Construction sites have many moving parts, and many layers of input when accounting for everything from electrical installation, plumbing installation, hanging dry wall, painting and much more. As each section of a project is completed, communication is key.
Staying on top of the progress of a job is important to everyone involved. Superintendents, owners, foremen and project managers know they will have to work through any issues or punch list items that may pop up as construction continues. Addressing these scope of work items used to take time away from other important tasks. Often, this involved extra site walks and more back and forth between trade partners and project managers.
W. M. Jordan Company (WMJ) has been implementing a new technology that increases construction efficiency, reduces re-work and increases owner satisfaction. StructionSite and the Insta360 Camera create a new method of communication between all parties involved on a project.
StructionSite is a web-based software that allows project teams to communicate in the context of the jobsite, anytime and anywhere. The software uses images taken with a 360-degree camera, digitizes them and catalogues them in accordance with the building design plan. Users can go through the design plan and view 360-degree images of rooms in real time.
The benefit of this system is the 360-degree camera captures everything in one shot, as users snap photos while walking the site.
How does WMJ implement this technology? Why use it instead of the old way? Communication is the number one reason. WMJ Project Engineer Dakota Wilkerson is currently using StructionSite on his job in North Carolina.
“I love the system because it connects with the job’s design documents. I go out every Tuesday and take pictures of each part of the job,” said Wilkerson. “The pictures get uploaded to the website, and they are ready for us to review in meetings with the owner and trade partners.”
By taking weekly pictures, Wilkerson can layer photos from each week over the other, easily track progress, and create a detailed design for what is in the walls of the building, a valuable piece of information as building progresses.
WMJ Senior Project Superintendent Frank Bliley sees endless applications for the technology. “This tool really streamlines our meetings. You can track timelines and progress in the software, and when there is an issue, StructionSite allows us to see it without going back out onto the jobsite. The biggest thing is you don’t have to guess what is in a wall, you can peel away the layers, and with this system you do not have to waste time looking for a picture, it is all catalogued.”
Project owners benefit as well. “We can provide the owners a link where they can see all the pictures and track the progress of the job,” said Bliley. “This gives them updates at their fingertips, while also making our OAC meetings (Owner, Architect, Contractor) more efficient because we can all look at the same image and be on the same page.”
Using StructionSite allows workers to more accurately schedule the next steps of a job. Mic Minichiello, a Project Manager for WMJ, has found many uses for the 360 Camera on his job sites.
“It really helps us map out small places. Elevator shafts, anywhere that a person may not comfortably fit. We put the camera on its mount. Using a light, we can get it into a ton of spaces and get great photo updates.”
“I like to use it to share project information across teams. Everyone can access the pictures I take and see where progress is or is not being made,” said Minichiello, “It also is a conversation starter with our trade partners. They see me walking around with the camera every week, and eventually they ask what I am doing. It’s been a great way to form relationships with the people helping us complete the job.”
Dwayne Sellars, WMJ’s Senior Virtual Design Construction Manager, is responsible for keeping WMJ on top of the latest technology trends. “This is something I have been tracking for about three years,” said Sellars, “My main goal is to look for ways to streamline our process, eliminate extra steps and provide more value to our owners. StructionSite and the Insta360 accomplish all of that.”
W. M. Jordan Company prides on implementing innovative technology in the construction industry. As new tools and technologies become available, we are always testing ways to make our jobs more efficient and safer while upholding our high standard of construction quality.