Site audit apps: construction assurance from your smartphone
Site audits and inspections are an essential part of all construction projects. Although they don’t receive as much thought or attention as the design or building phases, they are just as important. Site audit apps are crucial to ensuring a project is being completed on time, on budget, to specification, in line with regulations and with the safety of all workers at its centre.
Audit from the outset
Although external site audits, such as those carried out by regulatory bodies or health and safety inspectors, are managed by third parties, internal construction site audits are performed by key members of the general construction team. Quality, project or construction managers are often appointed in auditing roles. Although site audits can often be seen as an afterthought once construction has started, it is important to plan audits right at the beginning of the project.
While you are scoping the project’s design and construction processes, you should be planning how you will evaluate construction progression, as an important measure of quality control. Whatever the building size, cost or importance, clients, architects and other stakeholders need to know that construction is progressing as planned. These team members are typically more removed from the day-to-day construction and, therefore, rely on information passed from the site.
Choose your site audit team wisely
Appoint your internal audit team as soon as the project kicks off and make sure that they are involved in initial discussions with designers, architects, quality control, regulatory bodies and the client. Encourage the audit team to ask questions and plan how audits can interrogate and demonstrate metrics. Ensure that they have access to the latest plans and have the relevant site audit apps downloaded.
Construction site audits are key for passing impartial, factual evidence about a site, they prevent any surprises occurring late into a project and highlight defects or incidents that may prevent more serious issues if remedied early.
Crucially, conducting safety, fire and regulatory-based internal inspections ensures that safety becomes the paramount concern on your site and that you are prepared for any external audit by HSE inspectors.
Plan, lockdown, release
PlanRadar’s site audit software enables audits to become a simple part of the planning and construction process. Through our web-based tool, internal teams can design audit documentation and checklists for use in our site inspection app. With no site the same, you’ll be working with different third-party contractors, vehicles and equipment. Safety requirements will differ, but with PlanRadar you can use previous construction site audit checklists to save time and tailor them fit the exact needs on each new site.
Each layout is designed in the web-based version, locked down and then sent out to mobile devices for simple access by any auditor. With offline modes, the audit checklist can be accessed anytime, anywhere and uploaded as soon as a network becomes available. You can assign site audits to individuals with deadlines or set them as recurring tasks for regular updates on site progress. Each audit is date and personnel-stamped for a full audit trail, enabling follow up conversations if needed.
Users can generate reports, sign them off and share them with relevant stakeholders, all via PlanRadar’s site audit app. That saves the auditor from having to finish the paperwork back in the office.
What should you be auditing?
A key reason for auditing a construction site is to ensure that the project is progressing on time and to budget. As well as having access to the construction site audit checklist, auditors should be able to view the latest design plans. PlanRadar software displays the latest digital blueprint, including any modifications to the original design. Auditors can see progression against the project plan and highlight any areas for concern, especially regarding building regulations or Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) regulations.
When it comes to safety, site audits are essential for reinforcing compliance and providing evidence to regulatory bodies. By regularly inspecting the workplace and equipment, construction companies can find potential issues and resolve them quickly, keeping workers safe and avoiding accidents.
By creating construction site audit checklists and making them available to audit staff, specific protocols can be established for checking:
- Storage of hazardous materials
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) suitability, availability, storage and use
- Safe and proper use of equipment
- Fire safety protocols, signage and risk
- Construction vehicles, including planned maintenance schedules
- Suitability and safety of hand tools, electrical equipment and lifting apparatus
Audit checklists can then passed to managers for final sign off and checking, completing the audit trail and providing a pack of data for the client, regulatory bodies and other stakeholder groups.
Everyone is an auditor with site audit apps
Nothing is more important than safety on a construction site. Workers’ lives can literally depend on it, and safety is the responsibility of everyone present. For that reason, we think that everyone should be able to audit safety on site.
PlanRadar’s site inspection app enables anyone to report a defect or a safety concern, simply and quickly through their smartphone. Rather than having one person responsible for inspecting and reporting issues, all workers can now take the initiative to keep themselves and others safe.
Any identified defects are raised as pins placed on the specific area of the digital blueprint. Voice recorded information, images and notes can all be entered, providing as much information as possible for managers to schedule the work needed. You can then allocate tasks to specific workers, along with completion dates. Completed tasks are then logged, providing a full field report.
Easy defect reporting and a safety-centric culture provide the first steps to improving safety on-site and facilitating construction projects that are more efficient and cost-effective. Straightforward, easily accessible site audit software is essential for this journey.