With the growing emphasis on the infrastructure of urban development, civil engineering and architecture are some of the most growing sectors in the USA. The construction sector contributed to at least 4.1% of the United States’ GDP.
It is only inevitable that the construction industry catches up on technologies such as QR Codes to ease their daily routine and avoid mishaps.
What are the challenges faced by the construction industry, and how can QR Codes help?
The tasks in the construction and civil engineering industry are complex. A construction project may range from building dams, airports, harbors to residential projects. The construction industry is rather crucial to any country that ultimately aids in its development.
Before using QR Codes, construction companies and civil engineers stuck to traditional methods of following up on their workers, drawings, tracking assets, and adhering to protocols.
Usually, these age-old methods interfered with the project’s progress by causing roadblocks and affecting the team’s efficiency.
QR Codes in construction can not only quicken the process of adhering to the region’s particular standards but also help vastly decrease mishaps involved in construction sites, maintaining a clean record of assets and workers.
The technology of QR Codes is easy to use, deploy, and affordable that can be used in any part of the construction phase to simplify the process. Not just that, since construction sites are typically large in scale, these QR Codes can help in communicating with one another within seconds.
8 ways QR Codes can be used in construction
Construction companies and architects need the ability to maintain accurate worker training records, asset records, and adhere to safety regulations, in general.
Using QR Codes in construction can help tackle these issues at hand in addition to the other challenges faced by construction companies, contractors, and workers.
1. Verify building materials to be used at construction sites with QR Codes
Using low-quality tools and materials for any type of construction can lead to severe misfortunes that can cost the lives of everyone involved in the project.
Building materials and tools used in construction must follow the building code (residential and non-residential) to adhere to certain quality standards and protocols in ensuring the safety of the products used.
Regions such as the USA, India, and Europe have their own building codes to follow and construction companies must stick to it.
However, verifying building construction materials may typically be a cumbersome process.
Include QR Codes on heavy-duty and non-heavy-duty construction materials that can lead to the official standard maintenance website to ensure the quality of the product.
In cases of remote working areas especially, having to follow a lengthy process to ensure product quality can seem like a task. With most smartphones being equipped with an in-built QR Code reader, this seems like an appropriate solution.
The main purpose of having building codes is to protect the safety and general welfare and public health as they are associated with the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures.
2. Review workers’ training
One of the main criticalities is associated with the data availability about workers’ training in construction sites.
Construction workers need specialized training based on the type of construction and design involved. For instance, if a bridge is being constructed, specially trained workers are required for the erection of trusses and scaffolding.
Verification of construction workers’ training is essential in such cases, failing which can lead to serious consequences.
The commonality of this sequence is startling and can lead to countless injuries, OSHA penalties, and even death.
Place QR Codes on each worker’s employee tag that links to a URL to view the datasheet of the worker’s training records such as qualifications and certifications. It can also verify the authorization to certain equipment or processing, easily and with great rapidity.
Typically, construction companies’ documents contain special operational procedures (Operational Safety Plans) that have a lexicon that is usually not understood by workers. Thereby, these documents are not suitable for practical use on construction sites.
It is essential to simplify the process as a means of easy communication with workers characterized by linear logic and transparency.
Create QR Codes for PDFs for each document form that redirects the user to an online database that describes the object of processing and lists the procedure.
Place a QR Code tag on a concrete pillar and on materials associated with its construction. When a worker or contractor scans the QR Code, they will be redirected to a datasheet containing the operational procedures for the pillar reinforcement.
The information contained in the sheet is structured in a systematic manner that allows the construction site manager and workers to gain practical knowledge and practice for data acquisition.
Longs Peak Hospital’s QR Code solutions for operational procedure
Longs Peak Hospital in Colorado had QR Codes functional during its construction period on doors frames and individual pieces of MEP equipment/system. The QR Codes upon scanning would connect to the information associated with all the equipment housed in that particular room.
With the QR Codes installed on frames and equipment, any worker or contractor could scan the code, note down the issue, or pull up relevant information about quality control, maintenance, and warranty issues within that space to be updated in the cloud for immediate action.
Designs and plans change constantly for any construction team, in line with the project’s final outcome. When designs change constantly, keeping up with the finished layout, updated schedule, materials checklist, and MEP drawings can be a challenge.
