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Paper w78-1997-349:
Towards an electronic site diary

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Scott S, Assadi S

Towards an electronic site diary

Abstract:On most construction sites, a considerable volume of records will be amassed by the mainparties and the records kept will cover a variety of aspects of the construction work. It isrecognized that a very important source of information about the progress of the works isthe site diaries, kept by the engineers and clerks of works on a daily basis as the workproceeds. Although recent research has identified these diaries as probably the mostimportant single source of information, it has also identified a number of deficiencies inthe diaries typically kept. They are often said to be very difficult to access, sometimesillegible, occasionally inconsistent and may also lack continuity. An obvious way toaddress some of these problems would be to produce the records in an electronic formatand it is the steps being taken towards this goal that are being reported in this paper.Because of the constraints imposed by site conditions and the fact that some of those whomust compile diaries will not be computer-literate, the option of inputting the records by akeyboard was considered unrealistic. Instead, a Newton Messagepad, that allows the userto write with a stylus on a screen which is then recognized by the Messagepad, was chosen.This allows the recordkeeper to write his/her records in normal handwriting into a file,which can then be transferred to diary software on a p.c. where it will appear as normaltext.The paper describes the work to date, explains how such records can be shown to becontemporaneous through use of digital signature technology and also explains theadvantages to be gained from this approach. The obvious and immediate advantage inhaving the records in machine readable format is that it will allow almost instantaneoussearches of the data to find when specific activities took place. This is an essentialprocedure invariably needed when contractual claims are either being prepared or assessed.


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