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NoteVault: Talk, don’t write, daily construction reports; Save disputes

3 min read


Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series on some of the construction technology on display at the October 2015 BIMForum in Orlando, Fla. The first part about Fieldlens is here.

“Nothing is more important to avoiding construction disputes than preparing solid, detailed, and contemporaneous documentation during the project,” writes attorney Doug Hibshman.  And to that end, many construction superintendents and foremen spend an hour or so each day writing and filing their daily reports – and most dread the chore. But good documentation and photos are not all that easy to prepare if one waits till the end of a day full of glitches, and all the typing or handwriting required can get tedious, encouraging some to just record major occurrences, leaving out some pertinent details.

But, what if you could talk your report – and do it throughout the day? Just pull out your phone, push a button and streamline the documentation process.

That’s where NoteVault comes into play, according to Ken May, the company’s chief operating officer.  It’s a voice-to-text-based mobile reporting platform that lets you go into the application to phone in your observations as you walk the site. Or you could e-mail, take notes or use Evernote, and add photos and videos directly to your notes – even edit your notes and make comments on the notes of others.

Then real people time stamp all that material, transcribe the pieces of aggregated data, and put them together in a PDF daily report customized to your specifications, making it legible, searchable, easy to access and easy to get out to those who need it. The report can be e-mailed or sent to Box or SharePoint.

In 2013, 36% of joint ventures in the US typically resulted in disputes, according to consultancy Arcadis. That figure dropped considerably in 2014 in North America when it dipped to 19.8%.  However, as Arcadis notes, those disputes now take longer to resolve, cost more money and create delays.

NoteVault’s software-as-a-service, cloud-based solution offers “protection [against disputes], timeliness and quality,” says May.

There’s also Crowd Source Safety, which lets users anonymously report safety observations, which are tagged as such and immediately sent to those who need to know and deal with the issue. Twelve people a day die in work-related incidents, many of them in the construction arena, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Anything that can work to help bring that number down is a step forward.