Main contractor Big Red Construction has expanded its use of RedSky’s award-winning construction project management software to drive huge efficiencies during a prolonged period of rapid growth.
Big Red rolled out Project Connect, RedSky’s project information management solution, at the beginning of 2021. The implementation started with a single site, so that key learnings could be gleaned and the process adapted before moving on to the next location. All Big Red sites now rely on Project Connect every day.
Business Systems Manager Steve Dearing said: “Our business has around 120 forms covering a wide range of actions and activities. We’re gradually moving them all onto RedSky – we’ve set up around 20 digital forms so far, covering everything from site diaries, inductions and work permits, to fire inspections, hoist inspections and RAMS.
“Setting up new forms on the system is straightforward and I can now create and populate them pretty quickly. Time spent thinking upfront about what I want to report on is never wasted. I also consider what the site teams might need to attach to the form, like photos and drawings. Once I’m clear about what I want to create, I tend to start off with the standard format and then tweak it so that it includes all the reporting information I need.”
There’s now an online report dashboard on the RedSky system for every Big Red site. These user-friendly dashboards are a handy tool that give the Chief Executive, the HSE Manager and Steve a quick overview of performance and compliance, as well as an early indication of any emerging trends or concerns. It’s certainly a lot quicker than trawling through paper reports and spreadsheets.
Project Connect has been very well received on site too. “The site managers are presented with a digital checklist of actions needing to be performed that day, like completing a daily entry in the site diary or organising the monthly toolbox talk,” said Steve.
“They really like how the system works because it has made their life so much easier. The digitised forms are integrated with the system, so the site managers don’t have to mess around downloading and editing Word documents, then filing the paperwork. It’s all digital, saved automatically and stored securely, which gives them peace of mind.
“We recently gave each of our site managers a Samsung pad to use for their daily inspections. They log onto RedSky, complete forms ‘on the go’, take and upload photos instantly, and update the site diary throughout the working day.”
The business also provides each of the site managers with a laptop for use in the office – there are no problems with synchronising the two devices because the RedSky system provides a single source of truth for both.
Big Red’s new, digitised approach is enabling site managers to operate far more efficiently than ever before. Steve said: “We estimate that over a year, 3,000 pages per site are no longer being printed and stored in folders. This has given us significant savings and efficiency gains.”
As is the case for many rapidly expanding organisations, document control used to be a massive and onerous undertaking at Big Red. But Project Connect has changed all of that.
HSE Manager Matt Jarvis said: “For a 12-month project we could have amassed as many as 50 ring binders, each rammed with paperwork. At times, looking for a specific form was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Things were often getting lost or misfiled – and as we grew, the problem only worsened.
“We now have proper document control over all our projects. At our most recent quality audit, having Project Connect in place meant that we didn’t have to rummage through the filing cabinets for specific items of paperwork because everything the auditor wanted was available to view on screen. Within just a couple of clicks, he could see any document along with all the time, date and approval details. The audit was faster than usual and went without a hitch.”
When asked what advice he would give to anyone who might be considering RedSky Project Connect, Steve said: “Every business is different, but whatever your field of construction, it’s worth asking the RedSky team for a Project Connect demo. We’re mainly using it for site, project and drawing management, but a demo will open your eyes to the system’s full capabilities. The front end of it really stands up.”
About Big Red
Big Red is a main contractor with offices in Huddersfield and Manchester. It has 45 direct employees on construction projects, with over 450 people working on sites across the UK. The company works across three primary sectors: Major Construction Projects; Food, Pharmaceutical, Health & Petrochemical projects; and Retail.