After discussing bridge inspections with 50+ engineers and studying over 100 different reporting formats, we have discovered 3 tips to help you put together better bridge inspection reports.
Is it an excel spreadsheet? A PDF? How many pictures per page? All of these are questions often asked by engineering firms to their clients when deciding how a report should look. It is important that you meet their reporting needs as they often have a pre-determined process or system in place to receive, read and store reports. Even so, this does not mean that bridge inspection engineers cannot modify and improve reports for their clients. Among the 50 engineers we spoke to, there are many who explained they are constantly finding new ways to improve their reporting and received very positive feedback on suggested changes to clients. At the end of the day, the report you deliver to your clients should reflect your work, company and brand in the best way possible.
3 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR REPORTING:
Include Repair and Maintenance Recommendations with Cost Estimates
Include Drawings and Sketches to Better Specify Defect Locations
Highlight Defects in Pictures
TIP 1- Include Repair and Maintenance Recommendations with Cost Estimates
Detecting defects and showcasing them in the report is an important exercise but it’s only part of the maintenance & repair process. Approximating repairs costs is another important addition to your clients as it will them optimize their repair budgets.
While it may seem challenging, cost data is not hard to find. For instance, take a look at this online guide for repair costs estimates for bridge spalling on parapet walls.
TIP 2- Include Drawings and Sketches to Better Specify Defect Locations
At times it can be difficult to convey the location of a defect with words, therefore a technique that’s becoming more and more popular is to use drawings like the one below:
Information that can be included in a drawing is:
Adding drawings to better convey location will help your clients find the defects easier and attend to them faster.
TIP 3- Highlight Defects in Pictures
With hundreds of pictures inside a report, it can be tricky and exhaustive for the client to guess the area of concern specifically with pictures that include multiple problems. For this reason, it is best to guide your client and allow them to easily understand the problem at hand by highlighting it inside the picture.
If the defect wasn’t highlighted, it could be assumed that the problem in this photo is the debris.
In addition to these tips, it is important to keep your reports consistent. Deliver the same piece of information formatted in the way your client needs and is used to.
Improve your report using Data Recon without worrying about additional time and cost
Hopefully these tips were useful, and you will keep them in mind for your next bridge inspection. Our software platform Data Recon is a leading bridge inspection software that will drastically help improve your reports at scale.
Data Recon’s mobile app enables you to capture notes and highlight problem areas in your pictures in-field. It also automatically links them together and makes sure they are inserted in their right place in your final report in a clean tabular format. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to check a report sample.
Learn more about Data Recon here.