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Mace, Terminal 5, Heathrow

A sophisticated hand-held computer system, developed by Codegate, is enabling Mace plc to manage the

supply of a widely varying range of construction products and components from a large number of suppliers, to the workforce involved in the construction of the main terminal building at BAA Heathrow’s £4.2bn Terminal 5 development.

Photograph by Tomek Baginski - Unsplash


Mace won the logistics contract for the main terminal building as Site Enabling TEAM (S.E.T.) and one of its key tasks is round-the-clock management of on-site material deliveries for the building teams. A webbased booking system, developed for BAA, allows contractors to book delivery slots for the next working day, and ensures that their material requirements are delivered, on time, to one of two logistics centres based a short distance away from the site.


Each day this web-based system exports a next-day delivery file to a directory, which is interrogated by the software developed by Codegate. The system picks up the next-day delivery file and merges it with a bar code label printing application using Zebra printers. These bar code labels, manufactured from highly

durable polyester, contain unique delivery data – zones, floors, locations – and a label is applied to the exterior of each consignment before it leaves the logistics centre. Importantly, a different coloured label is used for each day of the week.


On arrival at the construction site, consignment bar code labels are scanned by rugged Dolphin hand-held

terminals, running the application software developed for T5 by Codegate. Having been time and date stamped, the consignment is lifted to the correct floor and moved to its designated marshalling area. The marshalling area supervisor then uses an HHP terminal to scan the consignment’s bar code labels once more, and the location-identifying bar code, to record delivery times.


Each floor has its own supervisor, and throughout each shift he or she will also use a hand-held terminal to upload the data collected by the terminal at each marshalling zone. The tracking system software then uploads all this data to an office PC, which constantly updates the web-based booking system.


Suppliers can interrogate the system at any time to confirm their consignments’ locations which may not be as originally requested due to the complexity of the construction process. In such instances the goods are placed in the next nearest location, and will be recorded as being there by scanning the new location bar code. Suppliers will then be informed of the change of location by the web-based application.


The use of coloured labels serves as the first stage of identification of consignment overstays – yellow label Monday delivery should be cleared no later than Wednesday for example. The hand-held system includes functions that can scan, record and report overstays. If a request to a contractor to remove overstay material and component consignments is not acted upon, S.E.T will remove the offending goods, and the software on the hand-held terminal will record all such back-hauled or scrapped consignments.


The computer tracking system also provides Mace with location usage reports, consignment audit trails and no-shows at the logistics centres.

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