Mobiles update site plans for Costain and O’Rourke

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Engineers working for the Costain-Laing O’Rourke joint venture at Bond Street Station are pioneering the use of mobile phones to update site plans.

Building to old plans wastes a fortune on site as changes made by project managers often fail to filter down quickly enough to the site team.

But a graduate engineer on the station upgrade job has come up with a way of updating plans instantly using Quick Response (QR) codes which can be read  by smartphones.

Software developers have been so impressed they are now considering introducing it to new versions of their products.

Previous attempts to solve the problem have usually involved cumbersome manual systems involving signing individual documents in and out.

Graduate Engineer Tom Jamieson hit on the idea of using QR codes which act like barcodes for mobiles.

He said: “I had a discussion with Senior Engineer Beth Willoughby about innovations on site and using technology on the front-line; one idea she had was using Quick Response (QR codes to control the issuing of drawings.”

Jamieson took the idea of using QR codes and set up a trial system that used a new code for each version of site drawings.

When each drawing is printed, a unique QR code is generated. When scanned, the QR code directs the user to an external website.

This website is connected to the document management system and when each drawing is scanned, a clear statement is sent back to the phone in either green or red.

Green text confirms that it is the most up-to-date version of a drawing, while one with red print carries a statement warning that it has been replaced with a more recent version.

Three sections of the Bond Street contract are due to start using the new plans and from next month piling subcontractor Bachy Soletanche will have all their drawings issued with QR codes.

Jamieson said: “It definitely has potential. There seems to be a lot of talk about it in the industry, about getting it in as a standard tool.”

“Currently, there’s nothing in place that stops people using an incorrect drawing on site; there’s a gap there that can be closed and the feedback I’ve had from senior engineers is that this technology can fill that gap.”

Costain now plans to introduce QR coding on drawings for the £400 million remodelling of London Bridge Station.

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