In addition to allowing easy access to everyone involved on the project, cloud systems offer other benefits.
• When the project info is uploaded to one accessible location, all parties maintain current information without duplicative, overlapping communication.
• Physical work can be documented using the power of the built-in video player and photo viewer. This validates changes in the work, failed designs, and protects against future liability.
• Payment processing can be streamlined by lenders and clients to contractors by giving them ability to view the job in real time.
• At the completion of the project the contractor’s administrator can download all of the job data into compressed (zip) files to retain for future use.
“To be as close to the project as a cell phone video or photo can be, to quickly gather information to help make critical decisions and to keep the project moving forward — these are the benefits of using a cloud system,” says Tucker. “All along the process the project is vulnerable to poor communication which includes versions of documents as well as loss of time, which of course means less efficiency and increased costs.”
A contractor’s point of view
Cary Gandrup, president of Associated Construction Inc., based in Watsonville, CA, has been using ProjectFootage.com for several months as a beta partner. The company is a general engineering construction firm with 22 years of experience and performs grading, paving and pipeline work in both commercial and residential sectors.
Gandrup feels cloud-based systems are a great solution for the construction industry. “This product is efficient and saves time,” he says. “It connects the field with the office which helps get pertinent info relayed to all parties efficiently and quickly with better documentation of the project.
“I was at a point where I was tired of defending our company on issues in which I had project pictures somewhere to support the case, but no way to share them efficiently,” he adds.
Gandup says ProjectFootage.com helps them save not only on time, but keeps them on track with the budget of each project. It can also help contractors in the case of a lawsuit.
“The office can see the field updates, which helps keep things like budgets on track,” he notes. “This system places all project data in one place which eliminates duplicative emails. Project documents can be categorized for easy viewing, and all project info can be saved to zip files or a disc once the project is completed. This is a huge advantage for protection against lawsuits.”
Gandrup feels the construction industry is behind the curve on this technology.
“I think if the industry eventually accepted this product, project flow would become better,” he says. “Think about it, with geo-tagged photos and video updates, does a lender even need to visit the project for inspection and approval of monthly progress payments? If an inspector does not show up, and you have product on the way, there shouldn’t be an issue if the inspector can easily see the before and after shots.”
ProjectFootage.com is an evolving product. Currently, the company is working on mobile apps. Gandrup notes they have a mobile version that works great on an iPad. The mobile apps will allow for easy uploading of data from any mobile device.
“The application and use of video within construction will be extremely useful over time,” says Gandrup. “ProjectFootage.com is developing a pilot program currently with some municipalities now using it. I like the idea of one place to retrieve project info and updates. Often times in construction, subs are scheduled to perform a task when the project is NOT ready. If you can view the project visually from your office then you can see whether the project is truly ready before you mobilize.”
ProjectFootage.com has also just implemented the ability to have your “trusted associates” link to your profile, reciprocally recommending each other.