Recording damage with photos

Photographing Cracks

The easiest way to record the extent of damage in a home at a point in time is to photograph the cracks. A good set of photographs give you a baseline for future damage or repairs, make a compelling story for why the house needs to be repaired, capture a homeowners perspective on the level of damage.

However taking a good photograph of a crack on the inside or external part of a building needs some consideration and care.

A series of close-up photos of cracks in a report is nearly useless. The cracks could be from any building and by themselves do not tell a compelling story.

To capture a good point in time photograph of the level of cracking in a house in your damage survey do this:

  • At some point in your investigation take photos of each room. You don’t need to capture an internal elevation of each wall, you are just trying to establish paint colours, décor and room layout. These photos probably won’t ever be published in a report but they enable you to recall window locations, floor coverings, paint colours. ceiling fan locations, light fitting style and location. All of these things help when piecing together actual photos of cracks. This is the “group shot”.
  • Take a photo of the section of wall with the crack in it. This is the portrait shot. It will help locate the next position of the next photo.
  • Take a close up of the crack. This is the detail photo. One crack looks like the next if you are too close to the crack, so use these techniques.
    • Place a pencil or a tape measure or a match against the crack for a dimensional reference point.
    • Use the photo to record the origin of the crack if it is located adjacent to a window or door.
    • Check your focus level for the close up shot. Many cameras have trouble with short focal lengths. oA distorted photo is worthless.
    • There is nothing inside the crack of use. Do not over-zoom.

Remember that it is crack location, direction, origin and width that will be important to your assessment of slab heave, Don’t forget to record these details in your damage survey and link the photos to the items in your survey. I like to take photos of my notes from time to time to help link the written survey to the photographic damage survey,


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How to Identify and Fix Slab Heave