Work at the job site is moving along, and each week hundreds of photos are taken by any number of people to document the project. Each one of these folks – subcontractors, consultants, designers, etc. – has their own area of focus, their own reason for snapping a shot. They probably have their own way of doing things too, from how they shoot a picture to what they do with it after it’s taken.
So, what happens when it comes time to investigate a delay claim or a safety issue? The photo documentation you need probably exists, but it’s also probably out of your grasp. Without a systematic way of taking and organizing photos, you may find holes or gaps in your project documentation.
When planning your next project, take the time to add these requirements to the project specs:
- Require everyone (subs, consultants, designers, etc.) to organize, label and store their project photos on a common platform.
- Subs should shoot opening and closing photos of their work areas every day.
- Specify that consultants provide photo files to supplement each of the images they embed in their reports.
- Organize photos with location references, like grid lines, room numbers, sectors or GPS (or all of them!).
- Ask your safety manager to photo document routine checks.
- Include early photos from estimators and surveyors in the project data set.
- Accommodate less tech-savvy team members to ensure their photos don’t end up languishing on their phones or cameras.
- Incorporate your job site’s construction camera photos into the mix.
- Train your team to shoot a wide-angle photo for each set of close-up shots they take – this enhances the context of every shot.
- Establish a protocol for shooting a photo sequence in a uniform manner (e.g., always sweep from left to right and move clockwise around the subject). This will also improve the context and information value of the photos.
This up-front work and getting everyone on board might seem like just another thing to do. But when you consider the alternative – crossing your fingers and hoping you can find what you need when you need it – it’s definitely the better way to go.