In a previous post, I discussed the iPad’s potential for use in construction field inspections. Already less than one week after the official release of the iPad, a new app has been released for use by the architectural, engineering and construction industry.
The company behind this product is Vela Systems, who has developed a suite of applications for Windows-based tablet PCs since 2005. Their software includes applications that address the needs of AEC firms in the field including, but certainly not limited to:
- Issues & Punchlists
- Field Reports/Daily Logs
- Access to Construction Documents including CAD and BIM
- QA/QC Checklists (they propose that their product might even help to minimize construction defect claims)
- Materials Tracking
Clearly Vela gets it when it comes to equipping the people behind the built environment to effectively and efficiently manage the complexities of large projects. By embracing the iPad at launch, Vela is sending a message. Unfortunately in the past, construction technology has remained woefully behind the curve compared to other industries. And though the construction industry has been among the worst hit by the recession, an opportunity is there for those that choose to innovate. With the increasing complexity of construction through changing codes, leaner budgets, faster timelines, increased material/labor resources, and the added requirement of performance standards built into many contracts, such innovation is not an option.
From the press release:
Field teams work with Vela software on mobile computers to access construction documents and to complete QA/QC inspections, worklists, punchlists, commissioning, update the Building Information Model, and more. Home office teams and management use Vela software via the internet to oversee Quality and Safety programs, coordinate among trades, and connect field information to Building Information Models for handover and facility management.“We have established ourselves as the thought leader when it comes to delivering mobile field technologies for the construction industry. It goes without saying that we will continue to lead the industry by developing new applications that will run on Apple’s iPad, which features a lightweight, incredibly easy-to-use, touch-screen interface,” said Vela Systems CEO, Tim Curran. “The problem in enterprise construction field management is that 90% of the cost of construction happens in the field in the form of labor and materials, yet only 10% of technology dollars are spent in the field. We think that expanding our solutions to the iPad will accelerate the adoption of enterprise field management software in the construction industry. We’re thrilled about being first to market with such an exciting technology.” Leading contractors and construction management firms like Barton Malow, Skanska, Suffolk Construction and Turner use the latest enterprise field management technology today. “We have successfully been using Vela Systems software on Tablet PCs and we’re looking forward to leveraging the portability of the iPad as a complement to the Tablet PCs we have on the jobsite today,” said Shawn Pressley of Hill international. As new devices like the iPad are introduced, new capabilities for more types of users and more ways to access critical field data and information will keep pushing the industry forward. It’ll help minimize the day to day challenges and demands of multi-tasking, construction field superintendents and field engineers who are always on the go, moving to and from job trailer and up and down the job site. The large multi-touch screen of the iPad will enable contractors and construction managers, owners and project managers, architects and engineers to read and mark-up large format construction contract documents, plans and RCPs, risers and P&IDs (piping and instrumentation diagrams/drawings), shop drawings and submittals, in both portrait and in landscape modes. Field superintendents are using Tablet PCs and tablet-optimized software today and finding great benefit. In a recently released YouTube video, General Superintendent Allen Turnbaugh of Barton Malow tells other field personnel, “Don’t run from it, embrace it. It will make your job easier … The days of carrying two armfuls of drawings and a notebook tucked into the back of your pants … are gone. This makes all of that obsolete.”
Vela Systems has set up a landing page for their iPad product at their site. To get a feel for what capabilities the software will have, check out Vela’s product overview information with plenty of case studies from reputable firms. In addition, the company has a great blog covering many aspects of construction field management.
Now we just need someone to develop a reasonably priced solution for non-enterprise construction field management…