Focus on NHBC’s Technology Assisted Inspection app

We spoke with Building Inspector Luke Gibbons on the Technology Assisted Inspection app and how he has found the app so far.

NHBC launched its Technology Assisted Inspection app earlier in the year, representing the first stage in the evolution of its technical risk management strategy following a successful pilot phase.

The app allows site managers to upload photographs for review; having the ability to now capture images of ‘live’ construction, NHBC will be able to work with the industry more efficiently, allowing housebuilders to quickly continue work on site following a digital review and feedback. This will include all fire-related TAI requests being physically re-inspected by the designated Building Inspector.

In a pilot project undertaken last year, 91% of site managers rated the app as easy to use, while it also helps create a useful audit trail tracking on-site activity.

We spoke with Building Inspector Luke Gibbons on how he has found the app so far.

Please explain your role and capacity in which you use the app

Hello, I am a Building Inspector (Role 2) covering the western area of Milton Keynes. I inspect mostly on large builder sites, with a mixture of low-rise residential homes and a few 3/4 storey apartment blocks.

How have you found working with the TAI app?

It took a little getting used to at first, as do most new apps, but once the Site Managers were set up on the app and could receive requests it started to work really well.

What has the reaction been to the TAI app from the site managers that you have introduced it to?

I was actually surprised how normal it seemed to them all, I was expecting resistance for some reason, and had prepared for that, but they are all so used to using IT systems now for their job, it really wasn’t a big deal. They were impressed that NHBC were embracing the use of technology to improve the way we interact with them. To be honest a few did say they were surprised this hadn’t been available for a while now!

Can you sum up the benefits from a site mangers perspective that the TAI app offers

It is the time saved accompanying the BI on the re-inspection visit, but more so it is the massive reduction in additional delays to the build program while waiting for the re-inspection. For example, if a Reportable Item (build defect) is picked up by a BI first thing on a Tuesday morning, without using the app, the site manager may have to wait until the Wednesday afternoon for the BI to re-inspect that defect and allow works to proceed. Using the app it is very possible that the defect could be resolved, photo sent to the BI and approved within the hour, allowing production to resume far quicker.

How easy is it to use the TAI app - do you have any top tips

I like that there is a choice of either using the app on my phone, or on the touchpad. I personally find it easier to create a request using the phone when out on site, but then to manage the requests I use the toughpad in the docking station once back at the home office.

Can you explain how the TAI app works from downloading / requesting access to using?

The BI sends a request for a photograph to the site manager or the assistant site manager. The request includes the plot number, the current build stage and details of the request. It could be to request a photo of a defect once it has been rectified, or it could be a ‘moment in time’ which is a photo of a build area or detail that we might not normally see. Once the photo is sent back to the BI on the app, we can either approve the photo, reject it, or ask for more information. So for defects this often saves a re-inspection, but for moments in time it allows us to see more than we would normally see day to day.

Can you think of any reasons that site managers have cited to you as to why they don’t want to use the app?

Only a small number of site managers have said they are not great with IT, but all of these site managers can use emails, so once they are shown how to use the app step-by-step, and see how easy it is to use, they realise it is not as daunting as they may have thought. Basically, if they can use a phone and can check emails on a computer, they can use the app!

Inspection

Read more about our Technology Assisted Inspection (TAI) app, as well as how our inspection team can help with a collaborative approach to defects prevention.