Case Study: The Pursuit for Paperless Peace of Mind
The construction industry has faced several major issues in the past five years. Think digital disruption, transformation, government health orders to shut down sites, and the growing tradie skills shortage.
Despite this, a Melbourne-based construction firm successfully navigates through the turmoil, continuing along its growth trajectory. It achieved $25M in turnover in 2020-21 and is expected to double that in 2021-22.
Meet Henny, which began operating in April 2018. It creates high-end residential apartment buildings of up to six levels and has expanded to building commercial offices in Melbourne’s inner ring. Henny specialises in head contractor, design and construction management, value engineering, offshore procurement, and early contractor involvement.
As of early 2022, Henny employs 35 staff. They work across its head office, worksites, carpentry team, crane-and-precast-install crew and in Henny’s dedicated factory/warehouse for metal fabrication.
Having those in-house teams and the off-site factory means Henny offers its clients the benefits of a vertically integrated internal structure. Add to that a hands-on approach that harnesses world-class, top-industry construction management software – part of their ‘secret sauce’ to success.
Managing Director Ben Turner has a background in construction management for Tier 1 and Tier 2 firms. He’s even built a private residence in the Caribbean for entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. At the helm of Henny, Ben has since added several Melbourne projects to his company’s portfolio.
Lifting the Lid on Exemplary Systems
What is the underpinning philosophy to drive Henny’s achievements and healthy growth?
It’s elegantly simple: “let’s do building better”. Henny aims to be the market leader in the boutique residential and commercial markets through its valued client relationships and the strength and quality of its team.
So, how do Henny’s back-end technology systems support its phenomenal success? Henny’s General Manager, Georgia Turner, reflects on the company’s previous protracted workflow.
“There was so much we were still doing by hand, such as collecting safe-working method statements and folders and folders of induction materials that we still had to scan and file somewhere for every project.”
“Everyone these days has a computer or a smartphone, and there are still so many processes that we could improve. We also use Procore for our construction management platform, so we needed a partner whose application would easily integrate with our current systems.”
Henny was an early adopter in the construction industry to use Procore to manage its project cycle of estimating, pre-commencement, construction, and customer care. It’s a system that houses every drawing, form, variation document and contractors’ details on a single platform for real-time visibility across all of Henny’s operations and sites. Procore allows Henny’s project teams to access from the palm of their hands these functions, including:
- Project management
- Quality and safety
- Design co-ordination
- Field productivity
- Equipment management
- Defect and post-occupancy customer care
Sourcing a Plug-In for Safety & Compliance
But Henny needed something else in their pursuit of efficient on-site safety processes. Georgia says she didn’t want an off-the-shelf plug-in, but a versatile, digital, customised workflow solution for site safety that integrated seamlessly with Procore.
Henny’s HSEQ Manager, Julie Aldridge, joined the company in early 2020. Previously, she’d worked in a company using a 1Breadcrumb competitor. But, as part of Henny’s due diligence, it met with representatives of three ConTech providers: the competitor Julie worked with previously, another provider, and 1Breadcrumb to see which fit best.
“I would have been the first to say go with the product I’d been using before, but once we saw what 1Breadcrumb could do, specifically the app component, and realising its further capabilities, I was certain this would be the best option,” she says.
So, Henny began using 1Breadcrumb as part of its suite of digital applications in July 2021. It’s since been using it for:
- Site inductions
- Management of SWMS from and for contractors/sub-contractors
- Collecting daily man hour logs and safety records
- Collection, storage and reporting of sub-contractors’ insurance certificates of currency, and
- Asset management for an extensive register of tools and equipment between the Henny warehouse and its building sites.
SWMS and Inductions Under the Spotlight
Here’s how 1Breadcrumb works.
Julie says: “As soon as Henny appoints a subcontractor for a project, I’ll issue an email to say we’re using this innovative online platform, 1Breadcrumb, as part of our holistic approach to site safety and induction management. I then ask all subcontractors and suppliers to upload their SWMS and compliance documents via the digital portal for the Henny site team to review.”
“It’s a two-step process. Once the Henny team has reviewed the documentation, contractors are asked to complete their site induction online within the week. This pre-induction stage cuts a load of the time those workers would otherwise spend doing the full onboarding process on-site.”
Inductions can be complicated for site teams to manage due to the high volume of trades on-site, which for Henny can sometimes reach up to 80-100 workers each day. For example, pre-1Breadcrumb, the onboarding process for each new sub-contractor took Henny’s key staff members up to 20 minutes – this obviously disrupted workflow and productivity.
Now, by the time they’re on-site, the easy-to-use mobile interface already has most of the information uploaded and allows easy contact with tradies wherever they are. It’s much more efficient, says Julie. As well, Henny also used to do visitor registrations with “a piece of paper on a clipboard for people to sign”. Now, they just scan a QR code with their smartphone, select ‘visitor’, key in their details and they’re on their way.
“If there’s been a change in the project, such as an update to the site evacuation plans, or if I have issued a Quality or Safety Alert, we can follow it up with a site announcement and have a mandatory view and sign off. So, the next time workers come on-site, it will automatically come up, and they’ll have to read it and do the mandatory sign-off before they can continue,” she says.
She says: “Using the 1Breadcrumb platform, we now have peace of mind and visibility to know who is on any of our sites and their respective safety information, and have the accessibility to share relevant safety documentation in case WorkSafe visits. We can also see if there aren’t enough people working on-site and reach out to supervisors to ask why.”
Integration with Procore
Importantly, Georgia says 1Breadcrumb is a “simple intuitive dashboard” that integrates seamlessly with Procore, their ‘single source of truth’ about the business.
Julie says: “I’d used Procore in my previous roles, but not to the degree of capability I saw at Henny, and I had no idea Procore could do those things. By harnessing 1Breadcrumb as well, we kept taking it up to the next level, such as incorporating action plans, inspections, safety reports, uploading images that we’d then shoot out to the relevant tradie – that was a lot easier.”
Georgia says 1Breadrumb “continues to be responsive to our needs”.
“For the guys at 1Breadcrumb, it was a real journey for them as well working with us. We would explain to them different areas of construction admin that were reducing productivity and they would work to create new functions that would overcome these problems.”
“It’s been a collaborative process that’s meant we’ve never felt we were getting an off-the-shelf product. Procore is our single source of truth; by adding on 1Breadcrumb to focus on site safety, we now have a more effective and easy-to-use construction management system than ever before.”