SHERPA: mobile wireless data capture for piling works

The construction of rotary bored piles uses two interdependent site processes, requiring real-time information sharing between the workforce. This is currently achieved through manual recording of data and calculations on site, which can result in errors in pile construction, delays in the construction program, and additional costs from remedial works. This article describes the Stent Handheld ElectRonic Piling Assistant (SHERPA) which utilizes workforce driven mobile computers accessing a centrally site-located database through a mobile Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). The WLAN utilizes the IEEE 802.11b protocol for wireless communications, which is becoming increasingly popular in the replacement of traditional wired networks within buildings. However, the application of such technology to construction has been restricted by its use of a wired Ethernet “backbone,” which is impractical for the construction site. This problem has been addressed through the development of Wireless Network Cells (WNCs), which provide a portable and scalable solution to the challenges of implementing mobile networks for real-time data capture in the site environment.