BIM & Digital

Moving from paper-based QA to a mobile app

Laing O’Rourke is trialling a mobile-based QA application, helped by WorkMobile
Laing O’Rourke’s Worksop Centre of Excellence, where WorkMobile is being used for QA on precast units
The Centre of Excellence in Worksop, where WorkMobile is being trialled

Laing O’Rourke has brought in software firm WorkMobile to help it move away from paper-based QA for precast units at its Centre of Excellence in Worksop.

“The aim was to replace the existing QA process with a tablet-based app for operatives to use, that would integrate with Laing O’Rourke’s ERP and feed captured data back into the ERP,” explains Colin Yates, WorkMobile co-founder.

Workmobile is cloud based, intended for field-based IT solutions and aimed at non-technical users. It uses a ‘non-coding’ approach, as opposed to being a bespoke solution, and supports multiple platforms.

“The aim was to replace the existing QA process with a tablet-based app for operatives to use, that would integrate with Laing O’Rourke’s ERP and feed captured data back into the ERP”

Colin Yates, WorkMobile

The software provides a simple drag-and-drop interface to build forms, including the capability to add photos, videos, recordings, signatures and ‘geostamps’, plus Excel-style logic and barcode scanning.

The user interface is straightforward and, once the operative has completed a form, the data is sent off the device to the cloud. The data can be reviewed through the WorkMobile portal in real time and reports are generated as PDFs.

“With Laing O’Rourke, we distilled their QA process into a structured form,” explains Yates. “This involved reviewing their current process, removing unnecessary fields, changing the order where necessary, allowing for pre-population of some fields.”

WorkMobile also introduced customised features for the Laing O’Rourke app. The Schmidt Hammer calculation, a non-destructive method of testing concrete strength, required operatives to take 10 readings and then calculate this themselves, before entering the value on the paper form. This calculation has been automated with the app.

“If the readings entered by the user fail the test, then the user has to retake the test,” says Yates.

Another customised feature allows operatives to scan a barcode tag on each component to check they are working on the right unit. “A future development will allow users to see where a panel is in the manufacturing process in real time,” adds Yates.

Next for WorkMobile is a production scale pilot of the app.

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