Construction Experts Using iPads For Field Inspections

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Although most people associate the word forensics with legal issues, usually criminal proceedings, the word actually has a broader meaning. In my opinion, the role of forensics in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industry is to apply scholarly and/or scientific methodology and norms to understanding the underlying facts regarding the built environment. (See AECForensics: About.) During on-site inspections, we are looking at multiple conditions in exacting detail, collecting and analyzing tremendous amounts of data, and trying to distill the observations into something meaningful. Typically this means taking a lot of pictures and writing down lots of notes, filling in checklists, drawing on and annotating plans, details, etc. I personally have around 10 pieces of paper I’m working off of at a a single unit during visual inspections. Constant flipping back and forth through several pages, reviewing documents, making notes – it is easy to become distracted from the matter at hand: inspecting! As predicted, inspectors in the More From Less industry are adopting the iPad for use in the field. While several applications have been developed for the AEC industry, including Vela’s suite of applications, this is the first I’ve heard of a company that provides forensic services adopting the technology. The company is D 7 Consulting Inc. and they were recently profiled by CIO Magazine offering lessons learned from their transition:

Nearly a dozen iPads have been put to work on rooftops and in basements at dirty construction sites, from San Francisco to Las Vegas. Joseph Daniels, president of D7 Consulting, a quality-assurance consulting firm, deployed them only a couple of weeks ago—and has already learned a lot.D7 Consulting wanted to change the way its field employees made out reports, discarding pen and paper for electronic data entry that taps into a cloud service. And so D7 Consulting entered and won a promotional contest put on by, a hosted content management services provider, for free 3G iPads and service. Earlier this summer, D7 Consulting employees tore the wrappings from the shiny iPads, signaling the beginning of a two-phase rollout. D7 Consulting is now in the middle of the process, with half of the 20 iPads in the field today and the other half set to go there soon.

As part of the promotion with, the company that provided the iPads and facilitated remote access to cloud-based file storage, Snippies shot a video outlining the process. Inspectors, welcome to the future: For more information and future updates, visit D 7 Consulting’s Blog (written by CEO Joseph Daniels), or follow them on Twitter (@d7consulting).