Safety first: Accessing sites remotely during coronavirus crisis

Remote monitoring of construction sites could prove particularly beneficial in the current crisis, says Harry Handorf, head of marketing at HoloBuilder.

For project teams, communication is one of the most important skills. Especially in times of limited travel and cancelled onsite meetings, efficient communication is vital to ensure that progress does not stop.

Without personal and on-site meetings, text-based communication via email is the traditional method of choice. As we all know, this can easily slow down decision making and lead to delays. But virtual site access technology can change this. It allows your team to conduct a construction site visit by using a browser to view and navigate the site. The viewed construction site data is made up of frequently updated and spatially organised 360° photos and/or 3D scans.

Virtual site access has many capabilities and features that have proven to be useful to contractors. Here is a list of key benefits:

  • Know what the site looks like without needing to travel there;
  • Track and compare site progress of how the site changed over time;
  • Make informed decisions collaboratively and remotely;
  • View a project from multiple locations at the same time;
  • Benefit from a clear, visual communication basis for remote meetings;
  • Decrease the need to be on site (especially if getting on site is restricted);
  • Decrease the number of people in the field (especially if this is not permitted);
  • Coordinating teams and trade partners from afar;
  • Have a legal record at hand when the site progress gets interrupted has to stop.

Stay safe at home and walk the site remotely with virtual site access

Virtual site access is based on frequent site documentation using 360° cameras – small, affordable, hand-held devices that can be purchased online. These devices allow one individual person, usually a field engineer, to document the site by capturing 360° photos, and if the camera is paired with dedicated software (such as the JobWalk App), the 360° photos are organised on a floorplan automatically. All you need is one person in the field to capture to allow all stakeholders to gain virtual site access.

Combine Virtual Site Access with Video Conferences

No chance to visit the site? Establish daily virtual meetings to talk to your colleagues about the latest updates (and socialise). Set up a video call (for instance a Zoom or Microsoft Teams Video call) with your stakeholders and team members and walk through the site virtually via screen sharing as if you’d be there together. Or simply invite them to your virtual site access and everyone can tune in on their web browsers and record/communicate deficiencies.

Thus, all team members can be at the construction site, while actually being all across town, the country, or even the world. The 360° view allows them to see every angle of the site to make informed decisions.

Curious what Virtual Site Access looks like? See how Mace tracked progress over time at their John Lewis, Cheltenham store project!

Allow for 24/7 remote site access

The 360° digital replica of your project can be accessed at any time during construction, no matter where you are. After uploading the latest site conditions to the secure cloud, all invited stakeholders will have remote access to the full 360° documentation, including 360° views of all moments in time that have been captured so far.

You can monitor time sensitive work, without the need to stick around the site and reduce the number of workers who don’t have to necessarily be physically on-site to mitigate the risk of accidents. Plus jumping from the one end of the site to the other has never been faster.

We at HoloBuilder understand that you rely on technology to help manage your business and your sites. Ensuring you are equipped to handle whatever you need, is a top priority for us. Whether you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out. As usual you will find best practices, tutorials and help videos in our Help Centre. We also established weekly HoloBuilder webinars with tips and tricks on how to track construction progress remotely, starting on March 24.

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