When time is money, worker productivity is crucial. On the jobsite, this manifests as the need to finish a project within the deadline and agreed budget. Worker productivity needs to be first class, otherwise you risk your reputation, bottom line and any chance of repeat business.
When it comes to busy construction sites, there’s a particular issue with frequent productivity barriers. A report published in 2017 by the McKinsey & Company uncovered how the construction industry was severely lacking when it was compared to other industries. This was mainly due to issues with planning, coordination and communication.
But what are the problems causing these performance issues and what can we do about it?
Overbooking and under planning
This occurs when there’s a lack of robust planning, resulting in multiple crews attempting to finish several jobs in a small area. In addition to safety hazards, this situation can impact on every contractor’s ability to access the site and use the required tools and equipment.
Dispatchment Delays and/or Handling Issues
Material procurement and delivery issues can delay construction. Damaged goods because of poor handling will mean additional materials need to be ordered and delivered, which will delay project completion and reduce productivity even further.
Traffic and Travel
Many clients and project managers want to travel to a jobsite to check on its construction status. They might want to give the all clear before the project commences, authorise additional work, or implement the next phase. This all takes time – especially with last-minute visits – meaning the project’s progress becomes dependant on travel time.
Site Access Issues
If getting onto a site is interrupted or interfered with, such as misplaced equipment or other contractors being in the way, progress will be delayed. Workers will wait until someone rectifies the situation, which means they’re sitting around doing very little until there’s a resolution.
A project manager’s key role is to ensure workers stay productive. However, they can’t be in two places at once, meaning those left unsupervised are able to take longer breaks, slow their pace, and may even procrastinate. More supervisors offer one solution, but they come at a cost, and if the construction site is particularly large, it can get pricey.
So, what’s the solution?
The Hawthorne effect is a psychological phenomenon that proves people perform better when they’re being watched. It might sound obvious, as human nature dictates that if someone’s watching you work, you stay on task; yet it’s the same when workers are recognised for their hard work by their managers. The more attention (input) someone receives, the higher their level of effort (output).
This is one reason why construction cameras are gaining in popularity. When placed in carefully chosen locations across a jobsite, they have several useful advantages:
- Documentation of a project’s progress.
- Increase in worker’s productivity and vigilance.
- Allows remote stakeholders (clients, investors and project managers) to see the project status without having to travel to the jobsite.
Better insights allow for better solutions
Construction cameras have many capabilities these days. Some examples include:
- Live-streaming video to browser-based interfaces. This lets project managers see remote jobsites instantly.
- Dashboards that enable those viewing it to see the jobsite on their mobile or desktop device.
- Zoom features that allow viewers to take a closer look, capture and send high resolution images to other stakeholders, and retrieve images or time-lapse footage from any point in time.
Using these resources, project managers are equipped with the right information to make faster and better informed decisions, including how to increase or maintain productivity. A bird’s eye views means they don’t need to travel to a jobsite only to find the access blocked; they can see it for themselves by zooming in on their device. It means they can easily see if workers are sat around waiting for a delivery or access, then relocate those workers or give them something else to do. And it means they can spot any hazards – potential or otherwise – without stepping foot on the jobsite. This allows for immediate action and a solution that mitigates risk, delays and potential added costs.
Another benefit of using construction cameras is a reduction in the required visits to a jobsite to complete a project. For example:
- Video footage can be shared with a client no matter where they are, speeding up approvals and eliminating the need for travel.
- The footage can be used to justify scope, make changes, and request additional budget.
- A project manager or client can spot mistakes waiting to happen, then halt construction until the issue is rectified. This prevents unnecessary and wasted work that might need correcting in the future.
Smile! You’re on camera!
Construction cameras shouldn’t be used to solely keep an eye on workers. They’re there to:
- Ensure safety;
- Ensure workers have everything they need to do their job properly, and
- Improve planning and coordination in the construction field.
It’s the difference between being a manager and a leader. So, although the Hawthorne effect increases productivity because employees think they’re being watched or observed, the higher level of effort should come from your leadership ability first, and your need to manage second.
By monitoring jobsites in this way, cameras are an excellent tool for keeping projects on-track. It also ensures workers are compliant with various industry regulations, which will avoid costly fines and lawsuits potentially coming back to bite you later. This added security extends to project managers who want to check their team are taking appropriate security measures, wearing the required safety gear, and that no one is engaging in risky behaviour. Onsite injuries will obviously decrease productivity.
Choose your construction camera carefully
There are several basic construction cameras on the market. Features can include time-lapse and live video, as well as high-resolution photo capture. However, to get the best out of the camera in terms of productivity, the solution should include point-tilt-zoom features and the ability to control the camera remotely. Being able to browse time-lapse footage by date and time is handy, plus an intuitive interface that enables you to access any footage and photos from your desktop or mobile device. Furthermore it's important to note inspectDeploy cameras are the only cameras on the market built with mesh WiFi and scalable ports. That allow you expand WiFi and cameras as your project progresses.
Being able to sell a construction camera solution to the workers under surveillance is paramount to ensuring its success. As a manager, using surveillance to punish or ‘spy’ will decrease job satisfaction and increase stress. Trust between workers and project managers should come first, while the camera should merely supplement the jobsite to keep it running safely and smoothly.
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