How to Pick a Construction Camera

By Chandler McCormack

Construction Camera2009 will be a highly competitive year for the construction industry as companies compete for a reduced number of projects. The struggling economy has resulted in tighter budgets and delayed spending on many projects, which is leading to increased competition during the construction bid process. For owners who want a higher level of transparency and efficiency, and for contractors who want to differentiate themselves from the competition, the implementation of wireless construction cameras creates an immediate and effective means to meet these needs.

Construction owners utilize construction cameras to provide documentation of project progression. A great tool to give stakeholders peace of mind as well as to better communicate the project status with the entire project team. Below are some general benefits to owners:

– Document the construction project’s progression

– Impressive relationship tool for investors, banks and other funding sources

– Increase efficiencies (improved documentation, communication with project team, reduction of travel time, enforce accountability, obtain image assets for marketing collateral)

The benefits of a construction camera are not limited exclusively to owners of construction projects. General contractors responsible for the day to day operations and progress of the jobsite can also benefit from installing construction cameras. Below are some benefits for contractors:

– Improve scheduling of construction jobsite visits

– Reduction in site visits

– Accountability (Who’s working? How many? What time did they arrive – leave? Is the jobsite clean?)

– Project management improvements translates into more margin per project and protect the margin by avoiding costly delays

Construction Cameras are not equal:

It is important to remember that not all construction cameras are equal. There are a wide variety of variables you need to consider when selecting a construction camera. When selecting construction camera options make sure you are being conscious of the following:

1. Ease of camera setup

2. Reliability

3. Quality of the image

4. Method of data transfer

5. Analysis and Reporting

Ease of Camera Setup:

Too often overlooked is the ease that the camera can be setup. Ask yourself, who will be setting up this camera? Complications in the camera systems can vary greatly from company to company. When possible, look for a company that has a turnkey solution.

Reliability:

The overall package depends on the reliability of the service. There are many factors that can make a camera reliable, which means it is important you try to determine if there is a weak link in the camera company’s solution. Will the photos be captured and archived consistently? Do you have to perform regular maintenance to the camera? Is there a lifetime warranty, so you can invest once and then reuse on other projects. If the weather is not cooperating, will the image quality be sufficient?

Quality of the Image:

A construction webcam, for many is vastly different to what the average consumer thinks of when he hears the word “webcam.” Some of today’s construction webcams are capable of high resolution images. The better the quality image, the more decision making information you will be able to obtain.

Method of Data Transfer:

Jobsites can be scattered in unusual places. Accessibility to transferring the images can create challenges at times. Advances in cellular technology have allowed high resolution images to beGood Camera for Job site transferred through mobile signals. You’ll want to make sure your webcam is reliable and able to transfer images without service interruption.

Analysis and Reporting:

Having a dashboard to manage and monitor the progress of the jobsite is essential. Look for reporting tools such as time elapsed comparisons and communication methods that can inform the project team of progress. For larger projects with multiple cameras you’ll want to ensure your dashboard can facilitate monitoring of additional cameras.

Next Steps: Finding a Wireless Construction Camera Vendor:

Each construction project has its own set of specifications and jobsite requirements that need to be adhered to. Whether you are a construction owner, or contractor, utilizing a wireless construction camera is a sound investment for the construction project. After several years of widespread implementations on jobsites, numerous owners and contractors across the country have obtained first hand experience on the benefits of having a construction camera program for project management. What used to be considered a luxury for some is quickly becoming a requirement to effectively compete just like Smart Phones a few years ago. Can you imagine a project owner or general contractor trying to efficiently and effectively communicate to the entire project stakeholders to ensure success? Incorporating construction cameras into the jobsite is a great way to create an environment of proactive project management and accountability. Contractors looking for an added edge in 2009 have another tool at their disposal to help differentiate them from the pack.

Chandler McCormack is expert in the construction camera industry. His company, OxBlue, is a leader in live construction cameras, and construction webcams.

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