The rise of digital solutions within construction continues to grow, and while building information modelling is now more widely accepted, other aspects of the construction process are not always maximised from a technological point of view.
Spotting a gap in the market
Two experts in safety training spotted a gap in the market when they realised that management of contractors could be streamlined with technological innovation, and so they developed a new software programme and named both it and their company, GoContractor.
Julie Currid, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for GoContractor, says: “The construction industry, with its reliance on project-based contractors, provides a great opportunity to use technological solutions for operational efficiency. At GoContractor, we realised we could innovate with the use of a digital platform that can help construction firms manage various aspects of a contractor’s working practices.”
GoContractor provides customers with various resources for practical workplace use as well as complying with national standards and regulations; it can be used on PC, tablet or mobile. The platform enables users to execute a range of administrative and regulative tasks, from registering sub-contractor companies and individual workers with tailored forms, to providing health and safety training and site-specific orientation online before going on-site.
“The features and quality of services offered by GoContractor are unmatched within the industry,” says Currid.
“GoContractor offers far more flexibility than traditional contractor management systems; workers can take training courses on any device in their own time and are ready to work before they step foot on-site, saving company time and money. Training can be standardised across multiple sites so the site managers and supervisors have peace of mind that every worker receives a high level of orientation.
“An online solution also allows for the easy retrieval of documents and helps keep information secure, something which is critical given the ever-growing concerns about data protection.”
Clarity of on-site management
In the UK, GoContractor has delivered significant benefits to a number of leading construction companies. ISG, for example, decided to implement the platform when they began work on outfitting the new UBS headquarters in London.
At £125 million, the UBS project is one of the largest outfitting contracts ever awarded. Tasked with delivering roughly 700,000 square feet of “high-specification commercial space,” ISG was looking at hiring 3,000 contractors. A seamless orientation process was essential.
ISG’s traditional orientation process relied heavily on paperwork and took up to 40 minutes per team member. There was also the issue of storing documentation on-site, which was less than ideal for a dynamic project of this scale.
“We were looking to try to cut down the timeframe of orientations, which was drawing on our resources on a daily basis,” explains Steve Atkins, Project Manager at ISG.
“Where before GoContractor, it would have taken half an hour to do an individual orientation, now the actual time spent is down to between 15 and 20 minutes. Now we are more efficient in collecting worker information in advance and also store it in a better way than A4 folders,” he adds.
Significantly, using CoContractor reduced ISG’s administration time to 40 minutes a day, and requires only one person to oversee the whole process, in spite of thousands of people coming on and off site on a daily basis.
A one-stop shop
“I think more and more construction companies will see the benefits of using a digital platform that is user-friendly, collaborative and provides accurate multilingual site management,” offers Currid.
“GoContractor not only allows construction companies to approve contractors in advance, but it also gives them the range to configure the platform to gather site workers’ documentation as well as company details such as risk assessment and method statements, training records and insurance policies.
“Workers can be trained and progress through customised, site-specific orientations which will adapt to the worker’s role and language. It also captures their identity to ensure the right person shows up on-site, and monitors behaviour, restricting access if orientation, qualifications or documents expire.”
Making international waves
GoContractor was founded in 2012 and is based in Dublin, with offices in London, New York and Toronto. The company has been helped in its international growth by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government’s trade and innovation agency.
John Hunt, Enterprise Ireland’s Senior Market Advisor for the construction industry, says: “GoContractor demonstrates how technology is evolving to meet industry needs. Reducing non-productive on-site hours, satisfying today’s data compliance requirements and further improving site safety through a series of connected devices in a way and at a price point that hasn’t been possible before.”