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Foundation World / Innovations / Article

Revolution in the hand
Piling contractor Stent has developed a site data recording system to aid self-certification but, as Paul Wheeler reports, its potential reaches far beyond this application

While self-certification is a cornerstone of modern construction, few would deny that it is difficult to achieve in practice.

Nevertheless, under partnering arrangements, contractors are increasingly responsible for certifying the quality of their own work. And even on contracts where self-certification has been heralded as a success, it has invariably resulted in frustration. For example, 18 months ago, piling contractor Stent faced the task of satisfying self-certification requirements for its involvement in CTRL contract 440 at Ashford.

According to Alex Cartwright, manager of Stent’s major projects division, pulling the required information together using the company’s paper-based records was a frustrating and time-consuming process.

But Stent realised the potential impact of self-certification and the experience planted the seed of a project to find a better way to collect and store site information, Cartwright explains.

“We hatched a plan to improve the way information is collected on site. In its simplest form we wanted to record the construction process in electronic format. We also realised that if we could make very good records there could be widespread benefits throughout the business, particularly for our estimators, quantity surveyors and cost clerks.”

At the outset, he adds, “our goal was to make good quality records that would be as accessible as possible.”

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