Home > Articles > Sam Hughes – Project Engineer

Sam Hughes – Project Engineer

Banner image for user story article of Samuel Hughes interview

Sam Hughes is a Project Engineer with Freyssinet Australia. He has been testing SiteCam on a variety of his projects. James Tibbett from SeePilot recently had a feedback session with Sam to see how his trial was going. It was so good we thought we’d share it.

Would you recommend SiteCam to other project engineers?

Sam: Oh 100%, yeah. I want to really push SiteCam to be a core part of our coatings subdivision, in terms of tracking our progress on individual sites. I think it’s great.

One of our recent projects finished and I managed to, in 30 seconds, send a summary to my managers about how the job went, by just downloading the report from SiteCam. They loved it and sent it to some of their colleagues to show off how it works.

An image of a report generated in Snap

What were some of the problems you were having, trying to manage site photos before SiteCam?

Sam: The sheer amount of them [photos], and everyone was doing it in their own way. You’d have the supervisor taking photos and then he’d send them to me via text and I’d have to download every single one and catalog them somehow.

Another issue with sharing photos was that photos taken on an iPhone were showing as being from 1970 because it wasn’t understanding the file transition when I downloaded them onto my Android phone and then transferred them onto my computer.

Some supervisors were given an iPhone as their work phone and they had no way of really taking photos off there efficiently and giving them to others. It was a bit of a struggle. Then we’d have to pass those photos onto clients and the only way to do that was by copying and pasting them into Word or Excel or PowerPoint, and then making a PDF, which ended up being huge. It’s all manually done, which is quite tedious. There was no efficient way of collecting all the photos and then submitting them.

With SiteCam I can send that as a link. I just go onto the webpage and hit “Generate Report” and I can send a link to it if it’s too big of a file, which has been fantastic.

What did it feel like beforehand when you we’re having to transfer those files and organise them between different people?

Sam: At the end of the project, it was quite tedious, and even during jobs when we wanted to close out parts of the job and move on to the next section. You have to set aside quite a bit of your day to do it, and it wasn’t productive in any way. It would take up quite a big chunk of time that you really couldn’t be doing anything else, you have to fully concentrate on the photos and correctly label them.

After implementing SiteCam, what was the first most apparent benefit to you?

Sam: Having the photo and having the timestamp there and being able to relate the photo to the plan, so I have a reference of where it is. A lot of the time, if one of the workers takes a photo, they take it really close-up and I’d have no reference as to what they were actually taking a photo of. But if they can take a photo of it and pin drop it onto the plan at that point in time, I know exactly what they’re talking about.

The supervisor and I could relay information to each other quite effectively by a photo and a pin drop. Rather than doing that in two separate motions we’re doing that with one photo in one action, which we found very beneficial from the site.

Screenshot of Snap web portal being used on a Freyssinet project
A photo viewed within the SiteCam web portal. All the team’s photos are instantly available online and organised by Date, Location and Tags.

Can you remember a particular moment when you realised that SiteCam was working?

Sam: A key part of my job is coatings work, and when you do coatings work, you have to track several small stages of it. As part of your QA step and your progress tracking, you remove the old coating or corrosion, you then prepare the surface to the right, surface profile, you then put on the first coat, then the second coat, and in between you’re doing cleaning…

Rather than having sporadic photos texted to me, I had the supervisor upload photos each day of how it’s going, the timestamp, and the coating of each area. I could then pull up the tag of coating “so-and-so” member and it was all there, all the different dates, different times, it was all there.

That supervisor then actually left the job, to work for another company, so I couldn’t get his QA off him, it was a bit hard to do, but I had the timestamp. So I could then go back-track some of the data I had for temperature, the material used on that date, and deliveries. I could then find that data without having to try and get his personal phone number. Which was very helpful. That’s when I was like, wow, I can see how this [SiteCam] can help us fill in a lot of missing gaps if those gaps do occur or even stop the gaps from occurring in the first place.

Screenshot of Snap web portal being used on a Freyssinet project
The SiteCam web portal allows you to view your team’s photos from anywhere, all organised by Date, Location and Tags.

What’s different about your day now when you’re using SiteCam?

Sam: I’m feeling less stressed about where photos are, when they were from, and if they’ve been taken. I can just look at the plan and I’ll know if something has been done or not, as I’ll see the tags, and then I’ll look at it. That’s how I made sure to tell the supervisor as well, nearing the end of the project, “there are no photos from up at the hatch from completion. Can you walk up to the top and take some photos?”.

If I happen to be sick for a few days or off on another job I could check in without having to bother the supervisor from whatever tasks he’s doing. I could just look at SiteCam, then I know everything that’s going on.

How much time do you think it saved on your projects so far?

Sam: Whoa, well compared with what we used to do, at least half a day, or a day to get all the photos, put them into a Word document, check it all, make it all fit, format it nicely, and that doesn’t even take into account correlating photos to the drawings, which then I’d have to mark up separately and they wouldn’t even reference each other… So definitely days for sure. That’s only taking into account the time it takes to organise and make one report from those photos.

When someone asks me for a rundown of the project from my tendering team, it’s all now done in the one report. We can go from the client, to my boss, to the tenderers, and it’s all in the one report, which I think is going to save us time as well as the time it’s already saved us.

Are other people in your team seeing value also?

Sam: SiteCam is fantastic when more technically minded supervisors and engineers work together. The supervisor loved not having to worry about texting me photos. We didn’t have to worry about clogging up our WhatsApp chats. We use our WhatsApp chat to discuss the day-to-day on those larger projects, to keep people involved and informed. Most of them were getting clogged with photos because that was what everyone thought was the best way to track photos, just dumping them into there. But then the managers got a hundred notifications and none of them were really useful for him at the time. The supervisor loved it, he loved that he could just organise drawing and photos in one place.

Image of Snap mobile app showing how plans are displayed in the app

What’s your favorite feature of SiteCam?

Sam: Correlating photos to location. I think it’s so, so useful. It was such a struggle before. On the small projects photos are easy to understand, you can picture it, but if you’re on a 35m tall reservoir and everything kind of looks the same in different locations, it’s hard to tell it all apart. Being able to do that [record the position and time of photos] and then showing my client in the click of a finger the work that was done is great, rather than having to sift through all the photos. I’ve got it right then and there.

Photos from Freyssinet project
One of the projects Sam was working on, highlighting the scale of the problem.

How SiteCam can help you

SiteCam helps construction teams to quickly organise their site photos, giving context to images and making them easily searchable.

You can quickly record where photos were from by pinning them to a floorplan, ensuring you don’t forget and adding important context to your records. Having your photos organised by location, through time, enables you to quickly see a timeline of everything that’s happened in an area, or sort records of how a structure was built.

Desktop and mobile versions of SiteCam speed up your search by adding custom tags to captures, so later on you can quickly find the ones you need. SiteCam is built to help your whole team, pooling everyone’s photos together and making them instantly accessible. No more waiting on people to send you “that” photo.

Image showing both the mobile and web versions of Snap

Photos in SiteCam are backed-up to the cloud, not filling up your phone. This also makes them instantly available on your computer via our web portal. Forget having to plug in your phone to transfer files or emailing photos to yourself.

SiteCam gives you better site photos in less time. Try it for free today.

Get Started Free