Cameras have had significant advancements and opened a world of possibilities in the construction industry. Using cameras on construction sites is not just for surveillance anymore. They help gather important information, improve work processes, and make smart choices. Cameras also help your team capture visual records of all construction activities, which may help you reduce liability. However, this burgeoning realm of cameras also complicates matters and requires us to make many decisions.
Which camera types are best suited for your specific needs? How can you leverage these technologies to enhance efficiency and project outcomes? This blog guides us through the complex world of construction cameras and how to create a camera strategy for capturing all the important details of your construction project.
Why Create a Camera Strategy?A well-defined camera strategy will help you plan the project and outline the complex deployment and financial impacts. It will also help you streamline your internal team’s decision-making process by documenting all the important considerations in one document that team members can sign off on. Once approved internally, this document can aid in obtaining sign-off from external stakeholders.
Here is a step-by-step guide on strategy:
Step# 1 Define Your Goals
Start by determining the purpose of your camera strategy. There are many reasons why cameras are used in construction; enhancing safety, efficiency, project management, and documentation are some examples. What are you using your camera for?
Step# 2 Site AnalysisVisit the construction site and/or review its plans to analyze its layout. Identify critical areas of activity, focal points, and potential vantage points for your cameras. Consider factors like sunlight, shadow movement, and access to power sources.
Step #3 Camera Systems Analysis
There are so many camera systems used for a variety of use cases. Let's look at a list of all the different construction camera types and their purpose in construction.
Security Cameras monitor and enhance the safety and security of construction sites, equipment, and personnel. They are strategically placed around the site to deter theft, vandalism, and unauthorized access. Video feeds are monitored in real time, and recordings can be used for investigating incidents or providing evidence.
Smartphone cameras provide a convenient way for construction professionals to capture images and videos for documentation, communication, and project management. Construction workers and managers use smartphones to capture photos and videos of various aspects of the project, such as site conditions, progress, issues, and safety compliance. These visuals are then shared with relevant stakeholders for analysis and decision-making.
Time lapse cameras
Timelapse cameras create a condensed, visually compelling view of the entire construction process from start to finish. These cameras are typically set up in a fixed position and capture images at regular intervals (e.g. every few minutes or hours). The images are then compiled into a timelapse video, showcasing the progress and transformation of the construction project over time.Remote monitoring is another feature available with time lapse cameras. Remote monitoring cameras enable real-time monitoring and management of construction sites from anywhere in the world. These cameras are often equipped with internet connectivity, allowing project managers or stakeholders to view live feeds or recorded footage remotely. This helps monitor progress, safety, and plan adherence without being physically present on-site.
Drone cameras provide an aerial perspective of the construction site, offering a comprehensive and detailed view of the entire area. Drones equipped with cameras are flown over the construction site to capture high-resolution images and videos. These visuals are used for site analysis, progress tracking, mapping, and creating 3D models, enhancing overall project planning and management.
Crane cameras are mounted on cranes to provide an enhanced view of the construction activities, particularly during the lifting and positioning heavy materials. The crane operator and project team can use the camera feed to improve precision and safety during material handling. It assists in ensuring accurate placement of materials and enhances coordination with ground personnel.
Progress capture cameras
Progress capture cameras, reality capture, or 360 capture cameras document and visually record the construction progress at specific intervals. These cameras are typically 360 cameras that are manually walked throughout the job site weekly to document with photogrammetry the work progress. They help analyze the pace of construction, identify bottlenecks, and improve project scheduling.
Jobsite Intelligence cameras monitor productivity, safety conditions, machinery utilization, and subcontractor coordination. Documenting the work site conditions involves capturing visual records of the construction project's workers, their activities, and adherence to progress and safety measures. These typically use Computer Vision (CV) to speed up image interpretation and automatically deliver actionable insights.
Step #4 Define the Documentation
Document the work
Documenting the work involves capturing visual records of the construction project's progress, changes, and activities using time-lapse cameras, and it maintains a historical record of the construction process and monitors the overall project progress.
Document the Workers
For monitoring safety compliance, worker utilization, and project margins. Documenting the workers involves capturing visual records of the construction project's workers, their activities, and adherence to safety measures using time lapse cameras.
In your strategy document, it's important to state which camera will be used to document the work and/ or the worker.
Step #5 Reactive or PredictiveDescribe how the captured footage will be used, either reactively to respond to events or predictively using visual data in Computer Vision systems. This will help you analyze events and patterns retrospectively (reactive) or use advanced technology to forecast future trends and make informed decisions (predictive). Furthermore, list the triggers or cadence you’ll need to review the footage. Ex:
- When a stakeholder requests; or
- When an incident is triggered in the Computer Vision system.
Step #6 Automatic or Manual
Specifies whether the cameras will automatically capture footage or if manual intervention is required. Document the decision to streamline capturing footage and ensure consistent recording. Ex: The time lapse cameras will be automatically on and capturing footage.
Step #7 Fixed or Mobile LocationsDetermines whether the cameras will be installed in fixed positions or if they can be moved around. This will help you define the placement and stability of the cameras for optimal coverage and consistent monitoring. Documenting this in the strategy will help your team understand where the cameras will be at all times and how to work around them.
Ex: The time lapse cameras will be installed in fixed locations as follows:
[List the locations where you need to install the cameras.]
- The main vantage point from the East; and
- On the adjacent building facing South.
Step #8 Integrations
Refers to the connection of time lapse cameras with specific construction management platforms for data sharing and collaboration. This step will enhance project coordination, data accessibility, and information flow within the project team. Ex: The time lapse cameras will integrate with Procore, PlanGrid, Autodesk/BIM360, CMiC, or the time lapse cameras will not integrate with any construction management platform.
Step #9 Operating Times
Specifies the schedule and intervals for capturing footage using the time lapse cameras. This step will define when and how frequently the cameras will capture footage based on project requirements and activity levels. Ex: The time lapse cameras will be capturing footage at a 15-minute interval Mon-Sat, 8 am-5 pm. During higher activity, adjust the interval to 5 minutes via the cloud.
Step #10 Live Streaming
Decide whether the time lapse cameras can stream footage in real-time on demand. Capture the features of the camera you will be using in this document. Will it provide real-time insights into the project's progress and activities? Ex:The time lapse cameras will be capable of live streaming on demand. [or] The time lapse cameras are not required to live streaming on demand as this will be done by the security cameras.
Step #11 Output
Specifies the quality and resolution of the video output from the time lapse cameras. This will ensure the captured visuals are high quality and meet project requirements. Ex: time lapse cameras output high-resolution video at 4K.
Step # 12 Vendor Analysis
Evaluate and list the vendors for providing the camera solutions. Capturing this information in the strategy document will help you identify and select the most suitable vendor(s) for procuring the required camera technology for the construction project. List the vendors you have or will consider for this project.
Implementing these 12 steps will help you create a strategy that captures the small nuances of having cameras for your project. It consolidates crucial decisions, facilitates effective team communication, and maintains a clear record of decisions and their outcomes for better project oversight.
Is this a lot of work? Yes, that’s why we have created a template with all these fields already built in for you. Click hereto download the file if you don't want to start your strategy document from scratch.
Ready to start your time lapse project?