If you’re an inspector, appraiser, contractor, architect or engineer, likely you will be required to provide photographic backup for your contract or report. Although the task may seem intuitive, the photo backup may not be up to scratch if the task is taken lightly and the focus of the shoot is haphazard. This article is meant to provide some insight into these tasks so that your photos are just right every time and will provide the important information required for the documentation at hand. The following are tips for successful photo documentation.
Understand what the end user needs to see – If you are commissioned to shoot a property or buildings for others, ask them specifically what they need for the report before you go out to the site. Take enough photos to do the job. Err on the high side; too many photos are better than too few – digital film is cheap!
Appraisers and others need the big picture inside and out – Provide wide angle views of the site from the street or driveway at a distance that allows the viewer to feel they are there and can see what you see. Then shoot from a distance that clearly shows the whole view of each side of the building or construction progress. If required to document an interior, take pictures from far enough back to discern what is being shown. Be aware of the environment; consider things like light levels and glare, dark or light surfaces, then take appropriate steps to get the light and depth of field to an acceptable level. Do adjust your automatic camera for dimmer interior conditions. Check the flash taken photos for acceptable clarity and depth.
These reports are for entities that want the general condition, or the condition of specific areas of a building or site photo documented. Get a scope of work (unless the project is self-generated), and fully understand the assignment before you start.
These are commonly initiated by lenders, appraisers and others. What these entities want to know is if the building is structurally sound and to see if there is any structural damage present or to have non-typical specific conditions documented for report, repair, or code compliance.
Photograph the following:
These are commonly initiated by lenders, appraisers and others. What these entities want is a certification that the foundation is of the permanent type that specifically meets HUD requirements. What the engineer wants to see clearly are the elements that make up the foundation system.
Photograph the following:
For a copy of this post and to see photographic examples please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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