There is a current trend among the industry’s top construction organizations to adopt software solutions that streamline project delivery. Historically the construction sector has been slow to adopt innovation, despite cost and schedule overruns being a norm. However, as leading-edge firms now offer innovative new approaches benefiting clients, the pressure is on the industry as a whole to embrace the wave of new technologies or get left behind.
One example is Aguirre & Fields who partnered with construction technology provider HeadLight in an effort to improve efficiency, collaboration and management of a $233 million TXDOT engagement. The I-30/SH 360 direct connect interchange project in Arlington, TX will, among other things, improve access to the popular Six Flags Over Texas, the first of the iconic Six Flags theme park brand.
HeadLight provides the Aguirre & Fields team a photo-based inspection and verification technology that is designed specifically for transportation agencies and engineering firms to improve project inspections and the overall construction management process.
The technology company employs a unique approach to client deployments that includes a discovery process identifying key business challenges HeadLight is designed to improve and then provides critical change management support, best practice recommendations specific to that client, and hands-on training and coaching to get the team on the path to successful adoption and engagement of all users. The methodology has been highly effective because it does not take a technology-centric or process-centric approach. It is a people-first approach that makes the difference in guaranteeing long-term adoption of what is a fundamental change within an organization.
Aguirre and Fields identified the following goals for their HeadLight investment:
- Increase efficiency and build internal best practices
- Differentiate the firm from competitors through the use of technology
- Implement consistent processes to support growth
- Pay forward gains in efficiency to create value for clients
- Focus on improving the quality of life for the team
Here are a few examples from the Texas jobsite on how they are achieving their goals.
GOAL: Increase efficiency and build internal best practices
The following example demonstrates the immediacy of field information and increased collaboration experienced by HeadLight users. An Aguirre & Fields chief inspector scrolling through his HeadLight journal feed came across a series of image observations that provided visual and actionable proof that the contractor failed to place sewer seals during pipe installation. The chief contacted the onsite inspector, provided on-the-job-instruction, and initiated immediate corrective action, while the work was still in progress, without ever leaving his desk.
GOAL: Differentiate the firm from competitors through the use of technology
When competing firms are still using a paper-based process, the ability to provide a high impact, visual solution to documentation becomes a significant value add and provides strategic differentiation from other firms without those capabilities.
Inspectors have increased photo documentation tendencies, resulting in better info for situational diagnosis, as well as a higher level of overall documentation.
– Project Engineer, Aguirre & Fields
Examples of rich data observations captured in the field via HeadLight
GOAL: Implement consistent processes to support growth
HeadLight allowed all Aguirre & Fields project offices to easily compare work products to create a consistent, higher quality deliverable. Project inspectors now use a consistent process within HeadLight to capture, share, and utilize project data for all of the client projects they serve and HeadLight automatically formats the deliverables to fit that client’s specific reporting format.
HeadLight also allowed Aguirre & Fields to be more efficient with its resources while still providing the same level of inspection diligence on the project. Specifically, inspectors were able to sufficiently document a job that would normally take three inspectors with only two inspectors.
The additional coverage was evidenced in the inspectors’ average number of daily observations increasing from 7 per report to 20+ per report. Using HeadLight, the chief inspector was able to “be several places at the same time,” ensuring appropriate activity oversight with less resources required.
Listen to the Aguirre & Fields experience directly from one of their inspectors below.
GOAL: Pay forward gains in efficiency to create value for clients
The HeadLight investment allows Aguirre & Fields to provide TxDOT with more field time for the same cost, better documentation, risk reduction with easier access to inspection information, and a real-time view into the projects they oversee.
Below are the results when the Aguirre & Fields team was asked:
” How easy is it for you to find inspection information related to a specific work activity, issue or conflict?”
GOAL: Focus on improving the quality of life for the team
Everybody is doing a little better at what they’re doing every day.
– Chief Inspector I-30/SH 360 Interchange
Aguirre & Fields has an impressive commitment to developing leadership skills in all employees by promoting character in the workplace. They found that practices reinforced through the use of HeadLight—effective communication, efficient problem solving and an environment of teamwork and collaboration—can foster positive professional development and increase job satisfaction. Quality of life is further improved because of the reduced administrative burden ( no more driving back to the office to create daily reports) the investment has provided their valued inspectors.