The CNESST requires that each worker who enters a site fill out a form related to COVID-19 since coming back to work. Upon the announcement of this new measure, few companies specializing in project management software jumped in to innovate during these times of change.
Tight controls are now carried out at the entrance to each construction site in Quebec. In order to limit physical contact and save time, several companies that already offered technological management tools have developed new functionality for filling out forms and applications. These are sent directly to the general contractor, who can then redirect them to subcontractors or to clients.
The form is made up of questions that check the state of health of workers. Everyone is asked if they have symptoms of COVID-19 if they have travelled in the past 14 days and if someone has been infected in their immediate surroundings.
A Solution That Goes Without Saying
“People [already] have a hard time giving their timesheets on Friday, I had difficulty imagining how this questionnaire would be filled out, five days a week”, explains Jérôme Guay, president of Mobile Punch, one of the first companies to offer online health forms. “In large construction sites, there are one hundred, one hundred and fifty, two hundred workers two meters from each other to fill out a paper form [when] you can no longer even pay in cash at the grocery store,” he quipped.
Same story with Robert Meunier, president of Maestro, a company that offers a comprehensive management technology solution specifically designed for construction contractors. “It doesn’t make sense, we don’t want to trade pieces of paper with potential viruses on it,” he exclaims. To alleviate the problem, Maestro, in collaboration with Spiria and Oriso, launched Sentinel, a free application for completing the form from a smart device.
In general, applications are very easy to use. In the dashboard, the user can see the name of the subcontractors who have filled out the form. If a worker responds positively to one of these important questions, an alert will notify the contractor. It is then possible to react quickly, the information is transmitted in real-time. Proof that this new feature appeals to entrepreneurs, Mobile Punch claims to have 20,000 forms completed, and this only for priority residential sites.
Like an Ecosystem
Obviously, online forms are only a small fraction of the services these companies offer. In fact, by subscribing to their services, the entrepreneur acquires software that can do all of the otherwise long and tedious paperwork with just a few clicks. Above all, the product is a great platform for collaboration with various people involved in each project.
“Having access to a collaboration platform that allows exchanges without necessarily being side by side is the great advantage of technological tools”, postulates Annie Chantelois, president and founder of the company Dreeven, who also specializes in management software for the construction industry. “People who have to work from home have access to all their data for all their projects at all times,” she explains.
These new advances in technological management tools actually give a multitude of possibilities to construction contractors. From an elaborate dashboard, the user can manage each project in great detail, including of course budget management and sharing of all documentation. He can interact with all the implicated parties of each project while being aware of the latest developments in real-time. The entire technological solution of this software and applications is designed expressly to serve the construction industry.
“We want to create a kind of ecosystem,” says Meunier. This is digital transformation, it is about optimizing the exchange of information and data. Collaborative platforms come in there, all BIM approaches too, bring everyone together in the same environment with exchanges and sharing of data. Companies have resisted this for a very long time. ”
Faster and More Powerful
Obviously, the use of technology saves the entrepreneur a lot of time. For example, the famous timesheet, the worker enters his arrival time on the job site into the application and the data is immediately compiled. “[That is ] All the timesheet management, [before it went] through the foreman, then others approve it in the office, and finally, an employee deals with it,” recalls Mr. Guay. The use of technological management tools undeniably accelerates this otherwise tedious process.
In addition, these management applications and software allow for greater rigour in the monitoring of hours worked. “The worker who comes in late on Monday morning knows that he arrived late. But does he remember the exact time he came home? [The app] ensures regular attendance at the right hours, and there is certainly saving in that, ” suggests Mr. Guay.
The original article is in French.