Leave Paper In The Past: Practical Steps To Digitisation For Construction Site Compliance and Supervisor Processes

We talk a lot about “moving to digital”, about ditching paper and adopting apps as the primary record-keeping method for a business. However, we recognise that it may seem a big and daunting step. In fact, we know it might not always seem obvious what “moving to digital” even means.

It might be easiest to explain all this in a little more detail using a practical approach. Under Construction is our purpose-built app for the construction industry. It enables construction firms to “move to digital” easily and effectively. It does so by solving the common on-site problems of compiling, completing and filing compliance paperwork.

The problems with paperwork

We all know that paperwork is easy to misplace or even forget. Individual pieces of paper taken from head office to the site or back, or printed out from an email attachment, or stuffed in a file somewhere, are no longer the most efficient or accessible way to achieve and demonstrate regulatory compliance. 

Paperwork can take the supervisor away from the site, where the risks are, and into the office. It creates folders and cabinets full of forms, all of which need processing both on-site and in-office. An overwhelming volume of paperwork which adds burden and distraction to everyone’s workflows.

Completed paper forms are not immediately and instantly available to everyone. Construction managers have to sit in the site office, going through paperwork to get up to speed. Which means there can be inconsistency between supervisors and sites.

All of this is a poor use of time and resource. It leaves construction company directors and owners feeling like they are not in complete control, even as they drown in paperwork which ostensibly has exactly the aim of providing information and reassurance. And this is where “moving to digital” comes in.

Going digital for compliance processes and other processes that a supervisor on site has to carry out should deliver a business a range of benefits. From timesheets or checklists, putting in place a digital solution which offers instant form-filling and the distribution and storage of that paperwork, intuitively and instantly, solves problems we’ve listed above and a lot more besides.

Understanding and improving your current processes

In this day and age completing paperwork, should be quick and easy for construction or health & safety managers.  Think about your current processes, are they efficient, do they involve lots of stages?  Where could the time savings be? And are the forms completely fit for purpose?  

Similarly, think about how data is currently stored once the forms are completed.  Can you access the data straight away?  Can you find it easily?  With Under Construction, you can customise your own forms really simply and make them live on-site straight away.  Having access to real time data is one of the benefits of moving to digital, this can transform life in the office, as well as on site, and release significant efficiencies.

Simple steps to get started

It’s important, too, for businesses to realise that “moving to digital” isn’t a question of all paper or all app. Businesses don’t have to think about doing everything at once and in one go. Instead, they can dip their toe into the digital waters by digitising one process first and measuring the outcomes.

For example, a business might test and try something out alongside a range of current processes.  It might focus on testing out just one or two new digital workflow elements at first, to see if and how the shift works for it. Perhaps there’s a form that a site supervisor needs to complete every week, or even every day. It shouldn’t matter if it’s simple. In fact, that’s probably the best way to start.  Working with a digital process for a few weeks, will help identify both the pitfalls and benefits of digitising that process but also others more widely: it will offer a glimpse of what “moving to digital” actually looks like in practice.  

Delivering benefits across your operation

This practical approach to digitisation removes the question marks and focuses on the benefits. If a business is going to make the move, it will naturally want to ensure its using a product that both makes workflows easier and incorporates the latest features. For this reason, we are constantly updating Under Construction. A product that combines a mobile app that enables everything to be done in the one place on-site with a management portal that provides administrators access to global tools of form creation and communication. A good developer will be constantly improving an app and this level of support is essential to good digitisation.

From camera capture to time and date stamps, customisation to digital signature. Under Construction makes the administration experience much more seamless. Life becomes easier for the supervisor on-site and provides richer information and evidence back to management too. This creates a truly virtuous circle and paper will rapidly become a thing of the past.

Deciding the best approach for your business

Once a business has tested digitisation, developed and gained confidence in the process and product, they will invariably opt to ramp up adoption. This roll-out will differ from business to business, does a given firm want to roll an app out to one construction site first, or focus across the business on one particular process initially? 

Again, selecting the right product is important here. A business shouldn’t sign up to a deal that ties it in to a particular pattern or volume of usage for a long period while it continues to develop a digitisation approach, flexibility should be the watch-word. 

Businesses can be naturally anxious about moving to a digital process from pen and paper. Managers are worried what it involves, and maybe think they’re not even very good with tech! We’ve designed Under Construction so it’s comprehensive and easy. We also let users trial our product free of charge!

We believe “moving to digital” offers real benefits to businesses but we also think every business has its own needs. Trying things out first really matters.

A good idea is to talk to other businesses which have already been through the process. (If it’ll help, we can put you in touch with a customer who can share their experience.) Crucially, the key is to explore the options in every way open: paper piles up and can seem like an inevitability of existence. If it isn’t working and to be honest we think digital will work better, it’s time to start exploring “moving to digital.”

Hopefully that phrase now makes just a little more sense, drop us a line to learn even more at info@underconstruction.co.uk.