Balfour Beatty has praised a new secure data collection platform as an “amazing development” which has created seven-figure cost savings over 12 months on its Greater West electrification programme.
Called eviFile, the software-as-a-service, or SaaS, platform is developed to adhere to the principles set out by the Home Office in the Association of Chief Police Officers digital evidence guidelines. These specifically reference forensic inspection of data as evidence in legal disputes, in this case relating to the construction industry.
How does eviFile work?
EviFile works via standard tablets and smartphones, enabling field contractors to use their devices’ cameras and GPS capabilities to record inspection information. Every use is securely captured with information on time, date, geographical location, user and device orientation, meaning the digital evidence is tamper-proof.
The eviFile platform also provides detailed dashboard reports that give views of particular processes at a glance, plus maps showing every issue’s location and its status. The audit trail of every issue is also securely captured for archive purposes. Site progress can then be shared in real-time with the client and other stakeholders for authorisation or action.
EviFile product director Edward Williams explains: “We’ve launched eviFile to challenge the status quo and set a new standard in secure field data collection. Our platform meets and exceeds the levels of assurance and evidence major contractors are demanding. We also believe it to be the first in the world to adhere to ACPO’s digital evidence guidelines, creating a single source of truth throughout a whole construction project.
“EviFile has been built to allow its users to enhance efficiencies, protect brand reputation and avoid costly legal disputes. Its use will also contribute more widely to improved health and safety on projects and the data collected can be used to help refine construction methods and processes.
“Our ambition is for eviFile to become the globally recognised gold standard for digital evidence collection, used by major contractors and sub-contractors both in the UK and worldwide. We are targeting rapid growth and are looking forward to announcing our new client wins soon.”
Balfour Beatty and eviFile
Balfour Beatty is currently completing an overhead line electrification project between Bristol and Cardiff across 40 miles of track, as part of the £5.58bn Great Western route modernisation commissioned by Network Rail in 2010.
The contractor introduced eviFile’s digital progressive assurance methodology to replace its paper-based approach and enhance efficiencies. The platform, which was configured to the contractor’s exact reporting processes, has enabled Balfour Beatty to speed up field data capture and transmission of quality information to field engineers, managers and Network Rail.
Balfour Beatty has also replaced thousands of paper records with automated electronic reports, as eviFile provides a clear audit trail of quality referrals within the contractor’s inspection tests.
Commenting on the technology’s success, Balfour Beatty rail director of electrification delivery, Peter Webb, said: “We see mobile site-based technologies as a key way to gather richer data, faster and more cost efficiently. These marginal gains lead to significant efficiency savings, which our project with eviFile proves, as its use has enabled us to save seven figures in costs over a 12-month period.
“The eviFile system is an amazing development and we’re extremely impressed with what the software delivers. It has streamlined our processes, reduced risk and given us actionable insights to deliver a higher quality project. Our field managers have also commented on the huge increase in productivity from not having to chase and collate data manually.”