How to get your team on the same page with safety

Construction sites are among the most dangerous places to work in the world. Hard to believe, then, that a quarter of all construction companies still rely on pen and paper to track safety on site. Isn’t it time to get everyone on the same page?

Construction leaders know safety is among their greatest challenges – which is why 29% of those surveyed for Procore’s How We Build Now 2022 benchmark report ranked safety on their list of top priorities.

Many construction businesses are tossing aside the clipboards and reams of paper-based checklists that can make safety compliance a headache. But a large percentage of Australian companies of all sizes remain resistant to the digital revolution.

When it comes to tracking safety on site, 26% of small companies and 21% of their medium-sized counterparts still rely on paper-based processes. Even worse, 27% of Australia’s large companies are still hooked on handwritten documents, according to How We Build Now 2022.

What is holding construction companies back from large-scale and lasting change?

In an industry that operates on wafer-thin margins, cost is an obvious obstacle, cited by 45% of those surveyed by How We Build Now 2022. But hesitancy also comes down to cultural issues – like breaking people out of their siloes (30%), securing buy-in from the broader employee base (26%) or gaining support from senior leaders (20%).

Two years ago, Alliance Project Group was grappling with these challenges. The Sydney-based builder was reliant on a messy mix of bespoke software, unauthorised apps and paper documentation which posed risks to project efficiency, build quality, data security and site safety.

In early 2020, Alliance began working with Procore and its Project Management, Quality and Safety, and Bid Management workflow processes. As a first simple step, Contracts Administrator, Abdul Zreika digitised the company’s documents and forms and began introducing Procore across projects already in play.

With Procore’s help, Alliance has since projected 10,000-plus digitised ITPs – those inspection test plans that are central to quality assurance and compliance. Alliance estimates that Procore has delivered a 30% uplift in efficiency too.

“Creating a digital ITP workflow trail has been an extremely effective decision for the business. We have a 60-strong team and a wider network of architects, engineers and consultants that are all fully accountable now with the Procore system,” Abdul notes.

The accuracy of onsite registers has improved by 95%. Site diaries are uploaded automatically and a record of everything from safety incidents to hazardous substances is now always up to date.

Procore is currently involved in Alliance’s largest build to date, The Parkside in Macquarie Park. Designed by award-winning architect DKO, the residential development promises no compromise on quality – and Procore’s platform provides Alliance with a “roadmap for documenting our quality build process and benchmarking,” Abdul says.

“Before Procore, we were always physically adjusting our quality assurance documentation. Now, it’s all digital workflows, and that time is diverted to maintain our quality benchmarks and better monitor our build teams.”

Meanwhile, many construction workers continue to carry around sheets of paper, scanning them into hard drives, and sending information back and forth by email.

Holding onto ingrained habits when there are better ways to work risks productivity, quality and safety. But getting everyone on the same page is simpler than it may seem – and it starts by throwing away the paper.

To gain more insights into How We Build Now, check out Procore’s webinar.

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