Trying to manage multiple construction projects in different regions and states is a challenge at any time — not to mention during a pandemic. Project managers can’t be in two places at once, and a lack of visibility can lead to problems. Security incidents, contractor no-shows, bad weather and safety protocol violations can all cause projects to go over budget and off-schedule, and without being physically present, these issues can be impossible to manage. Brixmor Property Group depends on TrueLook construction cameras to help solve these challenges, enabling full visibility across all jobsites with remote viewing and time-lapse videos. They eliminate the need for frequent travel to various jobsites — saving the firm time and money. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Luke Hazelwood, a Senior Project Manager at Brixmor, about the many benefits TrueLook cameras provide his team.
Q. What’s your role at Brixmor, and what kinds of projects do you work on?
Hazelwood: I’m responsible for managing multiple redevelopment projects in the Western region of the U.S. I coordinate and provide general oversight of all construction activities at company-owned properties throughout California, including redevelopment, tenant improvement and landlord shell construction projects. The projects range from redevelopments of entire shopping centers to preparing a single existing unit for a new tenant. One large project I’m working on currently is at Mira Mesa, where we’re tearing down and replacing three buildings.
Q. What challenges were you looking to solve when you were evaluating construction cameras?
Hazelwood: The big challenge is being in three places at once. I’ve had projects going in Northern California and San Diego at the same time. Other project managers in Texas also oversee projects in Colorado. So there’s typically a fair amount of travel involved. Knowing what’s happening at each jobsite is essential to the success of the projects, but traveling to all of them on a regular basis isn’t practical, even when we’re not in a pandemic. We needed a way to have our eyes on the projects every day, even though we can’t always physically be there on-site.
Q. How does your firm use TrueLook construction cameras?
Hazelwood: We use the PTZ construction cameras, and we control them remotely with the TrueLook app. We just fire up a computer or iPad in the morning and log in to see what’s going on. I can see everything that’s going on, on the jobsite — if you got the delivery you were expecting or if the stucco guys or painters showed up. I can also see if they don’t show up, and then I can call and find out why.
The cameras also help us identify problems on the jobsite that could cause a delay or impact our budget. And we can verify that our workers are in compliance with safety protocols. If I see someone doing something dangerous, I can send a screenshot to the supervisor so he can take immediate action to prevent accidents or injuries.
Q. What features do you like the most?
Hazelwood: I really love the time-lapses. They’re a good way to easily communicate the status of a project to executive staff and other stakeholders that are in other states. Our marketing team also uses time-lapses for investor presentations and promotional materials. Live viewing is also great because people can just log into the TrueLook app to see images, videos and time-lapses, rather than calling to request information. It saves everyone a lot of time. I also like that I can mark up the photos, add our logo to them and send them out with progress reports.
The security recordings help by creating visual documentation, which is valuable if there’s a security incident or even a problem caused by bad weather. A lot of times we’ll have a storm come through and it blows down your fences, and then you’ve got a jobsite that’s wide open. One time a fence blew down in a storm in the middle of the night. We saw it right away in TrueLook and notified the superintendent, so he could secure the site before any equipment was stolen.
Q. Do other departments at Brixmor use the cameras?
Hazelwood: We share access to the TrueLook construction cameras on a page on the internal company network. Anyone can click on a drop-down list of all the active TrueLook cameras and see what’s happening on any of the properties. It’s useful for the Property Management team, because they can go into the cameras and check on what’s happening at their properties — like did power washing of the sidewalks happen or is there trash all over the place? One time a car hit one of our buildings and they were able to look at the cameras and assess the damage. It enables them to actually see the property and understand what’s going on beyond a paper-based complaint or report.
The Specialty Leasing team also uses the cameras to see if sites are available for temporary leasing agreements. If they look and see that a bunch of lumber is stored in the parking lot, maybe it’s not the greatest time to put a recycling center or food trucks in there right now.
Q. What the best thing about using TrueLook construction cameras?
Hazelwood: The main benefit is being able to hold contractors accountable. The time-lapses provide a visual record that shows where your project stood day by day. You can go back through at the end of the project in case there are disputes over payments. For instance, I just had a contractor who was wanting more money because the schedule had dragged out a lot longer than he had originally budgeted for. Some of the delays were caused by the process of getting permits, but part of it was on their end. I was able to look back at the individual time-lapse images and see where the project stood on a particular day, and whether the work they said would be done by then was completed or not.
I have the cameras capturing images every 10-15 minutes, so you can see what days contractors were on the site, and what days they weren’t. Did we have only two painters when we were promised six? Were the crews an hour late or did they leave early on a regular basis? There’s no second guessing anything — it’s all there on the cameras. TrueLook PTZ cameras provide complete visibility into the goings-on at the jobsite, helping us to ensure crews are productive and projects are progressing on-schedule.
This interview has been edited and abridged. To learn more about how Brixmor is using TrueLook through Procore’s Embedded Experience to increase jobsite visibility, productivity and collaboration, view the full case study.