Ben Hurley Reporter

Ben covers the property industry and has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and travel writing. He speaks Mandarin and previously covered housing and urban affairs for The Australian Financial Review.

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Smartphones solve construction problems

Published 20 December 2012 11:11, Updated 21 December 2012 05:36

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Smartphones solve construction problems

There’s something rather James Bond about the way the SkyPoint Climb on the Gold Coast was built. Unique engineering equipment was needed while building the tourist attraction on top of the towering Q1 apartment building, and smartphones were part of the solution.

Roofsafe Industrial Safety, which was contracted to build the SkyPoint Climb, designed a software program that was accessible on laptops or smartphones. Called Syncron, it enabled the construction team of rope-swinging riggers to complete complicated engineering tasks while suspended in the air.

“You can talk to the engineer while you’re reviewing the diagrams while you’re swinging 270 metres in the air,” says Robert Sheedy, a project manager with RIS.

“A lot of construction sites have a site office where you can review plans, but that was way too difficult on our SkyPoint Climb project where we were 270 metres up in the air and weren’t afforded the usual convenience of a scaffolding.”

The company decided smartphones and tablets were the answer, allowing them to review plans wirelessly in real time. Their high-resolution screens allowed workers to view complicated instructions on how to put a piece of equipment into position, with engineers based in Sydney guiding them through the process.

The instructions included diagrams, videos and three-dimensional drawings.

The SkyPoint Climb, built by Ardent Leisure, is Australia’s highest tourist climb and won the new tourism development award at the 2012 Queensland Tourism Awards.

The software complements RIS’s traditional business offering, which involves supplying physical safety equipment such as scaffolding, harnesses and handrails, as well as OHS guidelines.

Sheedy says the software could help save lives, but the most important factor was still the team’s attitude to safety.

“It will contribute to saving lives, but people save lives, not software,” he says.