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News » UK » Costain engineer hogs all the top spots in international app contest » published 6 Feb 2015

Costain engineer hogs all the top spots in international app contest

A young Costain engineer has scored a remarkable coup by claiming all the top three places and five of the top 10 in an international competition to find the best idea for construction-related apps.

Andrew Irwin Above: Andrew Irwin

Andrew Irwin works for the Costain Skanska joint venture (CSJV) project on London’s Crossrail project.

He submitted six ideas to the Construction App Challenge, a competition organised as one of the final events under the MobiCloud project. MobiCloud is a European Union-funded scheme to develop a European ‘corporate appstore’ as part of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, in collaboration with Appear (Sweden), EsperantoXL (Netherlands), Nettropolis (Germany) and COMIT Projects (UK).

Out of 47 entries submitted worldwide, his ideas came first, second, third, fifth and eight.

Andrew Irwin works as a section engineer on the Crossrail C360 contract – Eleanor Street and Mile End Park Tunnels & Shafts. “My frontline role enables me to continually identify real site problems or areas for improvement,” he said. “The Challenge provided me with the opportunity to submit my innovative ideas to develop solutions to these problems. My ideas looked to enhance and improve the effectiveness and safety of working on major civil engineering projects in the industry and within the Costain business.”

He joined a live webinar in which the top 10 app ideas were announced, with the expert panel having judged the 47 worldwide entries.

“When one of my ideas was announced as coming in at number eight I thought ‘Brilliant, I’m in the top 10!’ I was then delighted on hearing that another of my ideas had achieved 5th place.” The judges then announced that the top three places were also Andrew’s ideas, to which he admitted being both astonished and proud.

His winning idea is an app designed to improve the management of machinery and powered tools, “currently a paper-based system, taking a lot of engineers’ and foremen’s time,” he says.

The idea uses electronic identification tags attached to equipment and scanned using a smart device equipped with his app. The app displays and records vital information including maintenance certificates, to manage requirements under LOLER and PUWER regulations and health and safety information such as the safe period of use for vibrating hand tools.

For his winning entry, Mr Irwin will attend the MobiCloud consortium meeting in London to receive a €1000 prize and will now have the opportunity to see his app realised, taking the project forward with developers.

One of the judges was Costain senior civil engineer Katie Swanick, who is MobiCloud project lead at Costain, but she said that all the entries were examined on an anonymous basis, so judges did not know whose entries they were scrutinising.





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This article was published on 6 Feb 2015 (last updated on 6 Feb 2015).

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