• Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by first logging in then clicking here: Upgrades

Body Cam on Enforcement Officer

jar546

*****istrator
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
8,169
Location
Palm Beach County Florida
The police are getting all new updated body cams and we are inheriting their old ones to be used by code enforcement to record interactions with the public and contractors when they respond to complaints. We already had an issue that became a "he said, she said" and the enforcement officer in question would have benefited by having the body cam footage as proof.

One of the things about body cams is that it changes the interaction from both sides with the knowledge it is recording you which can hopefully de-escalate some issues. The police chief let us know that body cams has worked for the better now that people know they are being recorded. Again, this is a 2 way street as both participants tend to be more diplomatic in most cases. This is not for building code use, just code compliance, aka property maintenance, etc.

Thoughts?
 

tmurray

Registered User
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
2,003
Location
NB, Canada
We have access to them, but rarely use them. One of the considerations is the number of parties required for consent. One party consent means that only one person needs to consent to the recording (the other party does not even need to be made aware they are being recorded in some cases), but there is also two party consent, which means both parties would need to consent to being recorded.

This does not even take into account the implications of recording someone on their own private property.

As you've said, they can be an excellent tool to ensure everyone remains civil, but we've also had what should be a mundane conversation explode because the other party was very upset we would even consider recording them.
 

Pcinspector1

Platinum Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
3,546
Location
MID WEST
I was once followed by an I-pad, good thing I brushed my teeth and combed my hair that day, was sure it was gonna be on Youtube.

I'm the good looking one on the video with the Clark Gable smile!
 

tbz

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
643
Location
Pennsylvania
I have had a GoPro on my hard hat for 6 years now. When people ask me about it, I simply say I use it to remember measurements or areas that I need to type into the report later. In the beginning I was questioned a lot, now a days no one even blinks. Has saved my butt tons of times.

So here is the way I see it, a GoPro on a hard hat said to be used for your own purposes, remembering an interaction can be one, and a body cam that pretty much screams hey we are watching you are two different things even though they do the exact same thing.

I also use a pair of my shooting glasses now AIMCAM- SEE IT YOUR WAY ; I still have the GoPro on the hard hat but seldom turn it on because of the glasses. but that is me.

My main use is for note taking, the body cam from what you are saying is strictly meant to record interactions.

Thus, perception
 

Yikes

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
1,684
Location
Southern California
I am a private architect, not a building inspector. But our professional liability attorneys have cited cases where an architect's representative took photos on a construction site visit , and in the periphery of the photo (not the main subject of the phot) was some non-code-compliant construction). During later court cases, these photos were submitted as evidence that the architect was aware of the nonconforming condition and did not initiate corrective action, and thus bore some measure of responsibility for tacitly approving the installation.

The attorney's advice was to save only the photos of what you really need when visiting a jobsite, label the photos as to their intended subject, and then delete all the other photos.
 

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,443
Location
California concrete jungle
Agree, with the advent of door bell cams, security cams and Mrs. Gladys Kravitz you should assume your being watched most of the time.
I quit ringing doorbells. I knock and nothing more. The doorbells can trigger not just a camera but also a conversation with the door. Quite often I would have written a "sorry I missed you" notice and be getting into my ride when I hear, "Who are you?". Now I am supposed to return to the front door and talk to it. Sometimes I am ten feet away and I hear a command to come back. Then I hear, "You can't leave, get back here." And away I go. When they complain I tell them that I thought it was a parrot. Now am I supposed to obey a parrot?

Some of the great new technology has made people rude and obnoxious. I guess I fit that description too.
 

tbz

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
643
Location
Pennsylvania
I am a private architect, not a building inspector. But our professional liability attorneys have cited cases where an architect's representative took photos on a construction site visit , and in the periphery of the photo (not the main subject of the phot) was some non-code-compliant construction). During later court cases, these photos were submitted as evidence that the architect was aware of the nonconforming condition and did not initiate corrective action, and thus bore some measure of responsibility for tacitly approving the installation.

The attorney's advice was to save only the photos of what you really need when visiting a jobsite, label the photos as to their intended subject, and then delete all the other photos.
Yikes,

IT doesn't matter who takes the photo or video, body cams are video, if they have the information from someplace it's still relevant.

IF the architectural firm is being paid to visit and review the site, IMO any infraction is on them even if they didn't see it, because they are being paid to catch it for the client.

Thus the fact something wrong happen IMO it's their fault! Don't need a picture for proof, simply the buck stops with the architect, because if the client is paying them to oversee the contractors and work / project. IMO can't claim not doing your job.

Own what you get paid for, That is just my opinion, the court IMO is there to just put a price for compensation.
 

Yikes

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
1,684
Location
Southern California
Yikes,

IT doesn't matter who takes the photo or video, body cams are video, if they have the information from someplace it's still relevant.

IF the architectural firm is being paid to visit and review the site, IMO any infraction is on them even if they didn't see it, because they are being paid to catch it for the client.

Thus the fact something wrong happen IMO it's their fault! Don't need a picture for proof, simply the buck stops with the architect, because if the client is paying them to oversee the contractors and work / project. IMO can't claim not doing your job.

Own what you get paid for, That is just my opinion, the court IMO is there to just put a price for compensation.
Yeah, but it actually doesn't work that way under most contracts or in real life. Most clients don't pay enough construction observation fee to the architect to provide sufficient observation time to catch all the contractor's infractions. So instead, the amount, and the limitations, of expected review get specified in the owner-architect contract.

If the contractual goal of architectural observation was to catch ALL the contractor's mistakes for them, then the only way to approach 100% certainty of catching everything is to have a 1:1 ratio of inspectors to laborers, performing continuous inspection. There are very few owners willing to pay for that.
Instead, most of us are are contracted to provide "periodic observation", which means we won't see everything that gets installed and hidden in between those times. Most owner-architects contract list the number of required site observations/intervals, and the level of review is for "general conformance in accordance with the contract documents" utilizing the architect's "ordinary standard of care", and the contracts specifically exclude "exhaustive or continuous inspections".

Furthermore, we may get called out for a special site visit to review just one specific problem, and the owner does not pay us to review the entire site while we're at it. Example:

In 2003, I had a large project where I was called out to visit the south end of the site to specifically review a framing problem/RFI. That's all I looked at that day, because that's all they called me out for; it was not one of the regularly scheduled "periodic inspections for general conformance". Meanwhile, that same day they were backfilling a basement retaining wall at the north end of the site, which I did not visit. In 2004 there was a storm that flooded a portion of the basement due to the poor installation. After forensic review, it turns out they did not install the burrito drain and waterproofing correctly before backfilling.
The contractor claimed that because I had stepped foot onsite on the day of backfill in 2003, I was responsible for having inspected and therefore approved (because I raised no objections) the wall drainage system at time of backfill. However, my project logs for the visit showed that the Purpose of Visit/ Items Observed was limited to "structural framing for RFI #48", indicating I was not reviewing, nor anywhere near, the backfilled wall.
 

tbz

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
643
Location
Pennsylvania
Agree and get it, on the flip side, I work on a good amount of projects were the architectural firm is there daily with a representative walking the site once a day or 2 to 3 days a week to record and report progress.

Not the average project, nor norm, but they seem to hoover over those that don't need it and walk by those that do all the time.
 
Top