Melbourne startup nails building industry digital transition

Top row left to right: Mahdi Nejad, Katie Kwan, Jasper Rouget. Bottom row left to right: Ben Larosa, Paul Wilson, Patrick Harris, Simon Elliot.

Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.

The days of the site office piled high with safety and compliance paperwork are over thanks to 1Breadcrumb’s innovative workplace platform.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Victorian construction firm McCormack continued to operate with just 25 per cent of their workforce able to be on their construction sites, making it a challenge to keep up to date with recently introduced safety requirements.

“There were layers of new processes through the local government as well as occupational health and safety (OHS) laws that we were required to meet while also continuing to ensure safety on our building sites on a day-to-day basis,” says Dyon Gerlach, General Manager of McCormack.

Along with the increase in legislated safety requirements came additional obligations to demonstrate to all their stakeholders and clients that they were operating safely.

“We have a lot of large internationally recognised clients and they had a heightened sense of anxiety around the pandemic and people operating within their buildings,” says Gerlach.

Maintaining safety and its triple ISO certification and reputation was imperative for the 50-year-old family business.

To ensure it kept its quality safety standards, McCormack enlisted the help of Cremorne based tech startup 1Breadcrumb and its mobile and web app of the same name to automate safety and compliance administration tasks and workflows.

It quickly became an essential tool of the trade, enabling McCormack to instantly connect with everyone across all their building sites, shifting safety and compliance-related paperwork to the digital platform.

According to Gerlach, the transition to digital completely revolutionised the way the business operated, allowing them to maintain their productive hours while also keeping on top of the additional layers of safety requirements and administration.

“It’s been an amazing transformation for us, not just for management, but for the site managers and also our clients.”

The additional benefit of being able to share digital access with their clients who can also log onto the platform to view the live data had a huge impact, particularly as it resulted in their clients being reassured that all layers of procedures were being followed.

The app, once downloaded onto a mobile phone, essentially replaces safety and compliance-related paperwork and administration that workers and visitors to construction sites are required to complete.

Simon Elliott, CEO of 1Breadcrumb explains that while the app was initially developed to put safety management literally into the hands of the construction site workers and contractors at the beginning of the pandemic, it quickly led to the replacement of other paper-based processes such as inductions and safe work method statements.

“The app’s easy integration has allowed construction businesses, big and small, to effectively ‘switch on safety’ solely through use of the app. It allows them to spend less time on processes and more time safely on the tools.”

The ease of use also applies to the app’s ability to integrate with other digitised project management platforms mostly used by larger construction firms.

“It’s designed to capture critical data and businesses can also link it with their other compatible project management tools, to ensure streamlined and coordinated record keeping and information management across all aspects of their business.”

The benefits are being felt by more than 80 construction businesses Australia-wide who have signed up to the app in the last 18 months. International customers are also coming on board from the UK, Europe and elsewhere.

The product’s ingenuity hasn’t gone unnoticed within the broader innovation industry either, with 1Breadcrumb sweeping up at the national iAwards in 2021 winning both the Business and Industry Solution of the Year and the Victorian Government Inspiration Award as well as merit award for Startup of the Year.

“We feel our success gives us the ability to celebrate how Australia is leading in construction tech globally,” says Elliott.

“Victoria is the home of the world’s first construction tech Unicorn, Aconex. It has left a legacy of tech-savvy construction companies and talent.

“It gives start-ups in Australia the unfair advantage we need to take on the world.”

Find out more on the 1Breadcrumb website.