When it comes to construction projects, it can be difficult for investors and contractors to keep up with all of the moving parts. The anatomy of a standard job site includes the general contractor, which oversees all aspects of the project and is responsible for the overall completion and ultimate delivery. Under the general contractor are various subcontractors, each specialising in a particular area of the project such as plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc. As construction progresses, and more subcontractors are introduced to the job, complexity increases, and it becomes challenging to keep everything under control.
Enter the superintendent. Think of the superintendent as the on-site project manager, responsible for overseeing the operations of a job site through to completion. While the duties of superintendents vary, they are generally responsible for
Ensuring the safety and compliance of the site.
Generating, updating and maintaining the project schedule
Coordinating and overseeing all subcontractor activity to maintain the quality of finished work
Reviewing & adhering to the project budget
Responsible for equipment and materials on site
Maintaining records for site personnel/ongoing work such as daily field reports, change orders, and RFIs
Liaising with inspection authorities regarding approvals.
A site monitoring system is a superintendent’s best tool for ensuring full visibility of the job.
Construction Superintendent. Courtesy: Unsplash
Health and Safety
The Health and safety of workers are priority #1 on all job sites. We are all out there to do a job and then come home safely to our families. Ineffective construction site monitoring can lead to gaps in on-site safety standards, which could endanger the lives of employees and future users of the building. To minimise risks and maximise safety, a Superintendent needs to establish and enforce effective communications channels and reporting systems. Site monitoring systems such as Evercam can greatly assist in delivering safety updates, risk assessments, and hazard detection as quickly as possible.
Quality and Productivity
Following Safety, the quality and productivity of work are vital to a job site’s success. A superintendent inspects every stage of production to ensure the quality of work is sufficient and efficient. One of the biggest challenges a superintendent faces on the job is figuring out how to optimise productivity without compromising quality. Creating superior buildings in a short amount of time is a corporate expectation that is difficult to execute and one of the best ways you can satisfy both demands is through fully-implemented monitoring. For example, Evercam’s X-Ray tool in the construction cameras is a game-changer for superintendents because it is such an accurate image referencing tool that helps to compare separate stages of the construction phase. The presence of cameras on site can prevent a lot of untruthful information from being communicated between teams, which in turn leads to enhanced productivity from the site staff to subcontractors. With visibility, it helps to ensure that quality standards are met.
According to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the construction industry suffers more than $1 billion in losses each year in heavy equipment alone, and those numbers continue to rise. Construction cameras can help secure the job site against these thefts and, in the worst-case scenario, provide vital evidence for law enforcement authorities in the case of a crime.
Although trust in employees is the basis of any business, no construction company is immune to theft from the inside when part-time employees and subcontractors are accessing the site throughout the project. Visual monitoring can deter would-be thieves if they know they are under observation. Vigilance is key.
Troubleshoot potential issues.
Construction cameras help uncover potential problems early, allowing site teams to be proactive instead of reactive by tracking, capturing, and documenting any violations. Footage of a specific event can be reviewed to determine what went wrong and what actions can be taken to prevent similar problems from resurfacing. They pick it, we stick it! My old boss used to say. They, being the design team and we, being the field team of superintendents on site. In a past project, they changed their minds and we had to relocate plumbing lines for a ground floor bathroom after Slab on Grade was poured. It was extremely useful having a compare tool within the camera system to check where underground utilities were laid before we had to chip concrete and lay additional plumbing pipe work. Of course, we could have checked the plans to see where the undergrounds should have been but the use of cameras meant we were 100% sure.
The use of cameras on construction sites keeps all project stakeholders in the loop throughout the project by helping the superintendent keep accurate records of site activities to distribute amongst other teams without the need to organise an in-person site visit. Consequently, it cuts time and travel costs and can accelerate approval processes for additional funding.
Between inclement weather, public health crises, budget cuts, and supply chain shortages – delays are almost inevitable in any construction project. Construction cameras play a critical role in explaining and justifying these delays. Using Evercam’s weather feature can help superintendents to justify time added to the schedule if a delay occurs due to weather-related issues. Sudden changes in weather can cause you to halt certain aspects of construction for a day or more.
Construction cameras have almost become a standard tool to have in any project. In fact, many projects now have cameras required in the specs. So it’s not a matter of whether or not you want cameras, it´s which cameras to choose.
With construction cameras, GCs & developers give themselves a competitive edge by avoiding expensive mistakes, keeping projects on schedule, protecting themselves against losses, and building clientele bases that can span across industries.
About the author:
“Darah Callan works as a part of Evercam’s USA Business Development & Customer Success team from Barcelona, Spain. While he has not always worked in the Camera/AI world, he is passionate about construction and has spent 5 years in the industry. After graduating from University College Dublin with a degree in mechanical engineering, Darah ventured into the world of construction, mainly based in the USA working as a Field Engineer and Assistant Superintendent with Ryan Companies out of their South Central office in Austin, Texas.“