Surveillance Builds Better Construction Site Management

Surveillance Builds Better Construction Site Management

Key Points:

  • Mobile technology makes surveillance a practical option for construction managers
  • Enhancing site security and streamlining project management are key benefits
  • Engaging the right technology partner optimizes your investment

If you don’t think a high-tech surveillance system is feasible for a construction site, think again. Certain systems are now compatible with the temporary nature of construction projects, and that includes the cost. Here’s why you should look into adding surveillance to your project toolbox.

Technology Evolves and Goes Mobile

How do you point cameras at a construction site without breaking the bank? Surveillance systems are usually wired for permanence, so paying for a fixed solution at a project site only to tear it down in a few months or even years, doesn’t make sense. Commenco Technology Solutions Director, Mike Markham, says that’s why Mobile Surveillance Trailers have emerged as popular solutions.

“The trailers are designed well now, and surveillance technology has come a long way, so putting the two together forms a very practical solution for construction contractors. You’ve got an easy to deploy vehicle, efficient energy sources, and sophisticated, intelligent cameras. It all just works.”

Solar panels are a common energy source for Mobile Surveillance Trailers

Mobile Surveillance Trailer designs vary widely, depending on how far you want to go with the solution, but most are small, flexible and offer the benefit of solar power. You hitch the Trailer to the back of a vehicle, drive to a project site, and pick your location for set up. A typical model may involve a pole that rises maybe 15 or 20 feet up with high-resolution cameras at the top providing 360 views, and a cellular connection feeding mobile devices.

“You might have one or a few of these trailers at a construction site,” says Markham. “You can watch the live feed to see what’s going on or retrieve recorded clips. They’re simple to put into position and operate.”

Additional lighting fixtures are available to boost conditions for already sophisticated night vision cameras.

A Security Tool That Makes Sense

As every contractor knows, construction sites are magnets for thieves. Everything from valuable tools to valuable materials, such as lumber and copper, can quickly disappear. Contractors use a variety of strategies to limit losses, including hiring security guards or just building room in construction budgets for absorbing the losses. Markham says a Mobile Surveillance Trailer can open new doors to efficiency.

“You can see what’s happening and who’s doing it. You’ve got recorded evidence that lets you quickly get to the bottom of situations involving theft rather than slowly trying to piece together an explanation after the fact. Analytics built into some of these surveillance systems give you even more convenience by allowing you to receive real-time alerts and search recorded footage for specific objects, people, and times of day.”

Remote connections to the surveillance systems also allow you to keep an eye on multiple project sites at once. And you can track the behaviors of workers to prevent more sophisticated internal theft from occurring.

Keeping a close watch on copper and other high value materials is a priority at construction sites.

Streamlined Project Management

Security is the obvious reason contractors invest in Mobile Surveillance Trailers, but there’s another good reason that isn’t always obvious: project management. Mobile Surveillance Trailers can be a game changer for construction managers who otherwise depend on in-person site visits and clipboards to document productivity. Surveillance doesn’t eliminate the need for site visits, but it can give managers much greater visibility into what’s happening and allow them to track progress much closer to real-time.

“Traditionally, your only option is to go out to a site, walk around and talk to people. That takes time,” says Markham. “And what if you have multiple construction projects going at the same time? It can really add up. Surveillance lets you be more productive remotely. You can keep an eye on all sites from your mobile device and limit in-person visits.”

Construction managers can also use surveillance to see who’s missing from a site, or track key people who are coming and going, whether it’s different contractors, other project partners, or project owners. If you’re in charge of a project and the owner suddenly shows up without notice, you might want to be there, or at least know about it. You can also share construction progress with owners and other partners by sending them video clips or simply sharing access to the cameras.

“Trailers are well worth the investment for the project management benefits alone, especially if you use the trailers over and over again” says Markham. “Streamlining project management work can mean streamlining project schedules and that can be a valuable opportunity in construction.”

Optimize ROI With A Committed Technology Partner

You can get your hands on Mobile Surveillance Trailers in a variety of ways, from renting to purchasing. But before you go shopping, step back and look at the big picture. Engaging a technology partner who can identify the right Trailer for your specific needs and budget, and then keep it operating without frustrating disruption, is a smarter way to go. There are many equipment options and pricing packages on the market, and none of the units are ‘set it and forget it’ simple.

“You’ve got a lot of technologies working together in these Trailer systems,” says Markham. “There are cameras, solar panels, cell connections, recording devices and more. Plus, it’s all operating outdoors in harsh construction environments and weather conditions. It’s good to have someone take on the responsibility of  jumping on maintenance issues and resolving them rather than trying to figure things out yourself. You just want to take advantage of the benefits, not be saddled with the support.”

A bundle of sophisticated technologies from the top down.

It’s true, technology should make your work easier. It should allow you to remain focused squarely on your work, and empower you to do better work. Troubleshooting and routine maintenance shouldn’t distract you from your core responsibilities. That’s why a trusted tech partner who sticks with you from equipment selection through support and maintenance is the right way to make a good surveillance solution even better.