The Future with e-Construction

June 4, 2019

Paper based documentation; is it a thing of the past?  In today’s technology driven world, we are seeing many old paper applications moving towards an electronic paperless system.  

What is e-Construction and how does it affect the construction of our infrastructure?  e-construction is a paperless construction administration delivery process that includes electronic submission and management of all construction documentation, and electronic document routing and approvals replacing many paper systems that have been in place for decades.  Many of us can remember the days of paper field diaries and manual estimate payments.  Those days have quickly fallen to the wayside as we continue to move forward in the 21st century.  Last month I attended the 2019 e-construction & Partnering Regional Workshop in Pittsburgh PA.  

The event was a hosted by the FHWA and PennDOT in collaboration with ACEC/PA and APC and was filled with informative workshops discussing the future of construction.  The workshop that I have found myself frequently talking about was the presentation on Supercharging 2D \and 3D Agency Inspections for Indiana and Ohio DOT's presented by Corey Johnson of Bentley Systems. The industry is moving towards an environment of incorporating the 3D CADD files into the inspection files.  

Imagine a world where you can touch a bridge pier on your iPad and it shows you what items, testing, and material certifications are needed for that part of the structure. Now visualize there is an issue with the pier. The project inspection staff will have the ability to notate the problem and notify key members of the project immediately.  They can also attach a marked-up picture or a snapshot of the drawings to future illustrate the issue.  Lastly, after all the inspections,testing, and documentation are finished, the pier will turn green to notify project staff this portion of the project is completed. If items are not paid 100% or there are other problems, the pier will be shown as yellow.  Red will signify an issue that needs immediate attention.  Incorporating the drawings directly to the items will significantly streamline the inspection process and is one more tool in the toolbox in helping to eliminate errors and missed tasks.   

The future of Construction Inspection is constantly evolving.  While I understand the concerns that we are becoming too dependent on our tablets and experience is being lost to technology doing the thinking for us, I am excited to see where future innovations will take us.

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