Construction firm saves $1.2 million by switching from paper plans to iPads and Apple TV combo

Updated Nov 26, 2013
Balfour Beatty workers at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport jobsite go over plans on an iPad. Credit: Balfour Beatty/Citeworld.Balfour Beatty workers at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport jobsite go over plans on an iPad. Credit: Balfour Beatty/Citeworld.

For some people, adopting new technology comes easy. They naturally want whatever is newest and fastest. But for most, the cost needs to be justified—especially when you’re buying enough devices for a huge company.

According to a report from Citeworld, Balfour Beatty Construction, the global firm headquartered in Dallas, justification for Apple’s iPad and Apple TV devices came when project managers saw that plans for the rebuild of two terminals at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport were going to run more than 60,000 pages.

So, Jeff Pistor, a senior project manager for the Balfour Beatty’s U.S. central region, ordered about 50 iPads and handed them out to his superintendents on the jobsite. The digital plans are stored using Egnyte’s Enterprise Local Cloud (ELC) service which stores the plans both in on-premises servers with a backup on the cloud.

Citeworld explains that the hub for the plans is a PC inside the work trailer at the airport. Managers can upload new files or make changes to the existing plans using the PDF-editing software Bluebeam. Everything is synced to the Egnyte cloud software where it can be accessed and edited (photos can be added too) by the guys on-site with their iPads.

But that’s not all. Balfour Beatty even replaced their plan table with two 55-inch TVs hooked up to Apple TV boxes. When the plans need to be discussed in a group setting, workers can simply beam the plans on their iPad to display on the TV through that Apple TV box.

Since the project started two and a half years ago, the number of plans have doubled and the company says it has saved $1.2 million using the iPads/Apple TV combo. Plus, the the iPads have saved supervisors a lot of time by eliminating the need to go back and forth to the trailer to look at plans since they always have the latest version on their iPad.

The workers love the system so much, that they’re taking great care of the devices too. Only two have suffered broken screens so far.