Bechtel

Better building with iPad.

“iPad allows innovation to get out of the office and into the field where it belongs.”

Eli Walter, Engineering Manager, Bechtel

Bechtel is one of the world’s most respected engineering and construction companies, with projects that span energy, transportation, communications, mining, oil and gas, and government services. Since its founding more than a century ago, the company has worked on tens of thousands of landmark projects, including Hoover Dam, the Channel Tunnel, and entire airports in Hong Kong and Qatar.

“Bechtel projects by definition require innovation, because they are things that have not been done before,” says Walker Kimball, Bechtel Senior Vice President. Bechtel’s complex international operations demand powerful, flexible project management tools and support systems. iPad and an array of custom-built and third-party apps connect workers with essential information that helps them meet the company’s exacting efficiency, quality, and safety standards worldwide.

“iPad absolutely helps people be more efficient. Better quality, better productivity, a reduction in costs, a happier customer. You’re able to transform more lives.”

Walker Kimball, Senior Vice President, Bechtel

Constructive Custom Apps

Bechtel has created several powerful in-house apps that make the iPad platform even more valuable in the field. “For any construction project, we do a great deal of monitoring and reporting,” Engineering Manager Eli Walter says. “Traditionally, we’d have a form, and a field engineer with a clipboard out on a site writing a report with a pen. Now, with iPad, the minute something gets changed or updated, engineers can see it on their device.”

Using a custom app called iForms, field engineers fill out safety inspections, quality reports, and hundreds of other forms onsite. And an in-house app called Documents lets engineers create, update, and share important technical information anywhere. “It’s not unusual for projects to have over a quarter-million documents, drawings, specifications, quality records, and certifications,” notes Kimball. “With Documents on iPad, employees get speedy access to current information that would have taken hours or days to retrieve before.”

Another iPad app, Concrete Monitor, wirelessly communicates with embedded sensors to help improve concrete quality on the thousands of cubic feet of concrete poured every day on Bechtel job sites. And Bechtel field engineers use a third-party app, junaio – Augmented Reality Browser, in tandem with the Autodesk 360 Mobile app, to superimpose schematics of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems over current images of a construction site. “We take advantage of the GPS technology built into iPad to map exactly where we are in the facility, then overlay this virtual information onto the physical assets,” Christian Reilly, Manager of EPC Systems, says.

In addition to these engineering apps, Bechtel has developed an app specifically to help keep workers safe on hazardous sites. “At Bechtel, safety is one of our core values,” says Walter. “xSDS is our Executive Safety Data System app—it’s an incredibly effective tool for making safety performance visible.” xSDS uses predictive analysis to allow Bechtel to be more proactive about safety incidents. “At the end of the day, we want to send all of our people home safe,” adds Reilly.

Ahead of the Curve with iOS

Bechtel’s IT team relies on the many resources available in the iOS platform for development, deployment, and security. “The iOS ecosystem has been fantastic for us,” Reilly says. And it’s also easy to manage the apps and keep devices secure remotely via MDM. “We have a very robust mobile device management platform,” says Reilly. “It allows us to monitor iPad use around the world and remove applications or wipe devices if there are security infringements or devices are lost.”

“We’ve taken advantage of everything iPad offers, from the actual devices themselves to the SDK and the encryption capabilities within iOS.”

Christian Reilly, Manager of EPC Systems, Bechtel

The Ultimate Project Manager

As Bechtel builds highways, dams, power plants, airports, and other vital structures, iPad brings greater safety, quality, speed, and efficiency to each new project. “iPad removes what in the past has been a huge barrier for construction projects,” Walter says. “It allows innovation to get out of the office and into the field where it belongs.”

Reilly agrees: “iPad really helps us to make sure that we get things right, first time, every time. We’re doing things that would never have been possible without iPad.”

Company Snapshot

  • Global engineering and construction firm
  • Founded in 1898
  • Based in San Francisco, California
  • 53,000 employees
  • Currently working on 200+ projects in 40 countries
  • www.bechtel.com

App Recap

  • iForms enables field engineers to fill out and submit electronic forms, streamlining project management.
  • Documents lets workers share time-critical project site data, so site engineers always access up-to-date information.
  • Concrete Monitor improves efficiency and quality by measuring temperature of concrete throughout pouring and curing.
  • xSDS pinpoints safety incidents and helps predict safety concerns worldwide, significantly improving worker safety.

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