When planning a construction project, potential disasters are typically the last thing on developers’ mind. No one wants to think too much about the many types of catastrophes that could threaten a building project. Yet, risk management due diligence is an important component of the process. Everything from large-scale accidents to natural disasters are potential risks. With serious investment on the line, having a disaster recovery plan is a must for all construction projects. Although insurance hopefully covers losses incurred from a disaster, how do you prepare to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible?
In order to minimize overall risk exposure, expedite the insurance claims process, and protect against potential lawsuits, thorough site documentation is crucial. Government organizations always make use of pre-disaster planning. Large private construction projects should have similar planning in place. In particular, developers should establish a system of visual documentation to ensure the project can recover quickly. Having better documentation goes a long way to speeding up the building process while helping to prevent costly mistakes. Here’s a closer look at how visual documentation can underpin the disaster recovery process.
Serves as a Key Component of As-Built Documentation
Visually documenting the site during the building process can help in a number of ways. It can serve to prevent mistakes, capture knowledge, and protect your business in the case of disputes concerning your work. As-built documentation is often the chief source of information and data about the construction process. Yet, increasingly building developers and owners are realizing that it pays to take a more thorough approach. By bringing in firms that specialize in visual documentation, they can obtain the photographic, video, and even 3D-mapping evidence that provides greater transparency. When disaster strikes, the process of capturing precise progress up to that point and identifying anything that might have went wrong becomes significantly easier if high-quality documentation exists.
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Provides a Clear Inventory of Potential Losses Following a Disaster
In monitoring the building process, inspectors can only cover so much ground. Contractors and employees must deal with the competing concerns of getting work done and thoroughly recording every step; there’s less incentive to record mistakes. On the other hand, trained thirty-party photographers with experience on job sites know what to shoot and have the objectivity that’s beneficial for claim or litigation purposes.
In the event of a disaster on the site of a construction project, it’s important to have documentation showing the exact state of project right before it happened. While a contractor should keep records of all the work they do, objective documentation – especially visual documentation – can make the process of disaster recovery easier. The as-built documentation of the contractor can be supplemented with photos and video evidence showing the precise progress that has been made on construction at the time of the disaster.
This evidence can also be used in any insurance or other liability proceedings in two ways. If a contractor has potentially acted in a negligent manner, the visual documentation may show proof of that. Secondly, for an insurance claim, a historical record of the project can help to clearly show all losses and potentially speed up the claims process, enabling you to rebuild faster. In preparing a pre-disaster recovery plan, make sure to consider all of these benefits of visual documentation.
Speed up the Rebuilding Process
When working to rebuild, the post-disaster state of the construction project can be compared to building records. Yet, in extreme situations like disasters, it may not be possible to easily determine what work has been done on the project with a high level of detail. Although the contractor should have thorough as-built documentation, disasters have a way of creating uncertainty about what will be provided. That’s why it’s better to rely on objective documentation solutions. In the rare instance that you need to work with different contractors on reconstruction, detailed documentation can be a major time-saver.
In the case of minor disasters, like a fire that affects only a few floors of a building, documentation can be even more crucial in quickly addressing problems. Frequently, buildings are occupied as floors are completed. In reconstructing damaged floors, contractors may need access to visual data about the completed floors in order to do structural and utility work. If documentation isn’t available, contractors may have to disrupt the operations of currently occupied floors, frustrating tenants and costing even more money. With detailed visual documentation, including 3D scanning, many of these problems can be solved less intrusively.
As highly technical infrastructure design is on the rise, the need for greater transparency and knowledge capture is increasing rapidly. Risk analysis should always be part of the process as well. All of this becomes even more crucial when disaster strikes. Comprehensive visual documentation is a great way of minimizing risk exposure and helping to prevent disasters from spiraling out of control.
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