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  • Writer's pictureJohn Russo

Building Documentation Services: Factors to Consider When Developing a Budget

Updated: Sep 22, 2023


building documentation budget

When it comes to developing a budget for building documentation services, there are several factors that owners and architects should consider. Building documentation services can provide numerous benefits to a project, including risk reduction and overall savings to the project's timeline and cost. In this article, I'll explore factors to consider when developing a budget for building documentation services that meets your needs and provides you with the best value for your investment.


First, it's important to understand what building documentation services entail. Building documentation is the process of creating accurate and detailed documentation of a building or structure. This documentation can include everything from plans and elevations, 3D models to photographs and videos. It's important because it provides a record of the building's design, construction, and maintenance history. Building documentation is often used for legal, regulatory, and insurance purposes, as well as for ongoing maintenance and repair, marketing and space accounting.



Scope of the Project


When developing a budget for building documentation services, there are several factors that should be considered. One of the most important is the scope of the project. The more extensive the documentation required, the more it will cost. This can include the size of the building, the number of floors, the complexity of the design, and the amount of detail required. Additionally, the level of accuracy required can also impact the cost of the project.


Level of Expertise


Another important consideration when developing a budget for building documentation services is the level of expertise required. Building documentation is a highly specialized field, and it requires a high level of skill and knowledge. It's important to choose a service provider who has the necessary expertise to produce accurate and detailed documentation. This can include knowledge of building materials, construction techniques, and local building codes and regulations. Ask if they are professionally licensed and/or certified by an industry organization such as the U.S. Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD).


Technology Used for Documentation


In addition to the scope of the project and the level of expertise required, it's also important to consider the equipment and technology needed to produce high-quality documentation. This can include cameras, drones, 3D laser scanning equipment, and software. The cost of this equipment can vary widely, and it's important to choose a service provider who has the necessary tools and technology to produce the level of documentation required.



Intent Defines Process


Perhaps one of the most important factors is to begin by clearly defining your intent for the building documentation required. I always say, “Intent Defines Process.” There are many ways to go about documenting a building. It is not uncommon for clients to request a level of accuracy that exceeds what their true needs are. The result will likely be paying more than is necessary. In other cases, clients may try to cut corners to save a buck and end up with inaccurate or substandard data. If you are unsure of your needs, consider paying a trusted third party expert to help you specify the services.


Risk Reduction


Finally, when developing a budget for building documentation services, it's important to consider the potential benefits of risk reduction and overall savings to the project's timeline and cost. Building documentation services can help to identify potential issues and problems before they become major headaches. This can include identifying potential structural issues and identifying unexpected hidden conditions that frequently lead to change orders during construction.


Time and Cost Savings


Additionally, professional building documentation services can help to save time and money by reducing the need for expensive and time-consuming rework. By identifying potential issues early in the process, building documentation services can help to avoid costly mistakes and delays. This can ultimately help to reduce the overall cost of the project and ensure that it is completed on time and on budget. The key is to begin the building documentation process early. Ideally, your designers will benefit most by receiving the building documentation package by the time they begin design development.


In conclusion, building documentation services are an important part of any construction project. When developing a budget for building documentation services, it's important to consider the scope of the project, the level of expertise required, the equipment and technology needed, and the potential benefits of risk reduction and overall savings to the project's timeline and cost. By taking these factors into account, owners and architects can develop a budget that meets their needs and provides the best value for their investment.


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