Written by Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM
It has been always said “a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words”, so how many words is it worth when real-time pictures are captured every minute to document, monitor, evaluate and report the performance of a construction project? Time-lapse construction cameras that are installed at different key locations of the construction site provide stakeholders with a proven solution to visualize the events that are taking place on the project without leaving their desk. This is more essential nowadays during the COVID-19 pandemic to enable stakeholders to have better visualization of how and where the different project management processes are impacting their project’s performance while respecting the social distancing and work from home requirements. A functionality that stakeholders will continue to ask for even post the COVID-19 pandemic era.
Project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb, would usually have a project center screen that could be configured to include a separate page for each camera installed on the construction site. Each page will be linked to the camera’s IP address. It is common that a construction site would have several cameras installed to cover all areas of the project. In this case, a legend box can be added to each camera to show the location of the camera on the construction site. The stakeholder can view the feed from any camera by clicking on the relevant project center tab. The stakeholder can use the calendar on the right to view the recorded site progress on any given date.
The benefits of having time-lapse cameras go beyond monitoring, evaluating and reporting a project’s performance. Nowadays, there is an emerging trend of using time and date stamped pictures that are captured by time-lapse cameras to support claims submission. Those captured pictures and sometimes videos will be downloaded and stored in the PMWeb document repository and attached to the relevant claim submission to support the sequence of disruption or other events that lead to the claim.
The use of time-lapse cameras also helps in ensuring that health and safety requirements are implemented on the construction site. Those cameras can be used to highlight incidents, danger zones and clearly marking working zones. The captured pictures will be attached to the safety incidents and safety violations captured in PMWeb. In addition, the recorded videos can be used to upskill the project team for knowledge management, training and showcasing do’s and don’ts when it comes to health and safety practices. The construction cameras can also better enforce site access and overall site security surveillance.
The project’s quality control team can also use the time-lapse camera for capturing the details of concrete pour. The cameras can capture the details of all transit mixers entering the construction site including their wait time. In addition, the cameras will capture the details of the actual concrete pour activities as well as follow on curing tasks. The construction cameras can also capture the details of all equipment and material deliveries to the construction site including the storage areas. The gate pass permits and other delivery notes created and captured in PMWeb could be attached with pictures captured in the time lapse cameras to show the details of those events.
Time-lapse cameras are also used for marketing purposes by showing off project milestones, building the organization’s brand and gaining followers by posting engaging videos online. They are used to show prospect clients with details of projects completed in the past by the company.
The benefits of having a BIM friendly WBS in visualizing, analyzing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting the performance of construction projects can also be associated with time-lapse cameras installed on construction sites. For example, EVERCAM Construction Cameras are now working on a solution to associate the data captured in their construction camera solutions with the project’s BIM model. This will enable the stakeholder to visualize the BIM along with the actual construction status feed from the cameras. This video explains the BIM-Construction camera integration concept https://vimeo.com/271456812