Safe Installation of Technical Systems
At a Glance:
British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA), located in the province of British Columbia, Canada
- Approximately 4.4 million
- To oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment throughout the province of British Columbia. BCSA delivers safety services across the following technologies in the province: electrical, boiler and pressure vessels, gas, elevating devices, railways, passenger ropeways, and amusement rides.
- Tyler Technologies’ EnerGov™ Product Suite
- Eliminated manual tasks and increased productivity, even in remote locations with no connectivity
- Increased mobility of inspectors and safety officers with the EnerGov iPad® app
- Improved flexibility allowed BCSA to personalize apps specifically for their clients
British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA), located in Canada, has a vast and unique set of responsibilities to the province they serve. To put it simply, BCSA oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment throughout their province. In addition to issuing permits, licenses, and certificates, BCSA works with industries to reduce safety risks through assessment, enforcement, research, education, and outreach.
The diverse geography of the province of British Columbia is one of the business challenges faced by the BCSA; the western-most Canadian province is covered in part by two major mountain ranges — the Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains. Along with the heavy snowfall that characterizes the interior region, BCSA safety officers often find themselves in remote locations with little to no connectivity — sometimes for days at a time.
How does an entity with so many different responsibilities and obstacles continue to meet their goals while operating more efficiently and effectively? BCSA does that and more by leveraging their software to improve communication, integrate departments, minimize errors, and automate workflow. Specifically, they receive the powerful functionality and flexibility they need by using Tyler Technologies’ EnerGov® civic services software.
“Flexibility is critical. We have some aspects to our business that make us somewhat unique among other agencies,” said Frank Russell, director of knowledge-based business technology for BCSA. “But EnerGov gives us the ability to leverage their software in the way that we need it. The extensibility allows us to be more responsive to our clients.”
Flexible Software Provides Powerful Solutions to Unique Problems
An entity like BCSA has the unique challenge of focusing many businesses, contractors, and agencies on the ultimate goal of utilizing and maintaining safe technical systems. However, there are so many departments and companies to work with, it can be incredibly difficult to find an application that works for everyone. That’s where the powerful flexibility of EnerGov’s software has enabled BCSA to personalize the software solution that’s perfect for them and their clients.
Russell explained that specification is vital since BCSA has such a broad base of users. Some are self-employed independent contractors that request only one inspection per day, but they also have larger users that sometimes request more than 100 permits a day. These companies deal with staff contractors and project managers every day. They also work with companies in the oil and gas industry which have hundreds of pressure boilers that need installation and operating permits. With so many different constituents, using one interface for all is virtually impossible. In this case, a one-size-fits-all approach just isn’t logical. Fortunately, BCSA has the ability to utilize EnerGov’s application programming interfaces (APIs). This enables the extension of unique functionality specific to BCSA’s processes out to their users.
A key benefit of working with EnerGov is the ability to develop custom apps and interfaces by leveraging their open EnerGov platform APIs.
Director of knowledge-based business technology for BCSA
“A key benefit of working with EnerGov is the ability to develop custom apps and interfaces by leveraging their open EnerGov platform APIs,” Russell said. “We were able to develop an iPad app that allows our safety officers to be productive in the field even without network coverage. We are beginning development of a mobile portal that will allow contractors to pull a permit or request an inspection from their smartphone. For our large clients who have specialized needs, we can build functionality that will allow them to conduct their high-volume transactions more efficiently.”
The ability to customize EnerGov to meet client needs has given BCSA a leg up on seamlessly integrating with all of their clients, large and small. It allows them to uniquely tailor the solution rather than employ a one-size-fits-all approach.
Russell goes on to say, “It is important to us that our clients’ interactions with us be as smooth and efficient as possible. EnerGov is very configurable, which is an important benefit for us. When our needs extend beyond what commercial off-the-shelf functionality can deliver is when the APIs are critical. It reinforces the strength of the EnerGov platform.”
BCSA, located near the city of Vancouver, works to reduce safety risks through assessment, enforcement, research, education and outreach.
iPad App Provides Support for Connectivity Issues
One aspect of their business that BCSA wanted to focus on was enabling their safety officers and inspectors to be more productive in the field. This meant giving them the tools and information they needed not only when they were outside of the office, but also when they were on-site and away from their vehicle.
“British Columbia is a large province dominated by mountain ranges across much of its territory,” Russell said. “Many of our clients, particularly in the oil and gas industry, have installations in remote locations. There are several situations where our safety officers can be in regions where they have poor or no cell coverage for days at a time. Our challenge was to keep them productive even when they had no connectivity.”
Before EnerGov, BCSA safety officers would have to record and save information on their laptops and make sure that all data was transferred over manually once they were in a place where they could connect to their network. But, the safety officers were restricted by the laptops’ lack of mobility. These laptops weren’t designed to be taken out into the field and instead had to be left in vehicles. BCSA decided to turn to the user-friendly functionality of the iPad to take advantage of EnerGov’s powerful flexibility.
The need to address extended periods with no network access, coupled with very unique field inspection processes, presented a unique challenge that led to the development of a custom iPad app that fully integrates with the EnerGov system. Safety offices can now take their iPads on-site with them where they can record inspections, take and attach photos, and have full access to information about permits, inspections, and contacts. Synchronization with EnerGov’s central database occurs once they can connect to the network. This feature means data is entered only once in the field.
EnerGov’s configurability and extensibility is the real story. It enabled us to develop a solution that has so far been a huge success with our safety officers. Productivity measures have shown significant gains since it was rolled out.
Director of knowledge-based business technology for BCSA
“EnerGov’s configurability and extensibility is the real story,” Russell said. “It enabled us to develop a solution that has so far been a huge success with our safety officers. Productivity measures have shown significant gains since it was rolled out.”
Additional Software Personalization for BCSA
While BCSA has successfully leveraged their software to help reach the goals they set for themselves with the new system, they also have plans to continue working with EnerGov to implement more personalized solutions in the future.
“We’ve realized many of the benefits that we were anticipating when we began working with EnerGov,” Russell said. “As a platform, EnerGov offers many advantages. With our previous system, even minor changes could only be done by the vendor and, as a result, they were extremely expensive and would often takes months to implement. With EnerGov, we can configure or develop most changes and enhancements ourselves.”
“To take advantage of the features in the APIs, we plan to build additional utilities, including a resource allocation program which assigns inspections based on complex risk algorithms,” Russell said. “It’s exciting because there’s a lot more we can do with EnerGov.”