On the jobsite, time is money. And worker productivity is an essential part of completing construction on-time and on-budget.
But roadblocks to productivity occur frequently on large, busy construction sites. A report published in 2009 by the National Research Council of the National Academies found that construction lags behind other industries in terms of productivity–primarily due to problems with planning, coordination and communication.
Here are a few situations that may cause a drop in worker productivity:
- Trade stacking: Poor planning may result in multiple crews trying to complete work in a small area. Too many workers from different trades can limit contractors’ ability to use tools or equipment or access areas of the jobsite, while creating additional safety hazards.
- Material handling: Procurement problems and delivery issues can result in construction delays. If goods are damaged, additional materials may need to be ordered and delivered, delaying productivity further.
- Site access: Interference with convenient or planned job site access — obstruction due to misplaced equipment or materials, for instance — can delay progress, as workers sit idle waiting for someone to clear the way.
- Travel: If a client or project manager has to travel to a jobsite to check construction status before authorizing additional work or a next phase, this takes time. Last-minute visits leave progress as the mercy of travel time.
- Workers’ attitude: It’s human nature: If someone’s watching you work, you stay on task. Workers left unsupervised can move slower or take longer breaks, and productivity plummets. The project manager can’t be everywhere at once, and hiring enough supervisors to cover a large construction site can get pricey.
These are just some of the reasons construction cameras are gaining traction on jobsites. Carefully placed in multiple locations across a jobsite, construction cameras help to document a project’s progress, keep workers on their toes and allow remote stakeholders such as clients, investors and project managers to see the status of a project without having to travel to the jobsite.
Less Travel, More Insight
Construction cameras can now stream video in real-time to browser-based interfaces, giving project managers instant visibility into remote jobsites. Some have dashboards that enable viewers to see the jobsite from a mobile device or desktop computer, zoom in for a closer look, capture and send high-res images to other stakeholders, and retrieve images or time-lapse footage from any point in time.
With remote access to a bird’s eye view, project managers can make faster, better informed decisions about how to keep workers productive.
For example, they don’t need to travel to the jobsite to see that access to part of the site is blocked by unused materials. They can zoom in and see the problem on a phone or desktop and take immediate action to remove the obstruction. They can quickly see if workers are sitting idle waiting for materials to be delivered, and reallocate the labor to another task until the materials arrive. And, they can spot potential hazards earlier than if they were walking the jobsite, and mitigate risk that may cause delays or increase costs.
Construction cameras also help to reduce the number of visits to the jobsite required to bring a project to completion. Footage can be shared with client no matter where they are, to speed approvals and eliminate the need for travel. It can be used to justify scope changes and request for additional budget and keep the project moving forward. And if a project manager or client spots a mistake in the making, construction can be halted until the issue is sorted out, preventing unnecessary, wasted work that may have to be corrected.
You’re Being Watched
According to a known phenomenon called the Hawthorne effect, productivity increases when employees think that they are being watched or observed closely. On the jobsite, the Hawthorne effect can explain how construction cameras can inspire a higher level of effort and employee productivity.
Although it sounds a bit intrusive, monitoring jobsites with cameras is becoming necessary to keep most projects on-track. Not only is doing so good for productivity, it ensures workers are compliant with various industry regulations at all times, helping firms avoid fines and lawsuits.
Perhaps more importantly, cameras add enhance jobsite security — project managers watching sites remotely can check to be sure materials are being moved and handled properly, workers are taking appropriate security measures and wearing required safety gear, and no one is engaging in risky jobsite behavior. Preventing security breaches that can cause worker injury is essential to maintaining high levels of productivity.
Not all Construction Cameras are Alike
Most construction cameras offer the basics — time-lapse and live video, and high-resolution photo capture — but some offer features that make worker productivity easier and more effective. Look for a solution that offers point-tilt-zoom features and the ability to control the camera’s features remotely. You should be able to browse time-lapse footage by date and time, and access any footage and photos from your desktop and mobile devices through an intuitive interface.
TrueLook offers the only jobsite construction cameras with free multi-cast streaming video, turnkey setup and accessibility from any connected device. Find out more about our solutions or watch a demo.