If you, like me, are planning on attending West Coast Casualty’s Construction Defect Seminar this year, stop by Geedra’s booth in the Science & Technology Fair to meet Rob.
Brian Hill checks his camera after another day investigating construction defects in houses around the San Diego area. His client, a homebuilder, anxiously awaits what Hill (and the 200 photos on his camera) have to say about the homeowner’s claims of water damage due to improper construction. He cracks open his laptop and wirelessly uploads the photos to a new photo reporting website from Geedra, a Seattle, WA startup. Within a matter of minutes, he sends a completed photo report with his findings (not good, today) to his client, who will save thousands of dollars by moving quickly to settle the claim rather than contest it and incur the added legal costs necessary to fight it in court.
“I have been working in the construction consulting field for about 15 years,” says Hill. “The one constant in construction defect litigation is the need for demonstrative evidence in the form of photos. “
During the height of the housing bubble home construction was fast and furious. In the frenzy to build houses quickly, some builders took shortcuts, leading to a surge in leaking roofs, cracked foundations and other building defects. The resulting boom in legal activity between homeowners and builders has built an industry around investigating and settling these claims. Two thousand such professionals will be gathering on May 17 and 18, at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA for the WCC Construction Defect Seminar. Attendees will discuss the latest developments in this burgeoning field and see a demonstration of Geedra’s latest product release along with a virtual presentation on photo reporting best practices.
With the proliferation of smartphones and other digital cameras over the last several years, the number of images generated around construction projects has skyrocketed. However, tools for managing those images haven’t kept up with the unique demands of this audience. “Builders, consultants and many others in this industry use digital cameras for documentation and data collection.” Says Geedra CEO, Rob Mathewson. “Geedra saves them time and money by automating many of the manual steps involved with creating technical reports that feature photos. By transforming their photos and information into something that we call photo-data, we can store them in the Cloud and provide our clients with easy access to their photos that enables them to go back in time to research a construction issue at any point during a building’s life.
In some cases, as with Hill the consultant, the photos are shot and immediately used to report on existing conditions. But in other cases, photos taken during construction sit unused for months or years before a dispute arises that requires photographic evidence. At that time, when it matters most, poor record keeping can be costly.
Heidi Kubler, a San Diego-based legal consultant who specializes in such cases, assists clients like attorneys and insurance companies, in uncovering construction details that can be six years old or more. According to Kubler, “Documents and photographs provide the data we use to do this.” When advising clients who are planning new projects, Kubler stresses a risk management plan that includes “a targeted, well-managed construction photograph campaign.“
As even the best builders will acknowledge, defects happen. When they do, it’s best for all those involved, homeowners and builders alike, to settle a matter quickly with the kind of clear, irrefutable evidence that a digital photo can deliver. Otherwise, costs mount as consultants like Hill are called upon to discover the facts forensically. Once they do, the attorneys for each side step in to do what they do best; negotiate a settlement, racking up huge legal fees along the way. “Considering the incredible stakes involved in the construction defect cases that I work on, a tool like Geedra has turned out to be incredibly valuable to me and my clients.”
Adds Kubler, “a technology that ‘understands’ construction, can greatly reduce historically crippling litigation costs (that accumulate) through the statute of limitations and beyond.”
About Geedra: Geedra is a pioneer in construction technology, revolutionizing jobsite productivity and reporting. The company offers a cloud-based photo reporting solution that provides contractors and building owners with the ability to capture photos from multiple sources and then automatically file and display them on a visual dashboard for project reporting and monitoring. The company’s Trailer-Ready Technology ™ automates much of the process for the preparing construction photo reports for contractors and other construction professionals. Large organizations can use the Geedra dashboard to monitor construction and operations activity for all buildings in their portfolio. This innovative approach to visual monitoring of building conditions improves risk management, enhances collaboration and saves time and money. Only Geedra offers an affordable and comprehensive package of digital photos, comments and enriched data delivered directly from the jobsite. Geedra ensures all users, including architects, engineers, contractors and owners, have a detailed, ground level view of jobsite operations on an ongoing basis from anywhere – and not just when issues arise. The company was founded in 2009 and is based in Seattle, Washington. Visit us at www.geedra.com or call 206-299-0565