September 15, 2020

How Construction Monitoring Helps Mitigate COVID Losses

Torrey Dye

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every sector of the global economy and the construction industry is no exception. The virus and the resulting lockdowns have slowed or stopped construction across the country and world-leading to an industry-wide loss of 7% on construction projects according to a study by the New Horizons Foundation, the research arm of the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association. Researchers reviewed productivity data for over 113,000 labor hours performed by mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors between January and May of 2020 on commercial construction job sites that included residential high-rises, apartments, K-12 schools, government facilities, food and agricultural facilities, and hospitals. This study found a 17.9% hit to productivity across the association’s membership, since the global pandemic was declared.

Based on the results of this research, the study’s authors also noted that because productivity losses are a lagging indicator, often showing up three to six months after the event that caused the delay, many developers may not yet be aware of the magnitude of their potential losses due to COVID-19. With the pandemic likely to drag on, how can construction monitoring technology help to mitigate lost productivity?

How construction monitoring can help

The root cause of lost productivity due to COVID-19 comes from two key areas. Official lockdowns and other government measures that force work stoppage, and precautionary measures to prevent the virus from spreading on jobsites. Unfortunately, there’s little that construction monitoring technology can do to address the first factor. State and local governments make their own determinations based on case counts, how rapidly the virus is spreading, and the possibility of social distancing to determine when shutdowns are needed.

However, construction monitoring and construction photo documentation tools can definitely contribute to making jobsites safer when work is possible and help to create efficiencies that balance out the losses created by slowdowns and additional health and safety precautions.

Creating efficiency to offset losses

The best way to reduce losses of any kind on a jobsite, whether caused by a world event like the COVID-19 pandemic or by run-of-the-mill delays, is to increase efficiency across every day-to-day process barriers to efficient sharing of information. Construction photo documentation helps developers to monitor progress, ensure quality, and avoid risk which can eat into profits.

By maintaining a single source of continuous up-to-date records throughout the life of the project developers can ensure that all stakeholders have the tools and information they need to perform their jobs efficiently whether they’re working onsite, or overseeing other projects in a portfolio. To be most effective, this construction documentation should be multi-leveled–both written and photographic. Written documentation is something managers do every day even when little or no construction is taking place, while photographic documentation can take the form of third party walkthroughs capturing 360° HD photos at a regular cadence to track progress.

How 360° Photo Documentation Improves Construction Efficiency

Combining these two assets in a single platform adds tremendous value to the process while reducing the risk of lost time and effort. Developers can rely on a first-class construction photo documentation resources like OnSiteIQ to provide some of the following resources.

Impartial photo records

As a reliable third-party construction monitoring partner, OnSiteIQ captures impartial and unbiased records throughout the life of the project. These records can help to track progress and to expedite disputes and construction claims during and after the project has closed.

Repeatable Walkthroughs

OnSiteIQ’s team walks your site at an agreed-upon cadence and follows a predetermined course. As a result, visual records are consistent from the walkthrough to the walkthrough and all changes and issues are captured on a recurring basis with no risk of selective spot-checking.

Photo walkthroughs mapped to floor plans

Once captured, images are mapped to your floor plan and overlaid with on your project design architect/engineer plans by OnSiteIQ’s precision artificial intelligence technology allowing you to recreate your own virtual walkthrough from anywhere without the hassle of sifting through hundreds or thousands of individual images.

Precision Measurement

Captured images allow users to measure within one inch all the views within a 360-degree view of the space in order to make decisions about spacing and installations remotely rather than visiting sites to personally assess openings for MEP and other equipment.

Safety Assessment

OnSiteIQ users can remotely assess safety and compliance around elements like barriers, fall protection, fire prevention, and adjoining neighbor safety all from wherever they are, speeding up approvals and avoiding delays that cost real dollars in additional manpower and time. 360° photo documentation also captures general construction site progress, possible theft of equipment or materials, unexpected weather intrusions, and general site safety all of which can create costly delays.

Visual Search

Tracking key milestones and installations can reduce the time it takes to advance to the next stage of construction. OnSiteIQ’s visual search features allow developers to quickly search by a growing list of key fixtures. Our platform can quickly identify windows, doors, plumbing, and other features and jump directly to these features allowing developers and construction managers to remotely assess and approve them and to track what milestones are being met week to week.

Adapting Construction Monitoring for Your Projects

The construction foreman is screening and scanning their co-workers thermal to ensure all of them are in normal temparature at construction site

In the COVID-19 era, delays and slowdowns are an unavoidable part of life as developers work to deliver projects on time while keeping their teams safe. With visual construction documentation and a powerful construction monitoring solution on your side, there’s no reason that these delays have to eat up your bottom line. Consider how much your team could benefit from using construction photo documentation along with your own onsite data to validate the increased number of change orders and to make more accurate estimates going forward on current and future jobs. These features we describe above are just some of the ways that a platform like OnSiteIQ can help you to reduce delays and make your sites more efficient in the COVID-19 era and beyond. Schedule a demo today to see OnSiteIQ in action!