Public relations tool proves invaluable to entire project management team.
CHALLENGE: Monitor multiple projects in real time for various audiences.
With $200 million worth of expansion and renovation projects underway, the University of Arkansas is bustling with activity. Some of the projects are slated for completion by the summer of 2013; others will continue through 2015. The construction boom will enable the school to accommodate a growing student population expected to reach 28,000 by 2015 – up from 16,000 in the previous decade. Construction project planners initially tapped a variety of tools – YouTube videos, blogs, and document sharing – to keep stakeholders informed and excited about the school’s growth. Nothing tells the story like a picture, but with eight projects in various stages of completion, the University of Arkansas needed an efficient solution for generating real-time, visually compelling progress updates.
“It was originally installed for public relations purposes and was never intended as a tool for construction management. However, as stakeholders accessed the project, each took away a benefit from being able to see the job site remotely.” —Jay Huneycutt, Director of the campus planning office for the University of Arkansas
SOLUTION: Construction cameras on each job site provide public Web access
With OxBlue construction cameras, everyone can have 24/7 remote access to any job site in order to see the progress being made; that includes project managers, university planning professionals, contractors, alumni and the public. The first project to receive a construction camera was the Pi Beta Phi’s gate and campus walk extension project, a brick walkway and gateway commemorating the 100th anniversary of Pi Beta Phi at the University of Arkansas. Seven additional cameras followed and soon project managers, university development officials and others were logging in to the webcams. Each of the eight cameras, which are monitoring six projects, can be accessed from the university’s website by anyone with Internet access. “The sorority wanted the camera to document progress and show the construction as it was underway. It was originally installed for public relations purposes and was never intended as a tool for construction management,” said Jay Huneycutt, director of the campus planning office for the University of Arkansas. However, as stakeholders accessed the project, each took away a benefit from being able to see the job site remotely. The cameras benefit everyone in different ways:
- University officials are able to take donors and investors on a virtual tour of their projects from a desktop computer, iPad or mobile device.
“One day it was 10 degrees, snowing, wind blowing, and instead of walking around the building to show investors the status, we could show them on the cameras,” recalled Huneycutt. “And [by accessing the photo archive] we can see what happened today or what happened a week ago. The time-lapse video function allows us to show progression.”
- A pre-construction manager with one of the general contractors for the University of Arkansas’s new football center uses the cameras to manage workflow and monitor progress.
“We have two live views, which we use to check on progress and to see where people are at any given time,” reported the manager. “It also allows us to go back and verify site conditions at any time – such as snow or rain that prevented work from being done.” Richard Alderman, an architect with Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson, uses OxBlue cameras to track progress on the school’s Ozark Hall Restoration and Honors Wing addition during construction. He enjoys having the ability to monitor construction and reach out to contractors in a timely fashion when he has a concern. Construction cameras allow every team member – whether they are on-site or miles away – to ensure the timely and accurate implementation of each and every project element.