How small to medium construction businesses automate sign-in tracking with QR codes

Rosemary Scott

Sharing real world user stories

Investing in sign-in software is a no-brainer for small to medium construction businesses that want to solve the challenges of paper sign-in sheets, including:

  • Contractors forgetting to fill out the sign-in sheets
  • Contractors filling out the sign-in sheet incorrectly (or it can’t be easily read)
  • Contractors having to hike to the site office to sign in and out (time that construction companies pay for)
  • General contractors and site managers chasing contractors to sign in to the site (time that construction companies pay for)
  • Office staff need to manually enter time on site data into other systems (time that construction companies pay for).

These issues, ranging from minor inconveniences to operational problems that can significantly harm the safety of your contractors (and profitability of projects), can mostly be solved with sign-in software.

If you’re in the market for sign-in software, there are two main types:

  1. Basic time-on-site apps: Software made solely for time tracking. These solutions are primarily for time on-site tracking and include basic functionality like a QR code scan. These apps are lite solutions best suited to workplaces with very low-risk profiles and miss basic safety needs that construction sites need.
  1. Construction site sign-in and safety apps: Construction software provides sign-in tools alongside other digital features that construction businesses use to run onsite day-to-day safety. For example, site inductions, completing SWMS, JSA, self-reporting hazards, accessing site-specific information and more.

While basic time-on-site apps can improve contractors' time tracking, they have distinct disadvantages compared to sign-in tools with wrap-around job site safety features.  

So, here we’re going to discuss those disadvantages, and then walk through EVA Check-in’s QR code solution to show you how it works and the value it can provide to your business.  

Check out how EVA Check-in works to improve confidence in your construction site safety? Take a free 14-day trial or book a call with a specialist here.

The disadvantages of basic time on-site apps versus construction sign-in and safety tools

Operational inefficiencies
From a workflow efficiency perspective, using a basic time-on-site app requires users to bounce between different apps and processes to complete all safety tasks.

The main roles impacted using these style apps are Site Managers and General Contractors. These apps capture only one job site safety task – site sign-ins. Site managers are still chasing their tails to complete other safety tasks like inductions and SWMS to get everyone started quickly and safely. And when evacuating sites, they have to rely on guesswork to see who is accounted for.

There are also inefficiencies for contractors using these apps. For example, contractors may sign in to a construction site using the app. Then they will need to either find the Site Manager to get a safety briefing, hunt out colleagues to understand the specifics of any high-risk work like working at heights, sign and remember to return paperwork, or report any near-miss. These tasks all take time – which the construction companies pay for.

On the admin side, the project manager will then need to jump into the time on-site app to find the hours being spent on the project each day – and then manually enter them into the project management tool so that they’re tracking the hours being used on the project.  

In contrast, EVA Check-in solves these problems. When site sign-ins and job site safety tasks are managed in the same app, tracking the progress of who is where and their safety status is visible at a glance. For contractors, they can complete their inductions shortly after arriving at site, log safety incidents themselves in the app, and read relevant safety briefing sheets as needed. All within the app.  

On the project management side, contractor time on site data logs – automatically created when they scan the QR code – can be accessed from within EVA Check-in or even better synced automatically into the Procore project where staff are already operating.  

See how McNab uses QR codes with Procore to free up hours across their business each week.

Difficulty with emergency management
Aside from tracking how long contractors are on-site each day, any time-on-site app must be able to be used for evacuations (after all, if you know who is there, why would it not do this?)

When the airhorn blasts, the Site Manager or General Contractor needs to be able to account for everyone quickly. However, when emergency management is part of a tool that is siloed into an entrance/exit tool, Site Managers will generally only have the tool open and running at specific times during the day. They’ll need to log into the app to sound a digital evacuation and then grab a snapshot of who is here. Knowing who is where will be fraught if people can muster at different points.  Accounting for everyone should be very simple.

In contrast, EVA Check-in’s evacuations are:  

  • Activated with three taps on the kiosk screen or via the web app
  • Accessed and managed via the same platform the Site Manager and General Contractors are using many times each day
  • Run in real time. Multiple wardens can mark off contractors as they meet at different muster points near the construction site.
  • Linked to automatic emergency notifications, which are sent to everyone signed into the site.

