Importance of Photo Documentation For Construction
When I started in site management I bought myself a book on the subject. It advised that I take photos around the site. I didn’t! There were a couple of options open to me, neither very attractive. I had a Polaroid camera that took “instant” photos and a 35mm. camera that used film rolls which had to be processed. The non-starter for photos was the cost of using either! My employer wasn’t as “enlightened” as me and refused to pay me for any photos I took.
Time moved on and in 1991 I was doing an office fit-out in Bristol where I became “famous”! I was a mere site manager but used a laptop computer! Top Brass from the company I was free-lancing for came to visit site and made it their business to Oh! and Ah! over me, the modern-day wonder! By that time I also had a digital camera. It was a huge thing and got carried around in a bag strapped to my waist. The photos I took got put onto my laptop.Anyway, on one floor we had stuck up most of the studding walls and the ceilinggrid when the Client’s people came up with a change of plan! Most of everything we had done had to come down and we started again. Payment for it? “No, we aren’t paying you extra for something you haven’t done!” The Client’s PM was invited over to my desk and I brought up the photos of what we had previously stuck up and then knocked down. We got paid!
Another even older memory has just come to mind; the Gales of February 1989! I had scaffolding up 250 feet in the air around a couple of tower blocks. We went mad securing everything and no damage was caused. Five, yes, five years later I had a phone call from an Insurance Company! They were intending to prosecute the contractor because a guy working on a Sikh Temple next to our site had been injured by stuff blown out of one of our skips! I dug out my old Site Diary – a personal one I always used to keep in addition to the “official” one – then had a root through old photos I’d taken. That site was an exception; I got paid for taking photos! The idiot had injured himself falling through the unfinished Temple roof he had been strutting around on and I had photos of the hole he’d made. No compensation; no criminal prosecutionand I guess he had a right bo**ocking from the Insurance Company and the Police!
Early 90’s again and this time in Withernsea working on a long-sea outfall. For some forgotten reason we had to create a roadway across the sands. There we hit a construction nightmare! We came across timber poles under the surface which turned out to be the remains of a Roman pier. Time extension and extra costa argued about – until they saw my photos down at the Client’s Head Office! I can’t remember the Form of Contract we were on, nor was I the contractual expert I am these days, but the Client accepted the additional costs and we were paid for the time extension. That was a relief because it was £80,000 per HOUR. That was the charge for the specialist ship to pull the sewer pipes ¾ of a mile out to sea through the tunnel we had dug for it!
Anyway, enough of that. By now you should have got the idea that Photo Documentation is very important for resolving Contractual Disputes in Construction, so let’s move on to today’s world.
It would be a very old-fashioned person who didn’t wander around all day with a smart phone immediately to hand. Even I have one (mainly because my wife made me get it). These take excellent photos, far better ones than did any affordable camera back in the 1990’s. That makes it dead easy to wander around the site clicking away and taking photos! Absolutely free, as well! So you’ve “clicked” away and got photos, now what do you do with them to keep them safe as evidential photos?
Well, you’ve taken them Using Your GenieBelt App on your smart phone, haven’t you? They just get up-loaded to the GenieBelt servers where they are kept all safe and sound for you! Simple as that! If you ever need them, they are instantly accessible through your GenieBelt account!