On September 16, 2022, we went to meet Quentin Petit and Claude Deloffre, sector manager and manager of job site at EHTP Picardie. Kraafteurs for almost a year, they tell us about their experience.
NGE, an acronym for Nouvelles Générations d'Entrepreneurs, is an independent French construction and public works group created 20 years ago by the merger of the companies Guintoli (civil engineering), EHTP (pipelines) and GTS (foundations). Strengthened by the businesses of Siorat (roads), TSO (railways), Agilis (signalling), NGE Génie Civil, NGE Fondations, and NGE Infranet (telecoms), the company now has 16,000 employees and sales of €2.8 billion.
"Today, we are located in Montescourt-Lizerolles, on the rue de Castres, on which we are carrying out a job site sewerage system" begins Quentin. "We recreated a collector with 5 connections, because there was a small defect on the existing network. Our mission was to re-establish a classic flow by reconnecting each individual to the right network."
The challenge here is timing. Since the municipality wants the work to be completed in August, that is to say 4 weeks for a project that normally takes 6. On this kind of work site with buried networks, communication between the different teams, traceability of unforeseen events and reactivity with the project owner are essential for success.
The first challenge of a new software is to make it easy for the teams to get used to it. "Kraaft, I used it a few months after I arrived at EHTP (...) it's an application that looks a lot like WhatsApp and we used WhatsApp frequently, so it's quite simple" underlines Quentin.
And indeed, the principle is not complicated. The mobile application, whose interface is close to a mobile messaging system, allows team leaders and job site leaders to upload photos, videos, voice notes, or comments in the dedicated news feed of job site. "As time went by, I got the hang of the application and it works well," says Claude. "I use it for my marking and staking and then throughout the job site to send my progress (...) in the evening I take a photo to show that my marking is in place in case of damage at night" adds the leader of job site.
"We can identify each photo sent by a team leader, a job site leader or a machine operator. We know where he took the picture and when. It saves me from having to do research," says Quentin.
With the computer version of the software, work managers can explore the satellite map of job site and download photos by area, weekly or monthly. "Kraaft changes the way we work as a team because there's more sharing. On a job site project, I'll have surveyors arriving, then sometimes an asphalt team, and for them it's very practical to have all the history of the operation on Kraaft" continues Quentin.
It is indeed possible to add people at any time on the news feed of job site so that they have access to the history. At each stage of the job site (costing, preparation, execution, delivery), the interlocutors can thus enrich the log. The administrators themselves (sector managers, agency managers) can have a vision of all the discussions on job site without being polluted by notifications. And the customers can receive selected information with specific access.
"We are also in contact with the Kraaft design office (...) to show that we finally started the job site in this way. This allows us to get feedback. We can go even further, I think, especially to share the field constraints. As we work in all the Hauts de France, it would allow us to have a map of all our past sites" continues the works manager.
"We started talking to our client about Kraaft," explains Quentin. The application allows the area manager to output reports from the smartphone if the customer asks, whether it's for the weekly photo report or for event reports.
"We ask our managers at job site to measure the surfaces, to make small sketches, or to write on the photos for our as-built records (...) This allows us to get information more quickly, either for us or even for our client (...) For example, for an unknown network: we identify it, we put the diameter, the satellite position of the photo is automatic, and the information goes directly back up.
But communication with the MOA does not only concern the hazards of job site ! The EPCI are more and more demanding on the signage and safety of the sites. For example, the EHTP teams have made it a habit to take a photo report on Friday evening, to show that the barriers are in place and that the sites are clean for the weekend.
"All the exchanges are now done on Kraaft. We put everything from A to Z, we forget less things and we are more serene. This way we always have proof in case of a problem" concludes Claude.
✅ Easy to join in the field (as easy as WhatsApp)
✅ Photo evidence to enhance additional work
✅ Time and quality savings on reporting
✅ More responsive and transparent collaboration with project owner/manager
✅ Database for REx at the design office / nature of soils.