For these reasons, many construction businesses can benefit from job site safety software rather than simple time-on-site software. In the rest of this post, we’ll provide an overview of how QR code sign-ins work from the contractor’s and Site Manager's/General Contractors' perspectives and how they tie into other safety workflows.

Solving operational inefficiencies: How EVA Check-in improves visibility of who is on-site at construction sites

As mentioned above, QR codes are used to log contractor and visitor presence on any construction site. Most construction sites set them up like this.

A printed QR code poster is available beside entrances and near the safety station or site lockers. Contractors scan the QR code and enter their details. Contractors can choose how they manage their sign-in – either just using the QR code or the QR code in conjunction with the free mobile app. The next time that contractor enters the site and scans in their details are remembered – so there is no need to re-enter their information. Just a simple scan-in is needed.

Contractors don’t need to be tech-savvy to use this sign-in option – it works easily on smartphones, from the very basic to the latest on the market, both Android and iOS. Occasionally, we hear of contractors who don’t have a smartphone. Don’t worry. They can still log in! They need to ask the Site Manager to sign them in and out each day via the portal if the site isn’t running a kiosk.

Below is an example of a QR poster. It can be amended to include any logo, colours or text you need. Try this one and see how easy a QR code login is!

Once a contractor has signed in, the Site Manager can see their details in the web portal.

From a Site Manager’s perspective, QR code sign-ins are the fastest and easiest way to get visibility of everyone on-site. Site sign-ins are set up in a matter of minutes. Zones are used on more significant sites like rest home villages and large civil works projects to get a more granular view of who is working where.  

Running an evacuation is straightforward. Evacuations are triggered by anyone from the kiosk home screen or in the web portal (which also works on mobile browsers). Once triggered, it can be rapidly shared via mobile notification. You'll need a real-time tool to manage evacuations with wardens if you’re running large construction projects with one or more exists or muster zones. Wardens can mark off contractors as present across different exists and muster points. Every warden can see live updates. This gives you the most accurate and immediate view of who is safe and who perhaps is not.

Additional safety features for the construction industry

Beyond the features we’ve covered surrounding QR code sign-ins, there’s a host of in-app tools and other features to keep people safe on worksites. (Note: EVA Check-in has alternative sign-in options to QR codes such as geofence, tablet kiosk, reusable pass, and app).

Here is a brief overview of these features, which have been custom-built for construction.

Inductions are a construction site's most important safety processes. They bring everyone onto the same page – giving the same safety information to everyone depending on their role type. Anyone who’s run inductions before knows that they are time-consuming. However, all contractors and visitors can be inducted to the site using the EVA Check-in app once they have signed in. The induction can be a mix of written information, video, diagrams – and even tests to review the person’s knowledge at the end.

Self-report incidents and near-misses
Using the free EVA Check-in mobile app, all contractors and visitors can self-report incidents using the app. By completing the pre-set form and uploading photos, if appropriate, you know that the excuse of “I’d forgotten to log the near-miss by the end of the day” is no longer valid. Contractors can log near-misses and hazards immediately following the event.

Accessing site documents
Giving contractors access to data safety sheets, operating manuals, site plans, and risk assessments when they need to access the information is solved within the EVA Check-in app. Once signed in, contractors no longer need to wander down to the site office to brush up on how a particular piece of machinery works or Site Managers can quickly cross-check site plans from the tenth floor without missing a beat, for example. They can open the app and read the documents wherever they are.

The features discussed throughout this post have been primarily focused on solving the disadvantages of simple, generic sign-in apps: operational workflow inefficiencies and emergency management.

Coupled with our unique construction-specific features like inductions, self-reporting hazards, and access to safety documents, these features offer significant advantages to construction businesses looking for a time on-site or sign-in solution.  Businesses like Marra Construction are seeing the benefits of using these tools every day.

By using a tool that has built-in construction site safety wrapped into the free app, you’re giving your contractors one of the best ways to keep themselves and one another safe.

Book a call for a short walk-through or get a free 14-day demo to see how EVA Check-in keeps construction sites efficient using QR codes.

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