iBEAM Insights

The Pitfalls of DIY Construction Cameras

DIY, or in-house construction camera solutions often start out simple enough, but as projects scale and demand for site monitoring increases, DIY solutions often aren’t enough. Discover how one DIYer came to the realization that doing it himself just wasn’t cutting it.

Overwhelmed IT worker

 

Here at iBEAM Construction Cameras, we help clients across the United States document and monitor job sites with a variety of camera solutions. We’ve been doing this since 2001, so it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about effective and professional-grade solutions.

Occasionally, when we’re speaking with a project manager about photo documentation needs and solutions, they’ll say something along the lines of, ‘We actually take care of that in-house,’ or ‘We’ve created our own solution that’s been working OK for us.’

Now don’t get us wrong, if your team is able to create and maintain an effective solution in house, that’s fantastic! But if your in-house solution isn’t as effective as it should or could be, are you really saving time and money with DIY?

While speaking with one construction company’s IT manager this week, we discovered that even the most well thought-out DIY solution can present costly issues down the road. The prospect we spoke with, and we’ll call him Bill for this article, shared details about his DIY solution. Since this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this type of story, we thought it was worth sharing.

A Day in Bill's Shoes...

Imagine yourself as the project manager or IT director of an up and coming construction company (or hey, maybe you already are the PM/IT director - even easier!). It’s your job to make sure everything at the company runs smoothly for projects to be completed on time and in an effective manner.

On top of all of your regular duties (managing job sites, material orders, subcontractors, inspectors, scheduling, website material, marketing, tech solutions, etc), you’ve been tasked with putting cameras on your projects to monitor and document construction activity.

Sounds easy enough, right? Find a camera, hook it up at the job site, sit back and monitor progress accordingly.

Like many things in life, this is much easier said than done.

Take Bill for example. A few years ago he was asked to put cameras on a handful of job sites. Bill did some research online and found a DIY camera solution he could put together in a few hours, so he ordered some cameras off Amazon and got to work. In a few short days, Bill has figured out how to piece together a DIY solution to solve his remote job site monitoring needs.

So Bill takes his DIY solution and personally travels to all of his job sites to install his camera system. Easy enough, right? With only five project sites and a few bids pending, it’s no problem at all.

But fast forward to today, and Bill's DIY solution is starting to prove problematic.

Over the last two years, Bill's company has seen an impressive increase in business. Suddenly Bill has 37 projects that need photo documentation and remote monitoring, and camera management has turned into a full-time job for Bill.

DIY Documentation Downfalls

Tired constructino project manager

With the increase in new projects, Bill's frequent flier miles have shot through the roof!

Since he was the person who developed the current DIY system, he now finds himself having to travel to each and every new job site to set up the photo documentation and job site monitoring solution. This takes valuable time away from actual project management or IT management.

Talk about LONG days and too much time away from home!

On top of that, the DIY camera solution that Bill thought was ‘good enough’ in the beginning is now fraught with multiple issues:

  • Cameras and systems are constantly down due to a lack of consistent power on the job site. Additionally, uninformed crew will unplug the equipment and not plug it back in, or won’t notify the team that the system is down. This causes a lack of documentation of the job site for an untold amount of time, which upsets PM’s and investors.
  • Set up and maintenance of every system is manual and time consuming, and has to be done in person, at the job site. This causes Bill to spend more time in the field and less time working on his core responsibilities at the office.
  • There’s no central hub to easily monitor cameras, no central repository for photos, so management of all projects is a headache. Bill is constantly having to juggle operating systems and devices to keep up-to-date.
  • The HD cameras Bill bought on Amazon turned out to not have the photo quality he expected. There’s little to no zoom feature, and half of the time the images are grainy or pixelated. Plus, he had to build an extra weatherproof housing unit because the stock housing wasn’t rigorous enough to stand up to the harsh weather seen on job sites.

Once it’s all said and done, Bill and his company are losing precious resources to what was supposed to be an easy and inexpensive solution. . They now see the value in a proven, professionally designed and managed construction camera system like iBEAM Construction Cameras.

 

“iBEAM has exceeded my expectations at every encounter."
M. Pfrimmer, Project Owner & iBEAM client


 

Benefits of Proven Photo Documentation Systems

After speaking with Bill about his DIY solution and the shortcomings that have emerged as his company continues to scale, the conversation quickly turned to our company and how we can help Bill and his company.

Our conversation focused not only on the quality and reliability of our cameras and power solutions, but also on the benefits Bill will be afforded by making the switch:

  • Project managers will have a centralized portal that makes viewing and switching between job sites a breeze. Company executives can see the status of all of their projects at a glance.
  • Bill will have reliable, durable, and professional grade camera equipment documenting his projects in full 4k+ resolution at proper 16:9 ratio - no more grainy or pixelated details, no more post project editing, and no more unreliable power on the job site! Win!
  • With easy plug-and-play installation afforded by iBEAM solutions, Bill can avoid traveling to job sites to set up the cameras, saving his company money on costly flights, rental cars, and hotels. Plus, Bill can now focus on what he does best, and ultimately spend more time at home with family.
  • Finally, Bill has access to our customer support team, so anytime he may have an issue with a camera, he just has to call our team and the rest is taken care of.
  • Best of all, Bill can have peace of mind when it comes to photo documentation and remote monitoring of his projects.
iBEAM Construction Camera job site photo

Do What You Do Best

When it’s all said and done, Bill is very much like you: an expert at what he does - IT and project management. Instead of trying to do it all, focus on what you do best and delegate the rest to professionals who who live and breathe construction cameras.

DIY photo documentation and construction camera solutions may look like an attractive and cost-effective measure in the short term, but don’t forget about the long term. Ask yourself, ‘Will my solution stand up to scaled production and new jobs? Is it effective to get the job done in and deliver timely results over time? Am I prepared to maintain and update this solution?’

If you find yourself with an overwhelmingly complicated DIY solution, or if you’re still considering your options for photo documentation and remote management, give our team a call.

We custom tailor every quote to the job at hand and don’t take a blanket approach to clients. We know each job is different and has different demands, and that’s why we take the time to learn about you, your projects, and your goals. We even have affordable rental options available!

 

Experience the iBEAM 4K difference on your next project.

 

Doing the right thing, for every client, every time.

 

Vicki Robertson
Vice President