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Visual Documentation

Visual Documentation

Building project visual documentation is critical to the success of a project. The challenges construction teams face aren’t entirely unique to the industry, but the pace and intensity of the work can make them especially daunting.

The complexity of the projects is one of these challenges — from the foundation to installation of the house equipment, there are many consecutive layers involved. A supposed minute error can become exponentially more time-consuming and costly to address once construction has moved to the next phase.

Compounding these difficulties is sometimes, the sheer number of project subcontractors who are involved in the single project. This is mainly because every sub-contractor is focused on a specific set of tasks. These contractors and sub-contractors leave when their part of the project work is finished; with them goes their knowledge of how the tasks on the project work were being executed.

Visually documenting a project from inception to completion is crucial. This enables major players navigate the inherent complexities of the construction processes efficiently and effectively.

Faster resolve of construction defects

Building project visual documentation can be a game-changer in tracing construction defects to their source(s). Might it be an issue during construction or after construction, detailed visual documentation can trace structural defects to their source, showcasing the where, when, and how the error occurred.

There are a variety of reasons you might need to trace a defect to its source. The builder or building engineer might need to determine the sub-contractor responsible so as to bear the cost of repairs, review the quality of work done, monitor the construction schedule, figure out when and how the project fell behind schedule, or determine what resources are needed to move forward with a resolution.

Having physical proof of the actual conditions of  a project at every stage of construction safeguards against absorbing the cost of construction defects. It’s much easier to determine the party responsible when there are photographic and video evidences that highlights the processes and stages of the project.

Read Also: 7 Mistakes to avoid when building a new home

Prevent mistakes from compounding

If left unchecked, a minute error can easily set off a chain of reactions that can result in tremendous challenges. Proactive reviews of visual documentation can help pinpoint errors and ensure the processes are going according to plan. How often the material is reviewed will depend on the project establishing a process as a mode of quality control practice is a great habit pattern that will ensure more value from investment.

Construction projects irrespective of size comprises of several moving pieces which make project visual documentation critical. Making regular scheduled reviews of documentation can make all the difference. If an error is made or a problem arises, the team member(s) overseeing the documentation can spot early instead of the error getting buried, or (worse) repeated, the error can be quickly communicated and addressed with minimal impact to the project schedule or budget.

The bottom line remains, identifying an error early generally translates to saving time and money. When errors or challenges are uncovered late in the project work and deep beneath layers of work, using visual documentation can greatly reduce the time and resources needed to investigate and determine the best plan to correct it.

Track changes in construction easily

Some changes are unavoidable; when things come up during the construction process that weren’t accounted for in the design process, an executive decision is made and a change is processed. Visual documentation provides an effective, user friendly format to easily track change over the course of construction. Project team members can rely on this visual information to communicate as-built conditions without worrying about whether or not a set of plans have been updated.

Knowledge captured is arguably even more important after turnover when the facilities management team inherits the building. Minor problems can become major challenges when there are no accurate in-built resources. Consider how long it will take to fix a leaking pipe if one doesn’t know where the plumbing systems are located. Without visual documentation, facility management teams often resort to costly exploration, i.e. putting holes in walls, ceilings and floors. Contrast that with the ability to trace a pipe, or locate a water shutoff valves using the visual documentation captured before those critical in-wall systems were covered with layers of insulation and drywall. With detailed visual documentation of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, there are no exploratory holes that will require patching up and minimal time wasted finding the root source of a construction problem.

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