Full Compliance, Zero Compromise: Southbase’s Integrated Approach to Flawless Safety Tracking

With a reputation for being efficient and effective, Southbase Construction has transformed the New Zealand skyline over the past decade, procuring major construction contracts and delivering world-class outcomes for clients.

As Southbase took on an increasing number of projects in sensitive locations like hospitals and data centers, onsite safety was top of mind for Lem Prestage, National IT Manager at Southbase, who maps IT strategy for the group. Together with his team, Lem sought to deliver secure, efficient, and user-friendly experiences to end users, such as their contractors. Solutions needed to be simple but integrated.

Today, Southbase leads the way in onsite safety by adopting an integration-led automation methodology to ensure complete compliance, using Workato. Let’s first look into the challenges that led Lem and his team to reimagine safety in construction.

Manually Navigating the Integration Maze

With over 30 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications across their technology stack and no middleware solutions to integrate them, Southbase Construction relied solely on existing native integrations between disparate systems to manage the flow of onsite safety data. However, SaaS vendors offering construction-specific solutions had no economical means to build and offer robust integrations. Doing so would require expensive ongoing fees to intermediaries who have cornered the market. 

This meant that even with best-of-breed tools, Southbase could not get an accurate picture of who and how many people were onsite. There was a disconnect between how access control was being managed by their on-premise facial recognition system and how safety compliance was being ensured by SignOnSite, a comprehensive SaaS tool for worker visibility. Although Southbase relied on SignOnSite’s capabilities to further onsite safety, the tool was not yet able to bridge to the access control process.  Some users skipped signing in or resisted doing so, and geolocation alone could not provide an accurate picture.

This had several downstream implications. For one, Lem’s team had to consolidate data from two systems to reconcile inconsistencies manually. Southbase’s Health and Safety team also needed to manually correlate data to gauge Southbase’s safety performance regularly. More importantly, without an accurate picture of the people who were on site, they might not account for everyone in the event of an evacuation. 

Given the complexity of highly time-sensitive construction projects, the Southbase IT team was mindful that introducing any change would be a very challenging process. They needed a seamless way to remove the effort involved in capturing and processing this data, for everyone going to the site.

Integrated Access Control For Onsite Safety

Lem and his team partnered with Project BXM to integrate Southbase’s end-to-end access control process in the most user-centric way possible. Workato’s low-code platform was chosen for the job because it offered a simple yet secure way to unify integration and automation. 

Armed with Workato, Southbase’s IT team collaborated closely with Southbase’s Health and Safety team and management team to reimagine the flow of access control data to their safety system that relied on SignOnSite. Together, they aligned on integrating SignOnSite with their on-premise facial recognition system to get an accurate picture of workers on site. This required building a custom connection to SignOnSite, which initially only offered legacy ways of connecting. Workato achieved this and more.

The end-to-end solution, built in 6 weeks, now ensures that users do not even have to think about manually signing in to SignOnSite because Workato securely and automatically integrates their data in the backend when they enter the site.

“We’re very happy with Workato – it’s such an easy platform to use. WIth Project BXM, we built in 6 weeks what could have taken 6 months.” 

-Lem Prestage, National IT Manager – Southbase Construction

Unprecedented Accuracy and Efficiency

Here’s what Southbase achieved with Workato:

  • 100% accurate tracking of people onsite allows Southbase to ensure safety, improve ratings and win projects.  
  • Real-time visibility into access control data allows accurate forecasting for future projects. 
  • Improved employee experience by eliminating manual effort involved in reconciling data. 
  • Improved user experience by removing the effort involved in entering a site.

“Workato will end up being our central system for integration moving forward. It has reduced our spend on several other platforms and given us the flexibility to compose experiences we want to deliver.” 

-Lem Prestage, National IT Manager – Southbase Construction

The teams at Southbase are not the only ones celebrating this success. Alexandria Garlan, SignOnSite’s CEO, calls out Southbase’s use of integrated technologies as “one of the first in an emerging frontier for on-site safety” and welcomes this opportunity “to make safety as easy as possible”.

Pioneering the Future of Construction

Encouraged by their initial success with Workato, Southbase is now automating and integrating their onboarding and offboarding workflows. Lem’s vision extends to using Workato to bolster cybersecurity, enhance data analytics, and streamline finance operations. With plans to explore Workato’s AI capabilities for document analysis and voice AI tools for transcript generation, Southbase is poised to redefine the construction industry’s future.