Beacon News

Camera Systems Improve Construction Project Management and Accountability

August 2014

Cutting risk and streamlining processes are goals for every construction project manager. Construction site cameras and remote monitoring systems (RMS) can be incredibly useful for achieving these goals, especially when paired with software that eases access to stored images or footage.

At Beacon Consulting Group, Inc., we have experience using site cameras and RMS for both project management and forensic analysis purposes, allowing us to monitor projects and forensically evaluate project issues.

Very basic site cameras/monitoring systems have been available for many years. These include traditional security cameras, similar to those used in retail and office building environments, and construction progress cameras. There are also many service providers offering remote-monitoring solutions, geared for security, loss prevention and improved site management.

Even basic solutions, which capture and time stamp still images periodically, can be extremely useful for forensic review of payment bond claims or site issues. Although they may lack the features and benefits of a full remote monitoring system, they can be great for tracking what happened when at a site. Using a full-featured RMS can make monitoring and controlling a project easier as managers are continuously updated and in the loop about what is happening on-site.

At Beacon Consulting Group, we have experience using site cameras and RMS for both project management and forensic analysis purposes, allowing us to pinpoint issues at a troubled site and/or provide a job-specific solution.

Construction progress cameras which capture still images and time stamp them for later review have many benefits, including:

  • Confirming when specific equipment, materials and personnel were on site (useful for verifying contractor, subcontractor and supplier payment bond claims)
  • Checking to see how much time was required to complete specific project tasks
  • Determining if key milestones in the project timeline matched contractual terms
  • Helping to identify work that was done out of sequence or improperly
  • Assisting with root cause analysis
  • Adding a level of accountability, security and awareness (e.g. on-site personnel and subcontractors are aware that a visual record of site activity is being kept)

There are now many different camera systems and remote monitoring solutions available for construction project management. Many service providers have emerged to fill the need for more sophisticated systems, which can include many cameras (interior and exterior), software for data management, real-time web feeds, video archiving, remote camera control, 2-way communications, and web-based access to images and footage captured.

The right system or vendor to use depends on the project size, client needs, available budget and goals. Thanks to lower-cost web-based cameras and data storage, wireless technology, and increased competition in the RMS market, these systems have become more affordable and prevalent. However, construction project management teams, forensic engineers and surety professionals must receive appropriate training to understand and effectively use these solutions and the valuable information they can provide.