Using QR Codes in construction, especially on engineering drawings, can help in easy transfers of updated layouts and schematic drawings. Place QR Codes on pillar erections and even in on-site offices for quick access to drawings.
The Halifax Health Deltona project in Florida had QR Codes implemented by their construction team – Robins & Morton. These QR Codes attached not only drawings but also punch lists, RFIs, inspections, and submittals to a location QR Code.
The team even took individual screenshots of each room’s drawings and attached the images to a PDF to punch list the item.
The construction professionals had to just scan the QR Code and get a copy of the current drawing of that particular room for any references.
Implementing QR Codes for room layout increased efficiency and minimized mistakes. The QR Codes could be scanned to alert contractors and workers if any changes were made to the room.
Using location QR Codes for drawings can also guide any team and the owner of the project to any particular space in the building as well.
For engineering drawings that are updated constantly, dynamic QR Codes work the best. Dynamic QR Codes help the construction team in viewing the plans in real-time and being updated on the changes made.
5. Instruction manuals
Every kind of construction has a specific set of equipment that is required for reasons such as erecting, scaffolding, and installation.
Oftentimes, most equipment does not come with a handy reference guide with simple instructions. QR Codes on product packaging can help the team involved in understanding the directions for use.
Redirect the QR Code on the product package to a website or a simple form with a simplified process of product installation and usage.
AJ Morrisoe & Sons added QR Codes that linked to safety videos from their media library. The QR Codes were inserted into the Risk Assessment and Method Statements, with videos being shown during briefings on-site posters.
Morrisoe found enhanced conformance with standards and a substantial reduction in accidents because of QR Codes on sites for a safe process of equipment usage.
6. QR Codes at construction sites
Ssangyong Engineering & Construction (Ssangyong E&C) rolled out QR Codes on its construction site of Dubai Royal Atlantis Resort & Residence, which permits workers to check the construction progress in real-time.
The QR Codes in tandem with its Digital Construction Management Platform allow workers to update and check work progress with a smartphone by scanning QR Codes on building walls.
The users could comment on inspection results, record pictures, alert managers regarding the work process, and visualize cloud data.
Construction site QR Codes can help the construction team which consists of civil engineers, architects, workers, and contractors to keep a track of the work progress, follow safety protocols, and pull up information in case of any changes.
Placing QR Codes on banners on the construction site can also help the owners and onlookers to get in touch with the construction company.
In 2011, NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Buildings Commissioner introduced the use of QR Codes on future NYC construction permits.
The QR Codes would allow users to view the type of construction, the construction team involved, and any complaints registered against the permittee.
Every country follows standard building codes that must be adhered to for the safety of the team and the customers to inhabit the building.
QR Codes can direct the construction team, owner, and its inhabitants to scan the code that can be redirected to the project’s website to display a list of used materials, the procedure involved, brands of gears used, and processing information.
7. QR Codes for check-ins at construction job sites
“Pencil-whipping” to mark attendance of workers, managers, and other construction professionals is not just old-age but also overwhelmingly time-consuming.
Instead, place QR Codes at the entrance at a fixed location on the site to let the construction team and other subordinates involved to record their attendance and/or access plans and specifications.
Attach QR Codes to also track settlements and daily work tasks. Using bulletin boards and paper sheets to tick daily tasks is cumbersome. Make use of QR Codes that can lead to a checklist sheet to record everyday movement, upload pictures, and fill in everyday tasks.
According to a study conducted by National Equipment Register (NER) in association with National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), thefts at a construction site can cost anywhere between $300 million to $1 billion.
And, only 23% of these are tracked or recovered by the law enforcement teams.
A construction site may endorse equipment ranging from tractors, excavators, loaders, and materials. It is assessed that lack of project documentation, missing records of assets, and inappropriate equipment identification tags contribute to its theft.
One such method to avoid these mishaps is by implementing QR Codes. Attach QR Code tags on each piece of equipment and valuable building construction materials.
These QR Codes can be scanned and the data can be stored in a manageable centralized cloud platform to access and consolidate information.
Since dynamic QR Codes can be tracked and assessed, the equipment can be regularly be checked upon, thus preventing thefts at construction sites.
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