Costain launches cloud mobile app for civil engineering
Civil engineering and construction solutions provider Costain announced today the deployment of a cloud-based mobile workforce application for the construction industry that enables better record keeping and helps contractors resolve disputes with clients.
Costain launched the application as part of the MobiCloud project, an EU funded project to help develop a European corporate cloud app store as well as a collaborative platform for cloud-based application development. The project funded in part (€2.27m) by the European Union, with the rest ((€2.18m) coming from an industry consortium of European companies that include engineering firms, mobile solution specialist and software development companies.
The application deployed by Costain, which was co-developed by software development company Appear, is a tablet-based site diary that replaces paper-based records commonly used construction sites. The cloud-based diary system is designed to allow for better search capability and more thorough site record keeping in order to help improve reporting and avoid potentially costly disputes.
“The average value of construction disputes in the UK rose to £6.5M, while they have become more time-consuming, taking an average of 8.7 months to resolve,” said Jason Scott, consultant for COMIT, an industry association promoting the use of mobile technologies in construction. “The MobiCloud site diary enables Costain to quickly search for the relevant records and matching pictures, but also to make sure that the information is more accurately documented by its engineers. As a result, it can substantially reduce the frequency, cost and duration of disputes,” Scott said.
Tim Embley, Costain’s group innovation & knowledge manager says the company is pleased with the success the application has enjoyed and is planning to further explore how mobile and cloud-based technologies can help improve operations in construction and civil engineering applications. He says the company has received a large number of internal requests for new mobile applications, “some of which will be rolled out in the coming months.”
“Our preliminary business case analysis suggest a potential saving of GBP 500k per year for Costain based on the reduction in frequency and duration of disputes. We also see some savings from the extra time gained by engineers in use of the app versus paper systems,” Embley told Business Cloud News. “By July we were live with engineers on site using the App at our £45M sewage treatment upgrade project in Wanlip. Following the success of this we plan to roll out to other sites across the business.”