Safetime CBC - Android App and Web Portal

The challenge

The SafeTime CBC device is an electronic tag that is revolutionising health and safety in the construction industry.

Get it on Google Play

Customers affix a monitoring device to temporary works (e.g. scaffolding) on a building site and use our custom-built Android App to regulraly inspect the safety of the temporary works. Once inspected, the CBC device is updated by the Android App (via NFC technology similar to London Transport Oyster cards) and the device displays how long there is left until the next inspection. This means people using the scaffold on a daily basis can easily see that it has been inspected for safety. If an inspection runs out, the device flashes red and the scaffolding should not be used.

The solution

“This small but perfectly-formed device is a really clever tool that can give many of us peace of mind and a means of checking site activity performance from our offices.”

Beaumont Safety Trophy citation, Construction Health & Safety Group.

We have built a native Android App which runs on NFC-enabled Android devices (e.g. Google's Nexus devices) to allow inspectors to perform inspections and update CBC devices. The App synchronises its data with a web-based portal that allows users to see all their projects, live devices and view inspection data. This means site inspectors, off-site managers and health and safety staff can all easily see the safety status of all their scaffolding from one simple interface.

Other key features include:

  • The App has been designed to work in situations where connection to the internet is unpredictable. A data file is is kept locally on the device, which can then be synchronised with the server once the device has a reliable internet connection (over wifi or 3G)
  • The App interface has been designed to be as simple as possible. Large text and buttons mean it can be used effectively on building sites with potentially adverse lighting or access conditions.
  • All inspection data can be exported in PDF or CSV format.
  • Observed weather feeds from the Met Office mean we can send alerts when wind speeds exceed certain levels, enabling inspectors to ensure their sites are safe.
  • Comments and photographs can be added to individual inspections, devices or projects - and actions can be assigned to other team members if anything requires urgent attention.
  • A device's full inspection history and observer weather conditions is always available. Battery status and the geographical location of each device is also reported as part of an inspection.
  • When a scaffold is taken down, the monitoring device can be reassigned to a another scaffolding.

The outcome

The device won the Beaumont Safety Trophy at the Construction Health & Safety Group Annual Awards 2014. The award citation highlights the system's strengths: "This small but perfectly-formed device is a really clever tool that can give many of us peace of mind and a means of checking site activity performance from our offices."

One of the pilot projects using the device, the Grange Walk Project (managed by United House Ltd. for Notting Hill Housing Trust) won a 2014 Gold National Site Award from the Considerate Constructors Scheme. The award specifically refers to the CBC devices and the weather feed alerts: "Modern technology was widely employed at this site... The site's link to the Met Office also worked exteremely successfully during the recent high winds."

Technologies used

App: Android SDK, Java, SQLite, NFC, XML, GPS, Amazon S3 API.

Portal: Adobe Coldfusion, Microsoft SQL Server, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, Bootstrap, automated PDF generation.

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