Should You Use Video to Document Your Construction Project
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Should You Use Video to Document Your Construction Project

A key objective of all construction documentation is to preserve a contemporaneous (prepared at the time), accurate, and factual record of what occurred on the project. And, frankly, the credibility of one document adds to the credibility of all your documents. Given the credibility of video, they not only serve to quickly and efficiently document important events, but they also enhance the credibility of all related documents.

The nice thing about our phones these days is not only can they take great pictures, but they take great videos, too. I would not use video as a replacement for a daily log, mostly because it is very hard to access the information in a video (particularly if you have taken a lot of them). It can be hard to find the right video that has the right piece of information that you need quickly. But if you are performing potentially dangerous work or you are performing an unusual operation (an operation that perhaps involves multiple parties or could have catastrophic results), then it’s probably not a bad idea to be videotaping that kind of event.

We worked on a project in Milwaukee where a large truss was dropped and someone was killed. It turned out that there were videos being taken by the general contractor. There was a video being taken by the steel truss erector. And there was a video being taken by a tourist who was standing outside the stadium. All of these videos were taken from different vantage points. The end result was there was no question why the accident occurred and which party was responsible. There was no dispute.

It is nice to be able to deal with complex or tragic issues like that in a professional way and not have the project become embroiled in dispute. The bottom line is, yes, if the situation is right, video is a great tool for documentation. But don’t think video alone can meet your documentation needs.

Scott Lowe is a Principal of TRAUNER and is an expert in the areas of critical path method scheduling, construction claims preparation and evaluation, and specification writing.

He can be reached at scott.lowe@traunerconsulting.com.

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