Keeping an eye on construction projects involves a lot of travel. For owners, developers, and contractors with simultaneous projects in different neighborhoods, cities, or even countries, monitoring project progress is hard, slow work.
Thankfully, that’s set to change. In recent years, new remote monitoring technology in construction has allowed construction professionals to check in on progress from anywhere in the world. Modern remote monitoring tools offer detailed visual documentation, all with clarity you’d traditionally only be able to get by showing up in person.
2019 is set to become the year that remote construction site monitoring penetrates the market in a substantial way. Of all the emerging construction technologies, remote monitoring is one of the simplest ways to achieve smarter project management and increased profits.
What is remote monitoring?
In the construction industry, remote monitoring means using tools like software platforms, webcams, sensors, and drones to track progress, plan and adjust timelines, and streamline processes from anywhere in the world.
Today’s technology allows stakeholders unparallelled remote access to the job site — in many cases, it enables better access than they could easily get in person. Video documentation, photography, and sensor data give stakeholders a look at progress and conditions in near real-time.
Check in on jobsites from anywhere
Visual documentation is a popular solution for tracking progress and identifying issues. It can also provide a remarkable window into up-to-date activity on a job site.
Stakeholders can access photos, videos, and webcam feeds using a portal from their documentation provider or a project management platform. Rather than relying on a third party for information, they can navigate the property themselves via videos, virtual walkthroughs, or as built photographs that are mapped to project floor plans.
In some cases, this information is available spectacularly fast. For example, Multivista uploads the majority of its project imagery to its cloud-based platform within 24 hours of capture.
Perform time-consuming tasks remotely
Remote monitoring can make work easier for a range of stakeholders.
- General contractors can get an honest view of subcontractor progress and verify it for payment without relying on second-hand reports.
- Using photo and video documentation alongside project management software, architects, design engineers, and project managers can respond to RFIs, change orders, and submittals rapidly without having to walk the job site.
- Developers and property owners can access detailed, up-to-date site conditions and share those updates with investors.
- For observers and inspectors, documentation of in-slab and in-wall utilities, exteriors, and other critical components mean some inspection tasks can be handled remotely.
In each of these instances, data can be accessed from anywhere, for multiple job sites, all wirelessly using a computer or mobile device. For people who manage or monitor multiple projects simultaneously, this is indispensable.
See if timelines are being met
UAV photography combined with 3D mapping techniques has produced new and exciting remote construction monitoring possibilities.
By flying a drone over an area, capturing photographs, and processing those photographs through advanced software, measurable maps can be created that reveal distance, elevation, area, and volume.
Say you have a pile of sand or debris that needs to be moved by a certain date. Using software to track the volume of that pile, stakeholders can calculate exact progress to make sure that effort is on track for completion by the deadline.
Aerial maps can even be used to plan equipment ingress/egress points and storage locations for building materials — all without stepping foot on the job site.
Remote monitoring is expected to transform the way construction project management works. By streamlining operations, remote monitoring helps improve communication between parties and shorten timelines, leading to fewer setbacks, faster turnaround, and a better bottom line.