Construction monitoring: can it benefit your project?

Considering a valuable application of time-lapse photography in one of the largest business sectors in the world.

What is construction monitoring?

Construction monitoring is a way of accurately recording on site progress via regular interval photographs, which are then archived remotely as part of an online viewing platform. This facilitates a complete and up-to-date visual record of a project’s progress, to any device, from any location.

In addition, the installation of a camera system to track construction works over a particular period of time enables you to closely monitor deliveries, personnel and other key activities, giving you complete control over site.

With construction monitoring you have the ability to view, share, and communicate via image & video, with clients, colleagues and stakeholders.

The ‘other side’ of time-lapse

Time-lapse photography is a technique which involves editing together of images in a sequence at a much higher frame rate than the original rate of capture; thus, appearing as if time is ‘lapsing’.

This method of capture has multiple benefits for construction projects, most notably because it enables months of progress to be observed in a two-minute time-lapse video. What is more, time-lapse captures the smallest of incremental changes over time that are not legible to the human eye in real time. As part of a time-lapse sequence, such details appear more pronounced and progress at faster pace.

These are ideal for use as part of marketing campaigns, because videos are easily tailored to suit the individual requirements of the client.

 

As shown above, commercial property developer MEPC used this time-lapse sequence to publicise the progress of one of their office developments – 10 Wellington Place, Leeds. Branding and additional information act as effective bookends to the HD time-lapse footage, while also fitting perfectly with MEPC’s broader company aesthetic.

Construction monitoring can be thought of as ‘the other’ side of time-lapse because it is provided through the more traditional means of time-lapse capture. However, construction monitoring extends the function of time-lapse, consequently transforming how this kind of work is viewed and managed.

Better monitoring, better management

The rigorous labour involved in construction work requires a reliable and robust operation in place to maintain a consistent view of site.

As we detail below, construction monitoring is built up of several component elements, which collectively provide eyes on a project’s progress, no matter the subject or duration:

  • Bespoke DSLR camera system(s) – installed at optimum height from a securely mounted position and programmed to capture Ultra HD images at set intervals, these systems far exceed the quality of off-the-shelf solutions, such as CCTV or webcam. Along with in-built climate controls and robust camera housing, view of site is rarely compromised by challenging weather conditions and other factors contingent on the surrounding environment.
  • Remote capabilities – camera systems are controlled remotely via secure wireless networks which relieves the need for manual handling. This does not mean that camera systems are left unattended on a project; remote access allows settings to be tweaked if and when is necessary so that the quality of image is maintained throughout.
  • Online viewing platform – the ability to monitor the view of site provided by the camera system(s) is enabled through an online viewing platform. Upon capture images populate a secure, password-protected portal every few minutes, providing an up-to-date – almost ‘live’ – view of your project. Such software also provides comprehensive archival documentation of construction, organised by year, date & time, which can be used for posterity, reference, or however necessary. Such platforms are also fully responsive and available on any device – PC, Mac, tablets, smartphones & more.

Together these components make it easy to keep eyes on site from any location and monitor areas such as the construction environment, productivity, deliveries, project targets & timeframes, as well as health & safety and quality control.

As such, these tools give you the perspective and control that you need in order to manage your project effectively.

Mobile phone, tablet and laptop showing iRis 3.0 viewers

Private to public: an interactive intermediary

Construction monitoring can be utilised privately, publicly or in both respects depending on the nature of the work.

For construction projects of a sensitive nature, contractors may want to keep details private, or only viewable to stakeholders and other private investors. Internally, images may serve as a useful visual aid through which to engage with staff about notable developments.

Online viewing platforms are often built so that they can be embedded onto external websites, or come equipped with a sharing function so that specific images can be made available via email and a variety of social media platforms.

In this sense, then, the viewing platform serves as an interactive intermediary between client and other invested parties. For the public especially, this kind of information can be exciting as well as useful.

Watford Football Club stadium at Vicarage Road publicly shared their viewer on their website so that construction progress of their then new Sir Elton John Stand could be shared with the football club and their fans. It was also a hit on social media.

As evident from this example, construction monitoring is not only beneficial to the construction of buildings.

Indeed, several projects for which our own time-lapse and monitoring solutions have been applied to document construction work in the domains of leisure and sport, including:

  • Construction of the first two-tiered grandstand at St Andrews iconic golf course for GL events.
  • Erection of a temporary cinema venue at Victoria Embankment Gardens, London for the BFI.
  • Construction monitoring for various roller coaster builds at Staffordshire leisure destination Alton Towers Resort, including The Wicker Man, The Smiler and Th13teen.

 

So, time-lapse and construction monitoring provide the complete package for a broad variety of construction work. Helping with workflow & process, marketing, archival documentation, as well as internal & external communication, construction monitoring has transformed how this work is viewed and monitored.

 

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