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Gilbane Tests Out RFID System to Document Workers' Hours

The construction company is using the technology to record who enters and leaves a 1-million-square-foot building site.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 19, 2015

Gilbane Inc., a real estate development and construction firm with more than 50 office locations worldwide, is piloting an RFID-based "remote attendance" solution for managing construction subcontracted workers at a building site spanning 1 million square feet. The system not only helps Gilbane's customer (the site's owner) identify each worker, but also creates an electronic record of how many hours that individual has worked onsite, and tracks whether that person represents a small business or lives locally (either category qualifies the site owner for tax breaks). The system, provided by mobile solutions company Serialio, consists of ID badges containing a built-in passive high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz RFID tag and a small RFID reader, linked via a Bluetooth connection to a tablet PC running cloud-based software used to track who enters and leaves the site, as well as when this occurs.

Initially, according to Matt Dragomanovich, Serialio's solutions manager, Gilbane has installed the system at only a single construction site, but if it finds that the system works well at that site, Gilbane intends to install the same technology at other sites as well. At the initial site, Dragomanovich says, Gilbane may also add locked gates with Serialio's readers installed in them, in order to provide access control for authorized personnel. Both Gilbane and its customer declined to comment for this story.

Serialio's idChamp RS2 Bluetooth NFC-HF reader and Grid-in-Hand Mobile Grid app
For construction site operators, managing workers can be a complex task—multiple subcontractors dispatch their workers to the site each day, and a different mix of companies and personnel can be present on a daily basis. Typically, each subcontractor sends the site operator an invoice, based on paperwork submitted by workers or collected onsite. This process of tracking employees and their time spent onsite can be time-consuming and error-prone, since data on an invoice must be checked against handwritten paperwork at that site. The process becomes more complicated when the site owner must prove that a percentage of workers qualify it for a tax reduction as part of a governmental residential preference program (RPP), in which a percentage of workers are local residents, and that employees represent small business enterprises (SBEs).

In addition, Dragomanovich says, Gilbane wanted the automated system to spare the site owner from having to assign a staff member at the gate to check each ID badge and record every individual's arrival or departure time. By collecting data electronically, Gilbane hopes to enable the project owner to prove not only who was onsite but when, and thus the tax breaks for which the owner is, therefore, qualified. It can also store data indicating who has OSHA, first-aid or other specific training of professional certifications. That information can help the company ensure that individuals with the necessary training are onsite at all times.

The solution, Dragomanovich says, consists of Serialio's idChamp RS2 Bluetooth NFC-HF reader mounted at the two gates, which workers use to enter and exit the construction site. Each RS2 device has an RFIDeas HF reader engine built into it. Serialio is also providing the company with 2,000 HF 13.56 MHz RFID worker ID badges, made with NXP Semiconductors Icode chips compliant with the ISO 15693 standard. The single reader at each gate comes with Serialio's Grid-in-Hand Mobile Grid app to manage the collected read data, whether or not the device is online.


Le-roy Staines 2015-11-03 04:24:11 PM
It might also be worth a mention (for smaller organisations with less budget) that there's already cloud based systems to do exactly this... http://timedock.com for one :)

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