With more than four decades of solid success as a builder behind them, Novati Constructions is not resting on its laurels. Instead, the company is taking advantage of digital smarts to ensure it maintains the highest possible standards of quality and safety.
Safety and Quality are two essentials for the company, Integrated Management System (IMS) Coordinator Teresa Chafer explains.
We believe in the importance of keeping every worker safe in their workplace but also delivering superior quality projects at the same time.
With multiple and demanding projects happening concurrently, she says project teams were struggling to find time to scan the vast amount of paperwork associated with each site and its crew. This made it difficult to review and monitor whether each site and its personnel were meeting the company’s exacting IMS requirements.
“We wanted to have a system that was easy to use for the guys on site, that would also help everyone who implements and monitors our IMS requirements,” Teresa says. There is also an external imperative. One of Teresa’s key responsibilities is ensuring the company’s ongoing Safety, Quality and Environment performance contributes to it retaining its Best Practice Accreditation.
Novati adopted HammerTech in early 2017 for a project in Turramurra, and the initial success of the implementation has now seen it deployed for use across every project the company works on. The platform is also a key part of managing communications between head office and individual sites along with inductions and safety essentials such as Safe Work Method Statements.
“For Novati Constructions continual communication between Management and our project teams is essential,” Teresa says. “Hammertech helps us on that aspect, as if there is a problem on site we can all follow up the documented issue by accessing the system through features such as the Site Diary, Inspections or Non-Conformances.”
Let’s see what it can do
Novati Constructions Site Foreman Frank Venezia has been working in the construction industry since he was still at school and helping out in his family’s construction business on weekends.
When he was first introduced to HammerTech, his immediate response was to take the time to discover all the things the platform was capable of doing. He also spoke to his site supervisors and leading hands to find out what they would like the technology to do for them.
“I told people it is so much more than just inductions or SWMS,” he explains. “People said they wanted it to record locations for example, I said, not a problem.”
Prior to using HammerTech, Frank says he would have boxes and boxes of paperwork to deal with. Just walking around for a site inspection would mean carrying a roll of plans under his arm.
Now, everything is on his tablet or smartphone including meetings, plans, inductions and inspections, as well as photos and videos of quality issues and successes – the lot. Even daily site progress is tracked in the system. Meeting new requirements in New South Wales around supply chain accountability is also easier, as all product certification documentation can also be uploaded and accessed via HammerTech.
“It has been amazing,” Frank says. “It used to be we had the plans on a big computer in the site shed, now I can be anywhere on site and look at them and inspect things on the fly.”
System alerts help mitigate potential hazards
A recent storm event that saw Sydney receive a month’s worth of rain in an hour demonstrates the value the system has for communicating with site personnel and management back at the office.
When Frank arrived at a site that was in the early works stage at 5.30 AM, it was inundated by flash flooding. He was able to take photos and upload them to HammerTech to let management see immediately what was happening, so mitigation plans could be put in place.
The system also means emergency alerts can be sent to all subcontractors via SMS or email, and scheduled evacuation drills added to everyone’s calendar.
Safety is a key factor
Frank explains that when he or another site supervisor or leading hand spots an issue, they take a photo immediately and designate the risk level. The responsible workman or contractor is then informed via the platform of what the problem is and how soon they are required to fix it.
Where an issue is urgent, and the responsible party cannot attend to it within the required timeframe, Novati Construction’s personnel may fix the issue themselves, and then inform the contractor of the costs incurred for the fix.
“Safety is a key factor in the industry at the moment,” Frank says. “There is danger involved every day, and there are lives at risk. We do not want any accidents.”
A safe site to me means everyone goes home at the end of the day in the same condition in which they arrived in the morning.
Frank explains it is a real benefit for Novati that any safety-related image and issue is both location stamped, and date and time stamped. This helps protect the company with due diligence and creates a traceable chain on communications and records when it comes time to adjust billing to reflect any extra work Novati had to undertake on a contractor’s behalf.
Another advantage seen with HammerTech is communicating with non-English speaking workers. All the required information, such as inductions, can be read using Google Translator. This ensures everyone is getting the right messages in a way they fully understand.
“Online technologies are the future of onsite building.”
Teresa is now able to access any of the company’s jobs at any time from any connected device and undertake audits of IMS performance. She can also easily provide any assistance required to site teams and follow the progress of works.
“The Site Diary gives us a real time transparency into each one of our projects and the Site Safety and Quality Inspections are key features to guarantee great results around the projects.”
“And, of course, we’ve gone paperless!”
She says that while no beginning is easy, including getting all the site staff involved with HammerTech, she thinks “we’ve proved to our teams how easy Hammertech is to use, and how much it is helping us keep everyone on track.”
“For us, once we champion the use of HammerTech around all our projects, it will be great to extrapolate accurate reports and get statistics from our projects to be able to analyze and improve our Safety and Quality performances.
“We expect to, step by step, find more HammerTech features that will help us on new and different paths.”