Reaping the Benefits of Digital Inspection and Quality Checklists in Construction

TEAM IM
Mar 16, 2022 9:31:26 AM

From choosing subcontractors to purchasing building materials to staying in compliance with safety and building regulations and more, every single project in the construction industry has a lot of elements that need to be tracked accurately.

Construction project management can be a thankless, stressful job because of all of these elements overlapping with each other. But tracking all the elements that need monitoring before, during, and after a building goes up or a renovation is completed doesn’t need to be a gamble.

Technology already exists that can codify, simplify, and improve nearly every task on the jobsite. Leveraging existing technology, you can create inspection checklists that bring a host of benefits to you, your clients, and your employees and contractors— all without paper.

Digitizing your checklists is about more than quality assurance (QA) or quality control (QC) inspections, though. Establishing checklist templates across the board, from field services to administrative tasks, improves your processes without creating the kind of rigid workflows that can become burdensome. 

Let’s take a closer look.

What Makes a Good Checklist?

This may seem like a simple question on the surface, but it’s actually a great deal more complex than you may think. A good checklist isn’t just a piece of paper with items next to boxes that you can mark off—in fact, it isn’t paper at all.

Whether you’re making inspection checklists, safety checklists, or anything in between, you define acceptable parameters when you make a checklist. If your terms are too nebulous, your inspectors may approve work that you would say is below your standard because you didn’t do enough to make your standards clear.

Conversely, you don’t want to micromanage your team so hard that they aren’t able to apply the knowledge and critical thinking skills that you hired them to use in the first place. 

By striking a balance between clearly defined parameters and room for your team members’ judgment, you create a list that is effective without being rigid. As materials, regulations, and technology change, a good list can be updated and optimized with feedback from both the higher-ups at a company and the workers with their boots on the ground.

Making a Digital Checklist

In order to make an effective checklist, you must first break down the requirements of the task at hand. Take client needs and regulatory and workplace safety requirements into account first. These can serve as your blueprints.

Once you have your end goals identified, work with your managers, designers, experienced and trusted subcontractors, and collaborators to identify the required steps to complete those end goals.

Taking this collaborative, reverse-engineered approach to checklist construction helps you create a detailed, effective checklist template. As regulations change or different clients demand different features, that template can be adjusted.

Because your checklist is digital instead of analog, making changes to the template can be done without the risk of printing off copies of each version. Whether that means removing items that do not apply to the current job or adding items to satisfy a client or regulation agency doesn’t matter. It’s a simple process either way.

But that is just one of many benefits to digitizing your checklists.

Benefits of Digitizing Your Construction Checklist

In addition to clarifying and codifying your inspections checklists through digitization, there are many benefits that come from leaving paper behind. Beyond the fragile and easily damaged nature of paper, a clipboard full of copies just can’t give you what a digital upgrade is capable of.

Here are a few benefits that TEAM can help you embrace:

  • Efficiency and Consistency - When the items and parameters for your checklists are clearly defined and enumerated, there is less chance that your different field agents will misinterpret those parameters. That cuts down on errors, inter-team conflict, and potentially expensive subjectivity.
  • Data Preservation - Getting paper from the field, to storage, to the hands of the person who needs to analyze it in the future involves that physical data passing through a lot of hands—meaning there are a lot of chances for it to get lost or destroyed. Digital data collection can be accessed by authorized team members the instant it syncs up from the field.
  • Agility and Accountability - Sometimes, the best laid plans need to change, and they need to change quickly. Digital checklists can be updated to reflect new plans and priorities instantly. Changes to plans can be tracked through your software to provide accountability, credit where it is due, and coverage from audits.
  • Compliance - Regulatory audits are a hassle at the best of times, but by keeping digital records of your safety inspections, facility compliance, and all relevant financial personnel information, you can respond quickly and effectively to any audit.
  • Collaboration Information and History - Construction is a collaborative industry. Maintaining easily searchable and reviewable records of your inspections and interactions with architects and subcontractors helps you avoid repeating negative experiences—no matter how long ago that negative experience occurred.

Digitizing your construction checklists allows you to maintain detailed records of every project your organization works on for years without requiring the massive amount of storage space required by the paperwork that would be associated with that long of a timeline.

That can allow you to streamline your primary office setup without sacrificing access to your organization’s history. Whether you have an in-office team, a remote team, or a hybrid of both, you don’t need to clutter your space with years worth of filing cabinets.

Use Cases Beyond QA/QC

We have focused on inspection checklists, primarily. But digitizing your checklists can provide benefits in use-cases beyond QA or QC. 

Safety improves when your team members and subcontractors in the field don’t need to work around the awkward size of a clipboard. Whether they are using a hands-free device or a mobile device that attaches to a belt to work through their list, they will be able to use both hands on their tasks without worrying about losing their list.

Effective and accessible digital checklists also help prevent scope creep. Just as a good checklist helps clarify the definitions of terms for inspectors, they can be used to outline upper limits of changes to scope that a client can bring.

The last thing you want is to force your teams to cut corners and use substandard materials because the scope of your project kept expanding, but the deadlines didn’t. Giving your client and your team a checklist to look over before approving any changes ensures that you stay within budget and maintain your reputation for quality.

Breaking down and detailing your processes step by step in order to build your checklists can highlight areas of your organization that could benefit from automation. Automating time-consuming, repetitive tasks can give your teams more time to handle the types of tasks that only a human’s critical thinking skills can take care of.

Automating certain processes reduces the risk of errors in data entry, accomplishes tasks that can take your team hours in minutes or even seconds, and will likely eliminate everyone’s least favorite tasks from their work week, raising office morale. And your checklists can open your firm to those possibilities.

Safe, Efficient Work? It’s On the List.

At TEAM IM, we are experts at increasing the efficiency, safety, and bottom line of our clients. We provide the tools you’ll need to build effective checklists, integrate them with your administrative and field service teams, and support your efforts as your business grows and scales upward.

Your success is our success. And while inspection checklists may seem like a small part of a company’s success, they can have massive effects that ripple throughout your organization and industry.

Don’t settle for the way things have always been. The technology to improve your construction projects exists— and TEAM is uniquely prepared to help you utilize it optimally. The time is right. Put your future success at the top of your list.

About TEAM IM

TEAM IM is an experienced solution company that advises, develops, implements, supports, and manages enterprise grade process, information and content management systems. For more than twenty years, TEAM has acted as a trusted advisor to our clients through our offices in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.  Our mission is to assist our client to get the most out of their investments in technology. Whether our clients are large government agencies or corporations, construction firms, accounting firms, heavy industry, or smaller organizations, we strive to deliver demonstrable business benefits and generate real return on investment for our clients.

Our products and services offer solutions to transform your business by automating and modernizing your operations.  We work hand-in-hand with our clients to understand their goals and create and execute multi-year, continuous improvement plans.  Our mission is to support and manage every solution we deliver, so we take care to design long term, future proof, maintainable solutions.  We work with best-in-class technology partners that we have carefully selected to ensure we can execute our plan and achieve our clients continuous improvement goals.  

Our products and solutions encompass Advisory Services, Implementation Services and Managed Support Services.  We specialize in Business Process Automation and Optimization, Content Platforms and Content Services and we are also a leader in Mobile App/Field Services software development and Digital Workplaces.  We have industry-specific solutions for the Construction and Accounting Services sectors, and cross-industry solutions for Accounts Payable, Contract Management, App Modernization, Field Services and File Sharing.

At TEAM IM we are passionate about delivering outstanding outcomes for you, our clients.

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