There a number of "teams" and "players" involved in any construction project and keeping all of these people involved is a challenging task. As a contractor, the main responsibility is to build a certain structure in a defined amount of time for a specific amount of money.
This responsibility quickly turns difficult when a question, discrepancy or other problem arises during the project and other team members need to be brought to the site. The problem is, the architect, owner or whoever else is part of the project, doesn't have a trailer next to the general contractor at the site. They are most likely in separate parts of the country.
This is when minor speed bumps turn into major hurdles for the contractor since collaboration with the required parties can take significant time and money to accomplish. To address this potentially inefficient part of the construction process, contractors have begun to implement jobsite cameras that allow users to visually stay up-to-date on the progress of a job and multiple parties can make decisions without having to physically visit the site.
"At no time in history has anyone been able to visit the project without actually standing at the jobsite - being physically there," says Tom Allen, Founder and CEO of iBEAM Systems. "Now everyone is able to check the progress of the project and make decisions on what's there and how to proceed with the work."
Chandler McCormack, CEO and Co-Founder of OxBlue Construction Webcams adds that "If a structural engineer has to check on the steel, he can see when he has to be out at the jobsite. He will know when the steel is actually up and won't come out before it has been erected or after it has been covered up."
Benefits of Jobsite Cameras
The advantages of utilizing a jobsite camera are generally understood by the construction industry. Until recently the technology had not reached a point that could offer a useable solution. "Imaging and cellular technologies have reached a critical milestone, construction cameras have changed from a cool gadget into a powerful management tool for contractors," says McCormack. "It's allowing everyone involved in the project to stay in sync and that's allowing companies to improve the way they do business."
One of the main technological advancements has been a significant increase in image resolution. Many typical web cameras only are able to produce a resolution adequate for monitoring a point of entry such as a door. But if you want to use a camera as a tool to aid in the management of a project, you need a camera that is able to capture images at a much higher resolution to accurately see the entire project. "Some construction cameras are now able to capture images 40 times higher in resolution than previous technology," says McCormack. "Users went from being able to see the blurry shape of building to being able to account for specific inventory, jobsite progress and weather conditions- a valuable tool on the job."
Because images captured by the camera can be accessed at any time, by any person, the contractor is changing the way he does business around these solutions. McCormack cites examples such as faster pay requests, better coordination on site visits and improved awareness between all team members. Also, the practice of a person going to each project site, taking pictures and e-mailing out to all involved parties is eliminated. Images from the camera are available to everyone at a single access point in real-time. "Companies that have implemented construction camera programs are able to have weekly updates with all team members, regardless of location. Over a conference call each person is able to look at the status of the project being discussed as well as review specific issues and the progress made," says McCormack. "Everybody sees what it is, knows the status of the project up to the minute and understands it in a way that wasn't possible with earlier construction camera systems."