Office work has changed dramatically over the last few years, particularly in 2020 with the event of COVID-19, as the informatisation of our workload has really and truly been forced upon us, whether we like it or not. But what’s not to like? We now have, more than ever, an array of software tools to make our life easier and jobs lighter.
Even stuck-in-our-ways surveyors are coming around to using IT to help during the party wall process. We’re sharing our own experience with using online software for typical surveying tasks such as the editing and sharing of files and images.
In some circumstances, particularly where two surveyors are appointed to oversee the party wall process, an exchange of photographs and other documents is necessary. Photographs nowadays, even those taken on mobile phones, can be considerably sized files and when you think that you don’t just take one but dozens of them, that makes sharing them as an email attachment a rather difficult task. Surveyors used to burn them to a disk and post them to their opposite number but now, they’re often sent via file sharing services such as Dropbox or Wetransfer. These are both online-based software tools, so no need to install software on your machine and you have easy access from any location and device.
Issuing Awards Electronically
Since the implementation of the electronic communications directive in 2016, more and more building and adjoining owners are opting to receive their party wall documents in electronic format, via email, rather than as hard copies through the post – hooray! Saving the trees, the time, and the postage costs! These documents generally start out in Word format, but in order to send them as final signed documents, they are then converted to a .pdf format.
With some documents, simply saving them as a .pdf is sufficient, and if there are a few additional components, these can be sent as separate files. However, that’s not so simple with party wall awards. A typical award will include several components some of which are signed such as: the Award itself, the Documents’ Register and the Schedule of Condition report. In addition there are often several design drawings and other relevant items.
Professionals insist that the whole document is to be presented with these components in a specific order and although saving each one as a .pdf is easy enough, collating them so that it can be sent as a complete document is more complicated, and surveyors will often print off each component, then manually collate them before scanning the whole thing to create the final PDF document which can result in quality loss and misalignment.
There are a few online software options to help you with this, and probably the most well-known one is Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. But we recently discovered is Smallpdf. This simple-to-use programme allows the user to pull together the components of the award document and then arrange them in the desired order, before downloading them to your desired location. Quick and efficient, this software’s monthly subscription is very reasonable in comparison to Adobe and perfectly adequate for a non-technical user, who doesn’t need complicated, specialised features.
Using online software can be very simple, if you use the right tools for the job. This has always been TriggerPoint’s mission! Our software was developed and design with simplicity as our number one priority; to make sure it was straightforward, uncomplicated and stress-free. And because we’re serious about how easy it is, we offer a free demo, so you can test it before you commit.
For more information about TriggerPoint Software or to arrange an interactive online demonstration, please call us on 020 3858 0844, or get in touch.