Posted on May 16, 2018

We were asked recently by the Board of a major construction firm to research the return on investment (ROI) that monitored time lapse cameras and BIM integration can bring to a project. We were happy to provide this - in the highly structured and well-researched format that the Board required to make an informed decision - quickly.

This was a fascinating exercise for us. Although we knew that clients come back to us again and again - so we must be doing something very right - we had not taken this vital step back to count the actual value of our services to our customers. The results surprised us, in a good way!

We’re delighted to report that the client was able to use our research to demonstrate value, and we are now working with them on multiple projects across the UK.

So, what are the savings that can be made by deploying monitored time lapse, and how can we quantify them to demonstrate the value they can bring to projects? We talked to our clients - as we do, as much as possible - and worked hard to get accurate estimates based on their use cases.

For site visits and photography, we assume a ‘day rate’ of £500 including equipment, travel and lost time.



Most of the projects we capture have hundreds or thousands of people working on them. A large number of these are not on site every day - designers, managers and other stakeholders. While we don’t claim that online monitored time lapse can completely eliminate site visits, it can certainly reduce them, saving time and money, and reducing the carbon footprint of a project.

A few years ago, we worked on a pipeline build - placing cameras at strategic intervals along the project such as tank farms and pumping stations. This meant that the client could effectively monitor and measure progress from the office, rather than driving to remote sites. He said:

"Thanks to Lobster Vision, I’m saving over 500km of driving per week compared to my last project - that time saving alone has paid for Lobster Vision many times over!”

We estimate that two cameras on a site can reduce site attendance by four half-day visits per week. That gives a saving of £52,000 over the course of a year.



BIM Integration vertical shot.

Common 4D modelling software costs in the region of £2,500 per licence, per year. For this reason - and the high degree of technical knowledge required to operate it - use of software is usually restricted to a very small number of design specialists on a project.

Our BIM integration does not have all the features you’d expect from modelling software, but it can be used by absolutely anyone (we’ve had public terminals in the Tate Modern which proves this) and it’s available on any device, to anyone with a password - we don’t charge ‘per seat’ like traditional software companies.

This democratises the model - putting it in the hands of a far greater range of stakeholders both onsite and offsite. From this perspective, and as a completely new and exclusive service, we can’t say ‘what are we replacing?’ - though we can work on the assumption that a project won’t need so many 4D software licenses.

Two cameras on a site might reduce the number of modelling licenses by three - saving £7,500 over a year.



Site Photography Lobster Pictures Bristol UK

It’s common for large construction sites to have progress photographs taken regularly for technical review, archive, and Sales and Marketing collateral. Our tools don’t entirely replace this - after all, we are regularly commissioned to perform this sort of work too - but the high quality of the imagery we produce through our Lobster Pot cameras, alongside the fact that cameras are very well positioned to take in as much detail as possible from multiple viewpoints, can certainly reduce the requirement for onsite photography. Additionally, as you have every single image taken of your project available at your fingertips through Lobster Vision, you can select images with preferable weather and lighting as required, selecting the exact images to match your requirements on each occasion.

For two cameras on a site, you could expect savings equivalent to two days of ‘manned’ photography, per month. This represents a saving of £12,000 over a year.



Our research shows that for a typical use case (two cameras, over 12 months), monitored time lapse cameras with BIM integration can make savings of £71,500. Of course, that’s many times more than the price of using our services.


Would you like to know more?

We hope this shows the positive return that you can make by using monitored time lapse on your project. If you’d like to chat further about how we can begin saving you money on your project, please get in touch.