i-Simplification used in construction project - Our journey to move forward

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Posted by APM on 22nd Oct 2012

The October event of APMHK was about the latest developments of Gammon Construction Ltd. inconstruction project. It was held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club on 16.10.2012. The event featured a presentation entitled i-Simplification Used in Construction Project Our Journey to Move Forward made by Josiah KY Leung, Director of Gammon Construction Ltd., Hong Kong. Josiah shared with members and guests the recent development of smartphones Mobile Apps to assist construction units to improve site operation and efficiency.

Josiah is a Chartered Engineer with more than 30 years of experience in civil and foundation construction business, specialized in design and build from conceptual to finalization of construction projects, and multidiscipline project management. Currently, Hong Kong is facing challenges in the ever-increasing size of mega-size projects in midst of acute shortage of labour resources and ageing problems of the construction workers. The sudden increase in the demand for experienced frontlines and labour resources pose extreme challenges to manage projects effectively and efficiently in meeting safety, quality and environmental standards.

With the recent development of smartphones, the 3G/4G network has substantially changed the communication mode and efficiency. This paves the way for the construction industry to move ahead. Gammon Construction Ltd., one of the largest contractors in Hong Kong and south East Asia, took the opportunity to develop smartphone Mobile Apps to improve site operation and efficiency starting from August 2011. Josiah firstly introduced the 3REST key objectives of the i-Simplification. They are: Reduce paper works, Real-Time alert and Reminder to raise awareness, Enhance efficiency of communication, Simply/improve safety and operation processes and Tactic communication for action.

People at all levels will get involved in the i-Simplification, including the senior site management, supervision team, frontline team and workers. Since site safety is the priority, the first batch of development focuses on safety management initiative. It will then spread across other business tools, and in the end will dovetail with the corporate monitoring system, as requested by CEO about the i-Simplification. (The Steering Committee is chaired by Director Josiah Leung.) Starting with safety, the Active Communication Tactic System (ACTS) tracks workers with high accident frequency rate, check plant and machinery, manage works sites by tactic visits and actions. In dealing with workers, there are cultural and experience issues, and education issues. Frontline people may ask why there should be i-Simplification because they do not understand English, they do not see clearly, or they are simply smartphone idiots. Very often, they are too busy, the new system just delays their daily works. With new enhancements, the problems are cleared. According to Josiah, there has been a 50 percent increase in operational efficiency.

In addition, there are behavior changes because there is less work load arising from simplified work processes and no paper works, thus freeing much time from all levels. Other advantages include less communication barriers, more pictorial data, and less memorizing of process details. The new system will be used by the sub-contractors in Phase 2. At the meeting, Josiah further demonstrated the Gammon Emergency Transmit System (GETS), which was just rolled out in June/July 2012. The system is able to check some emergency items in Apps, such as hazardous gases, low oxygen levels, etc.

In closing, Josiah opined that the system could raise the internal productivity of the company.But he suggested that old fashion of working in the construction industry still be required in the future.The implementation of the system is only a start, there is room for development/improvement. Finally, what he wanted to do was to raise the standard of the industry as a whole.

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