Balfour Beatty to adopt HSE app across 60 UK projects
Balfour Beatty, in collaboration with construction workforce technology specialists MSite, has adopted a mobile app that aims to improve the health and safety of employees across 60 of its UK sites.
Downloaded directly into employee’s mobiles, the app provides each employee with a digital identity, enabling contactless entry to site using biometrics. The technology also reduces the need for employees to touch surfaces when entering sites, as well as collecting data to accurately monitor attendance levels.
In addition, the app will use Bluetooth technology to alert users when they come within two metres of another device, helping the workforce to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing measures on site. Additionally, it will gather data to help identify potential activities which require closer working, allowing operations to be planned in advance to either remove or mitigate risk in line with Balfour Beatty’s COVID-19 Site Operating Procedures.
MSite is working with the contractor to investigate how the app can be evolved further, such as for utilising Bluetooth technology to notify employees when they enter exclusion zones around plant equipment on site, helping to make sites even safer.
Chris Johnson, Balfour Beatty Chief Technology Officer, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted us into a new digital era as we have adapted with agility, to introduce and embed new ways of working.
"This application combines Balfour Beatty’s unrivalled knowledge of the construction industry with MSite’s specialist digital insights and ability to rapidly deploy technology on mass. This application will ultimately contribute to keeping our employees safe and is a paradigm shift in digitising site operations to improve productivity through streamlined processes.”
The app was first launched in July 2020 on Balfour Beatty’s £85 million student accommodation project at Vine Street, London. As of today, 60 Balfour Beatty projects are now utilising MSite, including Highways England’s M4 Junction 3-12 improvement scheme and A63 scheme in Hull.
Collectively across the 60 sites, MSite has shown to improve site security and productivity data by efficiently validating employees time spent on site and providing Project Leads with a robust understanding of the total hours worked in order to support the effective management of project plans. By September 2021, Balfour Beatty plans to have rolled out the MSite application across all UK sites.
Neil Norman, MSite Chief Executive Officer, said he was excited to be embarking on this "epic workforce digitalisation journey" with Balfour Beatty.
"The Construction sector is at a pivot point in the adoption of digital workforce technology and it is refreshing and encouraging that the UK’s leading infrastructure group is embracing our technology with gusto, further demonstrating Balfour Beatty’s commitment to continuous improvement through innovation."
Digital tools key to ensuring housebuilder quality
The Code will sit at the centre of the new arrangements being put in place by the NHQB that includes the appointment of an independent New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS). In development for four years, it has had input from a broad range of stakeholders and takes into consideration other emerging policy including on leasehold and building safety, all of which the NHQB is committed to supporting.
The consultation will run for four weeks (from June 9 to July 7) and the NHQB is encouraging as many stakeholders, customers and interested parties as possible to respond.
Tom Boland, Global Head of Digitalisation at Zutec, said the Code will dramatically increase build standards and involve a hand-in-glove approach linking the physical build and digital worlds.
"Housebuilders will need to adopt the total capability of digital tools to check quality, have a digital footprint and allow homeowners to fully understand how their house has been built, and easily understand any defects that need rectifying," he said. "Residents will benefit from safer, better constructed homes and housebuilders will benefit from improved productivity and lower costs from fully implementing technology."
Rating the States 2021 edition issued
A strong building code is critical to reducing the damage and destruction caused by hurricanes each year. On the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today released the 2021 edition of Rating the States, its signature report evaluating building codes and the administration of code provisions along the hurricane coastline from Texas to Maine.
Now in its fourth edition, Rating the States is released every three years following the building code update cycle of the International Code Council (ICC).
The report scores the 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states vulnerable to hurricanes based on a set of questions related to statewide building code adoption, administration and enforcement and contractor licensing requirements in the adopted building code. It also provides a roadmap each state can follow to improve residential building regulations and reduce the cycle of repeated losses resulting from hurricanes and other severe weather events.
"Building science has advanced significantly over the last decade, providing cost effective strategies to reduce the impact of Mother Nature. Modern building codes are core to addressing the known risks of high winds and heavy rain that invariably come with these systems," says Dr. Anne Cope, chief engineer at IBHS. "Strong adopted and administered codes apply the latest science and engineering knowledge to protect homes and families from the catastrophic damage hurricanes bring and make our coastal communities more resilient for the future."
The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, will host the Intelligent Supervision Assistant for Construction (ISAC-SIMO) project, which was created by Build Change with a grant from IBM as part of the Call for Code initiative. ISAC-SIMO packages important construction quality assurance checks into a convenient mobile app.
Turn to page 78 of the current issue to read more from Boland on how field BIM is a "game changer" for the industry