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CDMS - How it Works

The CDMS makes demonstrating compliance on construction projects easy.

CDMS = Compliance Data Made Simple

1. The CDMS Concept
2. Using the CDMS on Projects
3. Getting started
4. Setting up ITP's
5. Recording data
6. Viewing reports
7. Providing access to others
8. Hardware and Software Requirements
9. Palm Capacity Limitation

The CDMS Concept

 

The diagram identifies the three major elements of the CDMS:

1. The preparation and authorisation of Inspection and Test Plans (ITP's) on a remote database,
2. The collection of data ‘in the field’ by:

a. Downloading the ITP's to a Portable Digital Assistant (PDA) - a Palm Pilot,
b. Marking off completed tasks on the PDA at the workface,
c. Uploading the completed tasks from the PDA to the database, and finally

3. The viewing/printing of reports on the status of the ITP's.

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Using the CDMS on Projects

The CDMS manages the development and sign-off of checking of work on a Project.  Inspection and Test Plans (ITP's) are the tool used to plan the checking of work (i.e. the inspection and test processes) for activities on a construction project.   ITP's are the central plank of Quality Assurance on construction projects.

Each Project has one or more ITP'scovering the activities on the project, e.g. for bricklaying, roofing, etc.  In the CDMS an ITP contains a number of steps that define the process for doing the work (called Process Steps) and the points at which checks (verification) are carried out (called Verification Points).

Process Steps are the steps taken to deliver the work. Verification Points define the checks to be done at specific points in the work process to confirm/demonstrate compliance with specified requirements.  On the CDMS web site both Process Steps and Verification Points are visible but only Verification Points are downloaded onto the PDA (Palm).

Verification Points have one or more Criteria setting out in detail what specified requirements must be met.

A Verification Point may have some explanation attached to it, defined in a Details section, explaining the relevance of the Verification Point,  such as references to relevant industry standards.

Additionally, there is the provision on the PDA to record Follow up Actions when a Verification Point can't be ticked off the first time it is checked.  (In the Quality Assurance Standard ISO 9001:2000 these are termed a non-conformance. The CDMS provides a very easy way to record these.  This helps control work and provides valuable feedback to identify improvements.)

ITP's are assigned Work Lots. A Work Lot defines the work that is covered by the check being undertaken.  As an example an ITP (for say "Roof Cladding") may have assigned to it two or more Work Lots, e.g. for the East side of the building and for the West side of the building.

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Getting started

To get started a user first needs to sign up with ABE Services Pty Ltd. Once signed up the user will be provided with a password to access the CDMS. The initial user will be given access as an administrator. As an administrator the user will be able to assign any other licence holders as an administrator or a checker.

An administrator has the ability to establish projects, create/modify ITP's and associated work lots, and assigns specific ITP's to individual Checkers. A Checker, on the other hand can only complete the activities viewed on his/her allocated PDA, as well being able to download and upload data to the PDA.

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Setting up ITP’s

The process of developing ITP's has been simplified by the provision of industry standard ITP templates. These templates are provided to users either directly by ABE Services Pty Ltd, or by a relevant industry association to its members.

These ITP templates can be copied into a user area and then into a project and used as is, or modified to suit the particular project. If needed the user can create ITP's from scratch. Because ITP's for a project are drawn from a list of templates developed/copied/modified by the user, then these user templates can be used over and over again from project to project. In fact entire projects can be copied to like projects to further speed up ITP preparation.
The setting up of projects and ITP's is undertaken by the user assigned the role of administrator.

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Recording data

When ready to undertake an inspection to collect compliance data, the Checker would synchronise his/her PDA with the remote database to download the compliance/inspection documentation to the PDA.

The user then takes the PDA ‘into the field’ and completes the activities required by the compliance/inspection planning documentation loaded onto the PDA, by recording data into the mobile device as required by the downloaded documentation.

The data recorded either confirms compliance with requirements, or where compliance cannot be achieved, identifies a follow-up action to be undertaken before a subsequent inspection is carried out. The action also identifies if there are client requirements to be addressed.

On completion of inspection activities the user synchronises the PDA with the database, uploading the data collected.

The uploaded data populates the compliance/inspection documentation to provide a record of compliance actions.

All activity on the PDA is date stamped.

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Viewing reports

The user can review ITP's and associated compliance data in an appropriate reporting format (onscreen or printed reports). Reports available cover the ITP, the ITP with collected data (the name of the checker, the data and time when each activity was signed off, work lots used and non-conformance reports.

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Providing access to others

If the administrator wishes to, the administrator can grant to external parties an on line view of the ITP's and other reports. This allows project compliance information to be shared with others (clients, superintendents, project managers) in real time. These external users may only view data. They cannot alter data.

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Hardware and system requirements

To access the CDMS the following hardware and software is currently required:

  • a Palm Pilot PDA running Palm OS version 3 (or later),
  • a PC or laptop with an Intel Pentium III 200 Mhz processor as a minimum, 128 Mb RAM and 150 Mb free disk space
  • Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98, Windows 2000 or Windows XP
  • Palm Desktop for Windows Version 4.1.0.0 (or later)
  • Sun Java Runtime Environment Version 1.4 (or later)

Access to the internet is required to utilise the ABE Services website and for synchronising between the Palm Pilot and ABE Service's database.

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Palm Capacity Limitation

Attention of users and potential users of the CDMS is drawn to limitations on the size and number of projects that may be downloaded to PDAs (Palms). As these limits vary depending on the PDA used and the project(s) involved it is not possible to provide precise guidance on the limits that may be encountered. When the download capacity is exceeded not all the project information is downloaded to the PDA.

To date projects with of the order of 25 Inspection and Test Plans and 10 worklots have been successfully downloaded. Projects with significantly more worklots but fewer ITPs have also been successfully handled. More than ten projects have also been successfully downloaded to a single Palm.

The download capacity may be adversely affected if the free space on the PDA (Palm) is less than 5 Mb and there is a significant skew in the ITP to Work Lot ratio, ie a high number of Work Lots to the number of ITPs or vice versa.

The download capacity of the CDMS indicated above has been sufficient for trial projects undertaken in 2004. These projects were for building, civil and landscape works up to the order of $2,000,000.

Users looking at employing the CDMS on larger projects where capacity limitations may occur are invited to contact ABE Services Pty Ltd to discuss their particular needs.

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