The next-generation jobsite is coming. Are you ready? For years, the benefits of RFID (radio-frequency identification) have been discussed in the construction industry, but few contractors actually took the leap to adopt. But, now, this is beginning to change, as recent announcements showcase how construction companies are using RFID in the field today.
RFID technology allows construction companies to track and manage resources at the jobsite, which includes everything from materials to workforce. With a tag placed on the resource, data is gathered and sent to the office so supplies and workers at the jobsite can be tracked to better maintain the job and comply with government regulations.
Contractors such as Kiewit, www.kiewit.com, Omaha, Neb., Twin Contracting, www.twincc.com, Alexandria, Va., HITT Contracting, www.hitt-gc.com, Falls Church, Va., and Turner Construction,www.turnerconstruction.com, New York, N.Y., are such companies using tracking technology today.
This week, ADR Software, www.softwareadr.com, Reston, Va., announced all four of these large general contractors are now using technology specifically to monitor the workforce.
Picture this: Tags attached to hardhats send data about workers’ whereabouts for reporting and tracking, eliminating the need for manual data entry. From Web-based devices, including smartphones and tablets, project managers can track realtime workforce information. The data gathered from the technology can also integrate with daily reports, work schedules, and accounting.
For construction companies, this helps make better decisions, improve workforce documentation, and manage risk on a job, which provides a competitive advantage during the bidding process. Some organizations even use the technology to insure compliance with local economic development and hiring objectives.
Beyond tracking the workforce, the technology can also be used to track materials and supplies on a job. Leighton Contractor, www.leightoncontractors.com.au, Chatswood, Australia, is a recent example. This construction company is using technology to track materials and fabrication for a SMP (structural, mechanical, and piping) contract on an iron ore mining project in Western Australia.
The technology it is using comes from Saleem Technologies, www.saleem.com.au, Perth, Wash., which provides Web-based, GPS, barcode, and RFID material-tracking technology, and recently upgraded its fabrication module to monitor fabricated structural steel.
This is not Leighton’s first foray into the technology. In 2011, the construction company used similar software to track and manage materials for a civil and underground construction project.
More contractors are turning to RFID, GPS, and barcodes to keep track of materials, people, and even vehicles on construction projects. Want to see more case studies and an in-depth dive into what this technology will mean for the construction industry going forward? Check out Jobsite: The Next Generation in the Jan/Feb issue of Constructech.