The Importance of Construction Jobsite Photo Documentation
Keeping track of progress and issues out on the jobsite is an essential part of your business. And while many things can be put into words, sometimes the power of a picture can speak volumes.
Everyone involved on the jobsite should be keeping track – and that means using photography to document, document, document. Taking photos doesn’t just have to be to about showing your clients the site progress – they are useful for far many more reasons than that.
Today we’re taking a look at why you need to be documenting daily with your trusty camera or smartphone while out on site.
Photos can provide site updates for head office
For those that can’t make it down to the jobsite, are simply too busy, or are away on business, on-site photography by the staff that are present can be a lifesaver for company decision-makers.
By tracking team progress on site, construction managers can make decisions based on photos, site reports, and first-hand accounts from staff on the ground. Documenting the progress via photos here is essential in the decision making process for those that can’t attend.
Dated pictures keep a visual timeline of site progress
When site photos are taken regularly, and always timestamped (and they always should be!), they provide a visual timeline of your construction works from the very beginning of the projects. Here you can easily see whether you are sticking to planned schedules for delivery, are ahead or behind, and identify when important features start and end.
This documented visual timeline is especially important to keep when dealing with client and contractor disputes about schedules!
Photos can be produced as evidence to protect you from damage claims
“This granite stairwell is all chipped! Your contractors have damaged it!”
“It wasn’t my team; it must’ve been the plumbers”
“The plumbers said it was you!”
Avoid the he said/she said and guard yourself against spurious claims. When photo-documenting the worksite before you start work, as well as during, and after, you can protect yourself from the sort of conversations like the above. You’ll have proof of the condition of the site before, during, and after your contract should any situations regarding damage arise.
A picture captures all the little details
Let’s say that you need to go back in six months’ time to a jobsite to make some further alterations. With photos captured already of all the details, you can check them out beforehand to know exactly what materials you’ll need and what you need to do before you even get onsite. This can save a lot of time and money – especially if it happens often!
Well-taken site captures are brilliant for your marketing efforts
If you’re capturing fantastic images of in-progress and completed works while on site, and even pictures of a smiling team cheerily working away on site, these are the perfect sort of images to include in all your promotional materials – with client permission, of course.
The pictures that you take can be used on your website, glossy brochures, and even in daily snaps for your social media accounts. The world is now documenting it’s every move online – and your business should be too!
Site photography tips
Use scale in your pictures
Whether it’s with a measuring tape, your phone, or a hard hat, put an object in your picture that will show the image scale.
Make notes and annotations
If your picture needs explaining – then do so! Use an app like ArchiSnapper to capture your images alongside any notes that you have about the subject. Annotate your picture with arrows and free drawing if needed.
Use a flash
If you have a dark jobsite, then you will need to invest in a flash to ensure that the image quality in your picture captures everything that you need.
Keep your photos organized
You don’t want to be sifting through every jobsite picture you’ve ever taken, just to find the right one. Arrange your photos in folders by project and date or milestone. Again, using an app like ArchiSnapper will do this for you.
More site photography options
Smartphone and tablet photography
If you don’t have a dedicated office camera, it’s easy to snap away pictures on your smartphone or tablet. Be careful using this method though. Many older or more inexpensive models do not have the high megapixel resolution that is needed to take brilliant shots – so you’ll need to budget in an upgrade. We recommend the iPhone 6S for the job.
If you’re taking a lot of site photos then you might like to consider online storage options such as Dropbox to save your images to, also. This will save space on your phone or tablet, but you will need a data connection to successfully save them on site.
For a more immersive experience and interactions with your BIM data and models, you might like to consider 3D photography. 3D photography is driven by software such as ContextCapture and LumenRT, and can produce amazing results. It’s recommended on jobs with high budgets and very specific requirements.
If you’re a bit of a hobbyist, or like to have aerial views of your sites, then drone aerial photography could be another option to consider. Although you’ll need to purchase a drone (starting at around a couple of hundred Euros) and then learn to actually fly it, they can bring an amazing perspective to your sites. Aerial photography was long out of the reach of construction professionals, but now with drone technology, any company with a little time and effort is able to obtain overheard shots in under 20 minutes.
Certain site inspections, like the quality of the bottom of a bridge, could also be done very easily with a drone.
We hope that you’ve learnt a little bit more about why on-site photo-documentation is just so important! With our tips and hints you’ll be ready to start snapping away in no time. Document early, and document often for the best results.
Have any more jobsite photography tips and tricks that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know how on-site photography has made a difference in your business in the comments below.