First things first: there's not one perfect solution for diagramming a property or structure. Sometimes you're working on a floor plan, or an elevation. Sometimes you're using Spike or EagleView. It really depends on the case.
If you're not the estimator on a given project, then someone else will need to reference your diagram to do their job. From this document, that estimator will need to get dimensions of every single facet of a structure/area in order to provide an accurate estimate of what's needed next. Therefore, it's crucial that you approach diagramming with a certain degree of granularity and clarity in order for the Scope to be a true representation of the property in question.
The main goal is to have a couple of tools in your tool belt, keep in mind the level of fidelity that you need for the job you're doing, and find a solution or two that works best for you.
Think about diagramming in terms of structures and areas - the same way that you can think about a SpexReport.
Roof Measurements: here are some tips on diagraming for a Roof.
- You can import an EagleView file to Spex.
- Or, take a photo of a specific slope on the roof, and use Spex's Annotation tools to add straight lines and text.
- Or, use Planimeter (see: App Store or Google Play store) for structures with no slope on the roof, such as large commercial buildings or flat-roof residential houses.
Elevations: here are some tips on diagramming for Exterior Elevations.
- If you have Spike (see: App Store or Google Play store) - the laser and the app - use it for a large elevation. You can export from Spike directly to Spex.
- Or, use Photo Measures (see: App Store or Google Play store), where you can manually draw the measurements on top of an elevation in a photo. You can also export from Photo Measures directly to Spex.
- Or, use Spex to add straight lines and text to a photo of an elevation.
Diagrams of interiors can really depend on the requirements of the carrier.
If you need a full floor plan:
- Bosch MeasureOn (see: App Store or Google Play store) is a great tool for diagramming full floor plans. You can export from Bosch directly to Spex.
- Show how various rooms, hallways, and stairways intersect.
- Keep it to-scale.
- If you can access blueprints of the property, you can take pictures of the area(s), crop out anything you don't need, then import the photo(s) into the area(s) in your inspection. If you need to, you can also take a photo of the overall floor plan and drop it into Attachments in the inspection.
If you only need a single-room diagram:
- Rigid Sketch (see: App Store or Google Play store) works great for a quick, single-room diagram. We don't recommend you use this app for multiple rooms. However, you can still import a Rigid Sketch file into Spex.
If these apps don't suit you, you can always sketch it:
- Penultimate (App store) is a good tool - if you have the Apple Pencil - to hand-draw a diagram on your device. You can export from Penultimate directly to Spex.
- Graph paper: sometimes apps just won't be right for your needs, so there's always the old graph paper and pencil method. All you'll need to do is take a photo of your final diagram and then import it to the right Structure/Area.
A few quick do's and don'ts about Diagramming
- DO clarify the level of fidelity that you need for an inspection. It will help you determine what tools/resources you need to use for diagramming.
- DO take a good quality photo of a structure/area if you're using tools like Photo Measures or Rigid, or if you're using Spex to capture images and annotate directly within the app.
- DO experiment with different tools. Like we said, there's no one, perfect solution for all of your needs. Test different tools out to figure out which one is right for you and your workflow.
- DON'T forget to include and label doors, windows, and other features that are important to a structure/area.