We rolled out iPads to key staff-members in 2012, and Jim Tuten received one of them. Jim opted to use the mobile device for his on-premise fire alarm and fire suppression inspections. The mobile device saves time and facilitates coordination with architects and designers.

Saving Paper and Labor

In the last two years, we’ve been involved with an estimated 15-20 million square feet of warehouse space, total. The projects often come to us in million square-foot increments. For projects of that size, a contractor would have around 20-30 sheets of blueprints (30 X 42-inch sheets). The blueprints are rolled up into 30-inch long, 8-inch diameter tubes. On top of that, a test would require around 1,000 sheets of paper, including the material data, contract documents, our criteria documents, and the design specifications. These would be carted along in a carry-on size suitcase full of folders.

To answer questions, Jim would look through the files manually until the appropriate document was found. He preferred this means of physical storage and retrieval to his laptop, except in cases where a large building increased the documentation beyond his physical capacity. With the iPad, however, he has devised an easy, streamlined system. Not only is the hefty documentation reduced to a 1.4-pound tablet, he can resolve problems on the construction site without a hassle.

One Benefit of 4G: On-the-Spot Resolution

In early December, Jim was inspecting the installation of a number of fire sprinklers. His job was to verify his designer-approved recommendations had been enacted. However, when he arrived, the fire safety contractors weren’t clear on the recommendations.

Jim used his 4G connection to find the appropriate email and compare the marked-up drawing to the installation. As it turned out, they had made the changes and they weren’t even aware of it. The iPad improved coordination and saved everyone’s time.

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.