Why Taking Regular Progress Photos is Crucial?

Written by LetsBuild

Follow us


Share this story

Lean ebook cover

Working on a commercial fit out in a high rise block we have to go onto the roof to check progress and take photos. The staff are moving in and the young women beg and plead to be taken up on to the roof! They get very excited up there and want photos of themselves. Never understood what that is all about! Anyway, on to the subject.

Back in the day photos were a rarity. Cameras used films and they had to be processed. That cost money and time which, so often, the employer wouldn’t reimburse. That has changed and, with today’s smart phones, progress photos are quick and easy to take. So why should that be crucial? There is a one-word answer to that question; MONEY!

There are several ways in which this can involve money; some get more money in for the contractors, others save them money by proving Delay isn’t their fault. Let’s look at a few simple examples.

A PVCu window frame has gone in, been glazed and interior walls plastered. Take a progress photo because, the very next day, a change in frame design comes through! Now another beauty of modern digital photos is that the date and time they are taken is recorded! Tell ‘em you have the progress photo. They are free to change their minds and stick with Plan A or have to pay for the additional work!

Now for a different window. This one has been fitted but hasn’t been put in vertically. Take your progress photo and point it out to the subby that fitted it. They know they aren’t going to get away with it so take the quick, easy way out! They refit it and position it vertically this time. Very little cost to the subby at this stage – 15 minutes work? – and no cost incurred by you later when that subby has finished and left site.

I was doing a commercial fit out and we put a dip in a small area of the suspended ceiling because there was loads of aircon ducts and cabling going into the central core at a lower level than the ceiling height. Progress photos were duly taken. One of the Client’s Directors visited site and complained about this. He was shown the photos and asked to take his pick of options;

1) drop the whole ceiling below the statutory level,

2) move all the pipes ducts and cables up higher both of which would have cost the Client money and caused Delay which was their liability, or

3) live with it. The gentleman wisely decided to live with it as it was!

Another ceiling job, this time a huge suspended ceiling. Clambered up and took progress photos. It was about as level as the hills in the Lake District! When confronted the subby resorted to making the excuses he had intended to make after the ceiling tiles went in: “Oh, that’s just movement in the roof that we had to come off.” Told him we had photos so he decided to level it.

Not going to go on forever about the importance of progress photos, so just one more example. Work has had to come to a halt in an area because of lack of detail. A Request for Information (RFI) gets sent off and, instead of getting that Information in the contractually stated time of one week, it takes three weeks. You have the progress photos taken on the day the RFI was sent off when work had to come to a grinding halt. If the project finishes two weeks late because of this, then it is the liability of the Client’s Architect. You don’t get hammered for Liquidated and Ascertained Damages.

See? MONEY saved every time! But in today’s tech-savvy world you can also save yourself a lot of time and frustration. There will be maybe thousands of Progress Photos on your PC but you no longer have to waste your time trying to find the right one to stick under someone’s nose.



Use GenieBelt and everyone involved in the project gets all those photos of yours on their own PC, tablet or smart phone almost as soon as you take them! That takes the wind out of peoples’ sails; they know you have evidential progress photos! That saves you even more time because they know there is no point in arguing about it! There is another beneficial spin-off, too; all the tradesmen try harder to get it right first time, every time!