In FY2017, the NJ STIC recommended that a STIC Incentive Funding grant be used for the purchase and the piloting of the use of the tablets for construction and work zone inspections.
Once acquired, the use of tablets were found to expedite as-built review reporting. For example, comments between team members were easier to share and compile and As-Built review reports, checklists and other supporting documents were no longer printed prior to the review. The reports and checklists could be completed electronically at the field office during the review as the information was collected. A list of findings could be created during the review and shared electronically with the resident engineer (RE) and the review team. Guides and manuals could also be shared with the RE on the tablets during the As-Built review to answer any questions.
Several benefits were evident from the use of the tablets in construction and work zone inspections:
- Improved communications within a team in sharing or demonstrating a design idea such as sketches, field changes, request for information, etc.
- Improved efficiency in keeping field records, particularly through the use of the camera’s function for capturing field videos and pictures.
- More productive meetings as participants had the ability to quickly reference contract documents, plans or emails (Ex. progress construction meetings with contractor, Project Manager/Designer, and utilities.)
Some other lessons were noted in piloting the use of the tablets:
- It is important to keep the battery fully charged; the battery life was found to last up to two hours with extensive use.
- For practical use on site, the use of a stylus pen makes it much easier to use.
- The tablet keyboard will be easier to use if a mouse device is available.
- It is essential to have and maintain the remote internet access connection to enjoy the benefits of the field use of tablets.