Roadworks slowing you down? Well, the next time you find your drive delayed by a grader, a patching truck, or a concreting crew, you might want to spare a thought for the processes that have got them to that point.
For Paul Nicholson, Coordinator of GIS and Asset Information for the City of Greater Bendigo, those processes have been transformed by the Konect advantage.
Maintaining the safety and viability of roads is complex, and the critical approach to success comes down to three things: Road Management Plan compliance, maintenance works programs, and the capital program.
Each quarter, Paul reports to the Directors on compliance with the Road Management Plan. “Now we have Konect, I can confidently generate a report that says we complied with the inspection rate, say 99.5% of the time. Compliance is vital, and the key to that is having reliable, accurate, field capture data and photos.”
They have strict timelines to repair things like potholes, corrugations, or footpath trip hazards, and Konect provides an exact date, time stamp and photo of when that work is done. “With information accurately recorded in the field, I can be absolutely assured. If we get a freedom of information request, or a claim from a lawyer, you can press a button, generate a report, and be confident with all the data.”
As complex as it might seem, the maintenance works program is all about simplicity, and a little splash of colour. Paul explains, “Our asset management system is fully integrated with Konect in the field. When the inspector highlights a defect on location, it automatically appears on the work crew’s iPad. They’re colour coded: If it’s green they’ve got more than a month; orange, less than a month; red, it’s overdue! They can see their work priority and exactly where they are. We don’t want to send a crew 45 minutes away, only to return to town to find there was another job they could have done while they were there.”
“The thing I like about Konect, is that you’ve got the ability to tailor the application that the end user sees to make it as complex or a simple as you like. It is recording dates, times and location, and all the user has to do is press one button.”
For Paul, the arrival of Konect and its cloud-based synchronisation has completely removed the previous bottleneck associated with the allocation, completion and documenting of work. “Recently,” Paul continued, “I had noticed our inspector doing an audit, and had put some jobs on the Konect app. 15 minutes later, the crew had completed the work”.
Bendigo’s Capital Programs, such as the reseal program, have become very sophisticated using Konect. “Apart from the road management plan and safety inspections, the inspectors will go out and do condition assessments of assets. This information feeds out into Konect and details roads that are above our intervention level and due to be resealed. The engineer programs advanced works and Konect automatically generates reports and schedules.”
Historically, managing the record of works done could be less than reliable. Paper-based processes meant that jobs might not get allocated, or completed, or recorded. Without a system like Konect, the coordination of works using panel contactors would be a major headache. “Previously you might have a contractor doing dig out work. Then another seals over the top. If we get issues, one contractor could say that the other didn’t do their job properly. But now, we have proof of the work at all stages. And, until the inspector checks, it doesn’t get released on Konect for the next part of the job to be commenced.”
Konect is allowing the City of Bendigo to minimise its expenditure and maximise efficiency, and it’s never been easier, with end users no longer bombarded with unnecessary complexity and redundancies. “I don’t need to run training. It can be made very easy for someone to pick up and start using it. I’ve seen other applications and you’re stuck with the same view for everyone, which can really overcomplicate things. Most importantly, any changes I make back at the office, are seen straight away by the person in the field.”
Other departments are now asking for Paul’s help. “Roads is where we use it a lot, but it can be used for many other applications. For example, I quickly set one up for our waste team with all the relevant information recorded with one or two clicks.
It is very obvious from talking to Paul, that the Konect advantage has been a significant force in the success of Bendigo’s various road management commitments.
“The way that Konect is built on a whole lot of reusable parts is really clever. It extends our capabilities out into the field: data collection, analysis, processing of work. Although there are many other efficiencies and capabilities, the accuracy and reliability of data is the most important”.
Just remember this the next time you see the sign, ‘Roadworks Ahead!’