Electronic Forms for Mobile Devices in the Construction Industry
Electronic and digital forms are becoming a standard practice in the construction industry. Using iPhones, iPads, Tablets and Android smartphone with electronic or digital forms can save time and money and assist in compliance requirement.
Benefits of Electronic Forms
Many of the inspections and maintenance activities done in the Construction industry currently performed using paper based inspection sheets can now be performed with a range of electronic forms on mobile devices using paperless inspection application.
Gone is the necessity to fill in large A4 sheets of questions and tick boxes and carry manuals and instruction books, and then to have the data on these sheets entered manually into a record keeping database back in the office or the workshop. Any Android or iOS device can now been loaded with ‘field mobility software’ that allows the user to enter the answers to any range of technical, OHS, maintenance, inspection questions electronically and have these answers (together with any amount of photo’s required) sent back to a database wirelessly. The obvious advantage of electronic forms is that the data is gathered once on the mobile device in the field and does not have to be re entered manually or have these photo’s aligned with the question or the task; as the mobile device embeds the relevant photo with the specific question and can produce a report immediately.
In effect you can use your own phone or tablet (BYOD- Bring Your Own Device) and therefore avoid the need to purchase any specific hardware for the task. Having the mobility software and the electronic forms on the mobile device also does away with the need for the device to be constantly connected to the web. Operating in an ‘off line mode’ data in the field can be collected without interruption to your inspection/maintenance/data collection whether you are with in 3/4-4G range or not. So even inspections done on construction sites at remote locations (e,g, safety inspection and data collection) can be completed and once the mobile device is again within range of a network/carrier the data and the electronic forms are sent automatically to the database and produce reports, alerts, corrective actions and analysis. Manuals and reference material such PDF, drawings, pictures, images and instructions can also be stored on the mobile device and assist in providing information to the field technician while completing the electronic forms.
The mobility software will store and archive all reports, which can be re called in seconds rather than trying to wade through a large volume of filing! Any type of inspection, any type of report, any time, anywhere can be performed with the right type of mobile device and the right type of mobility software. The time saved in the use of this type of technology will usually see cost recovery in just process improvement time in less than 6 months.