Construction firms have more overhead than businesses in most other industries. According to the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the average pre-tax net profit for general contractors is just 1.4 to 2.4 percent, and just 2.2 to 3.5 percent for subcontractors. To increase margins, reducing overhead is critical.
Although some costs are impossible to control — for example, materials, equipment and labor — others can be reduced or eliminated by implementing the right jobsite technologies. Construction cameras are one jobsite tech solution that offer cost-savings and added value, and help to reduce the impact of numerous cost centers.
Here are four key ways construction cameras help save money:
1. Enables Cost-Effective Jobsite Surveillance
With jobsite theft on the rise, 24/7 surveillance is an essential security measure for construction firms. TrueLook’s Jobsite Security Survey found that 78% of respondents have had items stolen from a jobsite, mainly tools and materials. Larger items can also be the target for opportunistic thieves, costing firms thousands and impacting schedules and completion dates.
But round-the-clock surveillance can be a significant cost center for firms, depending on the approach. Paying security guards to man the jobsite can cost up to $30 per hour, and on large jobsites, you may need several guards to protect the whole site. With many projects spanning six months or more, this can get extremely costly. Simply installing fencing is expensive and often ineffective: at just 6-8 feet tall, may not be enough to deter jobsite criminals.
By contrast, construction cameras provide 24×7 surveillance, without human intervention. Advanced systems produce high-definition video footage — 720p or better — for complete visual evidence of everything that happens on your jobsite. Many offer intelligent security features such as customizable motion alerts, which you can set up to trigger an email or text if there’s any after-hours activity onsite. You can even manipulate the cameras remotely to change the viewing angle, if needed, and access footage for investigations and reviews via your web browser.
2. Prevents Multiple Types of Theft
Not only can construction cameras deter after-hours theft, but they are very effective at eliminating insider theft, as well. Specifically, cameras can be mounted at entryways to track when workers arrive and leave for the day, catching “buddy punchers” in the act. Additionally, workers will be greatly discouraged from stealing supplies, tools or materials when they know cameras are watching their every move. In one study, the mere presence of construction cameras reduced the incident of theft. According to a group of convicted criminals surveyed, 58% said they would choose another target if they saw a camera or surveillance system, and 50% said they’d abandon the attempt if they noticed a camera while committing theft.
3. Simplifies & Supports Compliance
Photos and footage offer proof of compliance in case of an audit and help to eliminate time-consuming manual processes and documentation. Advanced camera systems automatically transfer video and photos to cloud-based storage for safekeeping, which makes providing evidence for audits and investigations quick and easy. Organizational features such as timestamping further reduce the time it takes to locate proof of compliance during audits.
Having visual documentation ready for compliance audits reduces the chance of incurring fines. Additionally, installing cameras on the jobsite reduces the risk of non-compliance, as workers will be more cognizant of complying with rules and regulations if they know they’re being watched.
4. Reduces Unnecessary Travel
Travel can get costly and time-consuming for construction firms. Whether it’s a project manager driving between jobsites throughout the day, or a stakeholder flying in from another state every month to see how a project’s progressing, flights, hotels, gas, mileage and lost time in transit add up and can impact budgets.
With photos and video footage from construction cameras, project managers can easily share updates via text or email, providing high-definition visuals of progress from every angle of the jobsite. Advanced systems offer useful features like photo markup and commenting, to assist with project collaboration and accelerate decision making, even when the decision makers aren’t physically at the site. Project managers can keep an eye on the construction process remotely, and rapidly address any issues or potential scheduling mishaps, saving time and helping to keep projects on track.
5. Increased Efficiency = Cost Savings
In addition to cutting hard costs, construction cameras offer efficiencies, improving communication throughout a project’s lifecycle, simplifying documentation and helping to streamline scheduling and logistics. These efficiencies add up to tremendous cost savings, as they help reduce spend and keep projects on-track. In this way, construction cameras offer significant ROI.