Building the future

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A construction management app ‘Civilines’ which is a cross platform to organise and manage construction projects has been developed by two Canacona-based youngsters. The duo gives more details to NT KURIOCITY

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY

The idea of ‘Civilines’ came to civil engineer Nikhil Coutinho during the lockdown period when he says it was very difficult for people to travel to construction sites.

“As an engineer it was a troublesome task to manage data in terms of photos, documents, etc, related to the project. Most small and medium enterprises in the construction industry, work by making groups on communication apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. But with construction being a long process, the communication apps take a lot of storage data on your device and then you have to delete some of the data to free up space,” he says.

Thus, he says, there was an urgent need to come up with a cloud-based system for management of construction projects to eliminate loss of data specially and improve site and office communication for small and medium size enterprises.

This is how Civilines came to be founded by Coutinho and Mexson Fernandes.

“Nikhil came up with the idea as he was well aware of the struggles faced by the construction industry especially the small and medium enterprises. And I bootstrapped the app from idea to MVP (minimum viable product) level and also ensured that development meets the financial constraint,” says Fernandes, who currently leads the development team.

Civilines is a construction management app which simplifies work of small and medium enterprises which still work in the traditional manner of pen and paper and stockpiles of documents with basic management tools.  It can be used on mobiles for contractors/site supervisors who are onsite and on desktop for the project coordinator sitting in the office. All the updates are done by the site-supervisors on site and the architect/project engineer can view these throughout the project lifecycle. “It’s a progressive web application which works on different platforms having minimal installation size along with native app features like push notifications and a cloud based service which syncs data between all devices. There is a consistent UI so you don’t have to worry about different device size and can login with your ID and password from any devices be it a desktop or mobile device,” says Coutinho.

The key features include a single platform for employee and onsite management, ease of understanding because of simple user interface, and no special training required for using the systems. Data once entered cannot be deleted after 24 hours and is freezed, so there is no question of manipulating or tampering the data and sections based on experience of construction management.

The main goal of their product says Coutinho is to tackle and make use of technology to solve the real problems faced in the construction industry which has been less tech-focused.

Coutinho who has a couple of years of working experience in the construction industry in Goa and Mumbai, is currently in his final year of PG from NICMAR Goa (National institute of construction management and research) and is also involved in research activities in construction management. Fernandes meanwhile is a full stack developer. A 2019 computer science and engineering graduate from Kurukshetra University, he started an entrepreneurial journey right after college. He loves bootstrapping applications and constantly learning about different fields where technology can be used to augment human life. The duo got together in October 2020. Development of the app started in December and took 45 days for the first MVP which was ready in mid-January 2021.

Fernandes states that since they are in the pilot stage of their app they have been using the management system with firms who are interested in using technology to meet their daily workload expectations. “It’s been a wonderful learning experience as these firms are constantly feeding us with innovative ideas which bring value addition to our product,” he says adding that if one is interested in joining the pilot project he/she can contact them. The duo is now focusing on adding more features to the app.