now create, submit, and manage bids electronically, all while being alerted to potential errors or omissions. It also provides a platform for communication between contractors and project owners, allowing for greater transparency and efficiency in the bidding process.
Understanding the benefits of construction inspection software
In addition to these benefits, construction bidding software can help introduce additional safety measures to your process. The primary safety advantages of construction bidding software are preventing travel and limiting human contact.
As an online bidding provider, we’ve heard one too many stories of contractors rushing through traffic in inclement weather conditions to get their bid in on time. Nancy Boeve, Contracts and Lettings Supervisor at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, mentioned this as a primary reason their organization adopted online bidding: “Inclement weather or traffic delays could cost someone their bid. Sometimes we’d have contractors sprinting in just to miss the deadline by seconds.” This benefit was echoed on the contractor side by Diana Maddox, Office Manager at J&J Schlaegel, Inc. - “Safety is also a key benefit as we do not have to send someone out to deliver the bid packet.”
Limiting Human Contact
Many organizations found themselves turning to e-bidding as the pandemic pushed the need for safe and remote bid openings. While the pandemic is over, this remote bid opening practice has continued, as it’s less stressful for all involved parties. During the pandemic, it was a crucial aspect of keeping agency and vendor teams safe. “We’ve been incredibly lucky to already have been on [e-Bidding] when the pandemic hit. I can’t imagine trying to make the transition from paper while working at home,” said Ema Ludge, Office Administrative specialist for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Interested in learning more about construction bidding software?
Infotech pioneered e-Bidding for the transportation industry with the introduction of Bid Express in 1999. Since then, we’ve evolved and innovated to meet the growing demands of state and local agencies. Our Bid Express platform enables organizations to:
Minimize discarded low bids with error checks and omission alerts
Reduce paper waste from printed bid packets and plans
Get instant online bid tabs with ranked and exportable results
Learn more at infotechinc.com/bidexpress.