A good construction manager is always trying to improve on one thing, project after project: job site security. Construction site cameras can be a key to achieving this goal. Construction theft and vandalism is one of the biggest problems facing the construction industry today. The growing problem is already costing the United States more than $1 billion a year, according to the National Association of Home Builders and the National Equipment Register. With beautiful stones, expensive equipment and precious metals, thieves will sometimes cause more damage than it’s worth just to get the goods.
Construction managers and their teams can use today’s technology to combat vandalism and theft. But construction site cameras can provide many more benefits that directly affect the team at the site. Not only can they increase cross-team collaboration on a construction project, but they can also create more efficiencies for a construction manager than ever before. Choosing the best technology for your site, especially when it comes to cameras and video surveillance, is a choice that can make or break the success of your project.
Before you purchase construction site cameras
Before investing in anything for a construction project, it’s smart to write down your wants and needs. For example, are you a construction manager that works on large projects in highly-populated areas? If so, perhaps theft and vandalism may be a top priority for the camera(s) you purchase, and how you install and use them is an important step in achieving your goals.
However, maybe you tend to manage multiple projects at once and need eyes on all projects at all times. It could be that part of your project plan to is record milestones, and a camera is used for photographic evidence. Maybe your needs are all of these — and that’s okay! Knowing your goals for having a camera will make decisions about the camera you need easier down the road.
Here are three questions to consider when assessing cameras for your site.
Will it provide adequate coverage of your site?
Using construction site cameras isn’t worth much if it’s not showing you and your team the images you need to make decisions and monitor the activity at the site. Sometimes, adequate coverage is more about the volume of ‘eyes’ on the project. For example, a smaller construction site may only need one camera — depending on your needs, it could be adequate enough. However, the bigger the site, the more cameras you may need to get the entire site covered.
You should also consider whether you need to be able to see live coverage of your site, or if a delay is sufficient for you. Constructor Magazine suggests the camera should at least take and transmit images every 15 minutes. As a construction manager, it’s up to you to decide if that’s sufficient enough for your needs. A couple ways to figure that out would be to ask yourself: who needs to see these images? Can we make the decisions we need to with that kind of delay? These questions will put you on a path to deciding which camera is right for you.
Another question to ask is who will be responsible for watching the cameras or responding to the alerts they send? Is that person going to be expected to respond to alerts throughout the night and on weekends? If you’re going to invest in cameras for a construction site you should get the benefit of being able to stop criminals and trespassers in their tracks.
Does it have the features you need to effectively run your site?
Today, technology like cameras, cell phones and smartwatches are popular for both personal and professional use. Consumers have a wide array of options depending on their use case.
It could be daunting to face the market of available cameras that you could possibly purchase to use at your site. This is why it’s important to go back to your goals list, and depending on what job the camera is doing, you’ll need to consider which features are most important to you. You may want 24/7 live video, or an accessible backup copy of all images taken or video recorded. You may decide that your camera needs to have the ability to record sound or have features like smart search. Knowing what your camera is capable of is important to understand.
One feature that may be a non-negotiable for you is the ability to watch the feed or get the images straight to your smartphone or tablet. Depending on the size of your team and how many projects you tend to manage at once, having this photographic information at your fingertips may increase your productivity and efficiency overall, not just improvements limited to the job site.
What is the maintenance and upkeep of your chosen system?
Unless you’re signing up to the be IT person as well as a construction manager, you’ll want to understand how to upkeep any equipment crucial to your job before purchasing. Luckily, a lot of cameras marketed for construction site use, like SMART Security Pros, feature turn-key solutions that don’t require a tech expert to use and understand. If you aren’t going to be responsible for maintaining the equipment, bring in the team member who is to help make these important decisions. No matter what kind of camera you choose, the maintenance and upkeep of your purchase is just as important as the purchase itself.
Construction site cameras can be helpful to construction managers in many ways. Internally, a system to constantly monitor and share activity at the site can be crucial for making important decisions, whether on or off the site. Externally, cameras can turn off any criminal activity or vandalism and protect your site from intruders — or, at least, these cameras will make it easy to catch any unwanted activity. No matter what your goals are for having a camera at your site, writing them down and getting the team on-board to use the equipment can make your construction projects more efficient and successful than ever.