With new innovations year on year, technology is changing the way construction sites are run and managed. While construction sites may still look the same to the naked eye, behind the scenes, they are being optimized to create safer, more efficient, and more secure jobsites that are better places to work for employees and more profitable for employers.
In the past decade, we have seen a host of changes in the construction industry, with more sustainable materials and different building methods, but how can new technology specifically benefit your construction site? Let’s have a look.
Theft and vandalism on US construction sites have always been a big problem for the industry. Industry experts estimate that total annual losses are around $400 million every year, with many items classified as insurance deductibles. That means that many contractors suffer the brunt of the loss.
However, the good news is that technology is leading the fight back. Specialized construction site surveillance cameras can cover every inch of a jobsite 24 hours a day to deter and prevent theft, damage, vandalism, and antisocial behavior. Traditionally, these cameras have been available, but construction sites have had to buy and install their systems, which can be very expensive. Now, managed surveillance systems are available from third-party providers for a comparatively low weekly or monthly fee.
The surveillance systems can be monitored on a contractor’s behalf. Strobe lights and audible warning notifications can be activated to ward off potential threats, and local law enforcement can be notified if the threat remains. All the video footage is also recorded and can be used as evidence to bolster the likelihood of criminal convictions.
Less time spent traveling
The time spent traveling to and from construction sites has traditionally been one of the biggest inefficiencies for construction companies. However, technology now is starting to make those wasted miles a thing of the past.
Software and mobile apps that use artificial intelligence allow project managers to view and manage multiple sites remotely without traveling between them. They can approve risk assessments and allocate jobs remotely so that work can start without any delays. They also provide a central point for all data and communication, creating a complete audit trail that can be used for compliance and evidencing purposes whenever necessary.
Mobile technology such as tablets and smartphones combined with cloud-based management systems and data storage are also helping to improve the efficiency of workers on-site. Workers can access everything from documents and contracts to blueprints and delivery notices in real-time from the jobsite. That decreases the delays that are all too common on construction sites and reduces the likelihood of work progressing based on outdated blueprints and plans that would lead to costly mistakes.
Safety is another significant risk that is inherent on construction sites. Thankfully, the adoption of new technology is leading to improvements in statistics.
Video surveillance systems allow project managers, construction site safety officers, and health and safety teams to check that personal protective equipment (PPE) is being worn when it should be, flag potential hazards, and identify cases of inappropriate or dangerous behavior on site. If an accident occurs, snapshots can be taken and video downloaded for documentation purposes or to defend against compensation claims and fines.
There are also other examples of construction technology that are improving site safety. Construction wearables are being embedded into PPE to monitor workers’ movements, posture, repetitive motions, slips, and falls. They can also signal an alert when workers enter off-limits areas. Smart clothing can also monitor vital signs such as skin temperature and heart rate to determine whether workers are suffering from fatigue or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, all of which increase the risk of an accident substantially.
The rewards are significant
The construction industry as a whole has been relatively slow to adopt new technology. However, with such substantial rewards available, contractors researching and implementing new technology are already reaping the rewards. It’s now up to the rest of the industry to make sure it doesn’t get left behind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Johnny Bui is the Creative Director at SentriForce. SentriForce is a leading provider of managed video surveillance. With intelligent, scalable, and effective security services, SentriForce minimizes risk and keeps assets secure.