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When workers and supervisors from Canada’s construction giant EllisDon Corp. head to a worksite these days, they may bring along hammers, drills and wrenches – but they’re just as likely to carry smartphones and tablets to get the job done.
“There’s a lot of new technology we’re bringing to our business. We’re digitizing everything we do,” says Tom Strong, chief technology officer for the 65-year-old company, which has more than $3.5-billion worth of contracts on the go every year.
Sophisticated construction job sites have always combined brawn and brute force with mighty machines, but in the 21st century, technology offers builders more.
“It helps our project teams deliver high-quality results by connecting us seamlessly with our clients and trade partners,” Mr. Strong says.
The tech help Mr. Strong refers to in this case is a project management platform designed for the construction industry called Fieldwire. In August, EllisDon made a big decision to adopt San Francisco-headquartered Fieldwire’s app-based technology for all of its jobsites around the world.
“Our objective on a site is to manage information in the most effective way possible, all the specs and documents,” Mr. Strong explains.
Of course, blueprints in one form or another have been around since the Babylonians, but “now they’re digital files. We were looking for a way to manage all these, so people can get access to them readily when they need them,” he says.
The decision to go company-wide came after EllisDon put Fieldwire to use in a few projects over the past four years, including Providence Care Hospital in Kingston, the York University subway in Toronto, and the recently begun $9-billion Vancouver airport expansion project.
In one project, phase one of Brookfield Place Calgary, EllisDon used Fieldwire at the 60-storey, 1.6 million-square-foot office tower project to make the transition from construction to operations.
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