Technology in Construction Claims Management

AuthorBy Sasha Christian, Ilana Ritvalsky, and Richard J. Kalinowski
Published in The Construction Lawyer, Volume 40, Number 4, Fall 2020. © 2020 American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion
thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
Technology in Construction Claims Management
By Sasha Christian, Ilana Ritvalsky, and Richard J. Kalinowski
Sasha Christian is a senior associate consultant in the
Houston ofce of HKA. Ilana Ritvalsky, EIT, is a
manager in the Philadelphia ofce of HKA. Richard J.
Kalinowski is an attorney in the New York ofce of Zetlin
& De Chiara LLP.
Due to the COVID-19
pandemic, the way we work—
whether in an ofce or out in
the eld—has changed signif-
icantly, and in an extremely
short amount of time, even
overnight in some cases.
Without available technol-
ogy, this unprecedented shift
would have been impossible.
The abrupt, industry-wide
transition to virtual working
has led to a new understand-
ing of the practicality and
possibilities inherent in many
new technologies. As construction sites throughout the
U.S. begin reopening after shutdowns or ramping up after
slowdowns or suspensions, these technologies may play an
even larger role in a project’s success.
The mere fact that a construction project nishes on
schedule does not mean that productivity was at its peak.
Most likely, downtime was incurred, whether it was due
to waiting for materials, having to perform rework, work-
ing around other trades, or having to perform work in an
inefcient way. With the new safety and social distancing
policies being implemented, these inefciencies are sure
to increase.
Implementing new technologies such as tablets, drones,
or even big data to automate certain processes can improve
productivity. Such technologies have become increasingly
easy to access and use; all that is needed is a willingness to
experiment with them and a commitment to fully explore
their inherent advantages.
Along with discussing the technologies themselves, this
article will also discuss some of the practical considerations
related to implementing them, as well as potential legal
liabilities and ways to mitigate those liabilities. The over-
all goal of this article is to provide a well-rounded view of
these technologies to help construction professionals make
informed decisions when choosing to implement them.
When Android released the rst modern tablet computer
in 2009, it paved the way for revolutionary changes in the
way we use technology. Apple further spurred this change
with the debut of the iPad in 2010. For the rst time ever,
consumers could enjoy computer-like functionality paired
with the mobility of a cell phone. With most major tech
companies now offering their own versions of tablets, these
portable devices are permeating our personal lives. Simi-
larly, they are permeating our workplaces and construction
Without a doubt, the biggest advantage of tablet use is
convenience. We see this convenience in the construction
industry, as tablets can replace many items typically used
in the eld. Instead of fumbling through a full set of draw-
ings and plans, or lugging around a laptop while walking a
site, one can simply use a tablet. Similarly, a tablet can per-
form the same functions as a camera, a watch, a notebook,
a GPS, a calculator—and myriad others—all in one device.
Tablets also offer the benet of real-time information-
sharing. As long as Internet or mobile data connectivity is
available, data can be easily transmitted from one person
to another, regardless of location. Software companies are
supporting this use by making their products accessible on
portable devices through mobile applications, or “apps.”
For example, some of the most common ofce productiv-
ity software, such as Microsoft Ofce and Adobe Acrobat,
are available for mobile use. Even construction-specic
software such as BlueBeam, PlanGrid, and ProCore have
accompanying “apps” that can be utilized while on-site.
An individual working in the eld can now livestream
site walk-throughs to stakeholders or other ofce-based
project parties. Inspectors can share photographs, notes,
and drawing markups. Drawing revisions can be com-
pared to installed work, and documents can be e-signed
in the eld. Imagine how much more productive progress
Sasha Christian Ilana Ritvalsky
Richard J. Kalinowski

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