For years, the geosynthetics Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) industry has struggled to find a cost-effective, accurate, and sustainable solution to data collection, validation and review. Since the inception of geosynthetics CQA, the challenge with CQA has been to obtain all the required data in a logical, efficient and error free manner while insuring that the project construction and data meet all project specifications. The results of the conventional process can create a huge variation in the paperwork, which can lead to utter confusion.
Moreover, as time has passed, competition has driven CQA firms to seek more cost-effective solutions. Those solutions often mean reducing the number of field technicians assigned to an installation, thereby increasing their pressure and workload in an already hectic environment.
At the same time, state agencies are facing budget cuts themselves, making it even more difficult to quickly process unwieldy paperwork. All of this has led to unnecessary delays in project approval, end of project scrambling for missing data or facing incorrect procedures that were not recognized in real-time. Of even greater concern is the long-term impact of construction that failed to meet project specifications.
As a result, engineering firms and CQA teams are spending significant amounts of time after project completion trying to decipher handwriting to ensure construction met or exceeded the specifications and that they have the complete documentation to prove it. No one wants to go back to a project and tear up soil or geosynthetic layers or risk damaging liner for a few more destructs or to prove a seam was actually welded. Time is money, so it is imperative to get the project done correctly in real time.
Not only could Holly know which operator and machine were available to weld, but also what type of weld the operator was approved for. These same prompts helped keep the crew informed as conditions approached the lowest allowable ambient temperature for welding activities.
Some of the other features that highlighted the efficiency of SuperTek were:
- Daily deployment and seaming footages were instantly available for daily field reports;
- Items such as missing non-destructive tests and missing repairs were readily available on the punch list;
- The destructive test location suggestion and tracking feature made quick work of finding sample locations, especially in complex tracking situations;
- The trial weld expiration warnings based on time and temperature allowed the project to run smoothly during cold weather conditions.
Additionally, there were at least eight (8) documented instances where the SuperTek lead was able to review the punch list and immediately notify the installation crew of the missing items, something the conventional paperwork lead would not have been aware of until time permitted for review of all the paperwork together, typically the end of the day. Thus, SuperTek helped the installation crew run more efficiently.
Overall, the field time for the project was 152.5 man-hours, including field review and daily reporting, whereas the total field time for the SuperTek crew was only 125.0 hours. Much of the time saved in the field was review time, as reviews could be performed whenever things slowed down for the SuperTek lead, whereas the conventional lead technician needed to wait until the end of the day to perform the majority of the review and cross-checking.
Office time for putting together tables for the certification report consisted of a comparison for the three tables required for this project: non-destructive testing, repairs, and destructive testing. The paper version took a total of 480 minutes to compile, whereas the SuperTek version using the data export from the internet server took only 16 minutes. However, when factoring in that it took another 175 minutes to review the typed data against the paper version, the total compilation time for the paper version jumped to 655 minutes.
The Bottom Line
SuperTek yielded a savings of 18% in field time and a better than 97% time savings in data compilation and review. In this case study, that translates into a realized savings of $5,665 on a four-acre project. For firms doing 20 or more projects per year, this translates into a significant six-figure improvement to the balance sheet. CQA firms will benefit from the certification report savings and no longer have to absorb the cost of countless hours trying to correct, find or translate bad data while improving quality and customer satisfaction. Installation crews will reap the benefits of the reduced CQC and reporting time while improving construction timelines.
An even greater benefit, however, is not having to potentially go back and correct mistakes days, weeks or even years later. While time savings can be easily translated into dollars, the cost of unknown errors is virtually incalculable. With SuperTek, firms can now be confident that when the job is done, it is done. “Data must be thorough, correct and reliable,” said Hull and Associates, Inc.’s Gerdeman. “I can see how SuperTek can provide added assurance to the CQA process and a peace of mind for the certifying engineer, as it double checks the data every step through the process.”