The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with Measuring Devices

The Good
Over the last 25 years, field inspections have changed dramatically thanks to the technological advancement of measuring devices. Today high-tech measuring devices such as moisture meters and infrared thermometers are finding their way into property inspections as they have been known to make the process much more efficient and accurate.

The three most common types of measuring devices that are used in property inspections today are a tape measure, a laser measuring device, and a wheel measure.

Let’s take a look at these three types of measuring devices and assess the good, the bad, and the ugly:

1. Tape Measure
The Good
A tape measure is probably the most economical measuring device available, with prices starting around $20. It does not require batteries to operate, and you can count on it lasting for years to come as it’s extremely durable. The measuring tape is retractable, making it a very compact tool to carry around with you to property inspections.

The Bad
It can be difficult to find a tape measure that extends beyond 100 feet, which can lead to some frustration (and potential inaccuracies) when inspecting a larger property.

The Ugly
You typically need two people to be able to measure a long distance accurately with a tape measure. As a field inspector, having a second person available is not always an option. It can also be incredibly time consuming to rely on a tape measure.

2. Laser Measuring Device
The Good
In an effort to be more efficient with inspections, many field inspectors are taking advantage of laser measuring devices to get faster measurements. These devices are compact, making it easy to carry on the job. They also don’t require two people to complete longer measurements.

The Bad
Just like any other hand-held electronic device that you own, a laser measuring device operates on a battery and needs to be charged. Factors such as lighting or weather conditions can negatively impact the accuracy of laser measuring devices. It’s also necessary that the user have steady hands when calculating measurements with a laser measuring device.

The Ugly
Laser measuring devices can be incredibly expensive, with a quality device starting at about $100.

3. Wheel Measure
The Good
Measuring wheels come in various sizes and offer the option for manual or digital measurements. Computing measurements with a measuring wheel is just a one-man job, and these devices are generally very affordable.

The Bad
The diameter of the wheel can lead to some inconveniences, such as making it more difficult to transfer between job sites.

The Ugly
Using a measuring wheel is not always the most accurate way to determine measurements. For instance, if there are obstacles in the way, you may not get an accurate reading. Also, if the wheel has to ride over some rough or soft terrain, you may not be able to get an accurate measurement.

Now that we’ve weighed the pros and cons of each of the 3 main types of measuring devices, the next question that you should ask yourself is if you should care about which type of measuring device a field inspector is using to assess the risk of a property.

The answer is yes, absolutely. Here are 3 ways that the choice of measuring device can affect the outcome of a property inspection:

1. Cost
You’ve certainly heard the expression “you get what you pay for.” Considering that an investment in the latest measuring technology can cost a pretty penny, field inspections completed with this type of technology may cost more. However, the speed and accuracy in which these field inspections can be completed may outweigh the higher cost.

2. Accuracy
The point of having a field inspection is to ensure that risks have accurately been assessed. In most scenarios, a laser measuring device will produce the most accurate measurements. However, there may be circumstances where a shorter distance needs to be measured, making the measuring tape the ideal choice. Be sure to ask field inspectors how they ensure accuracy when completing measurements.

3. Turn-Around
Speeding up the turnaround time without compromising quality is a priority for field inspectors. Relying on a tape measure to take measurements of a large space is time consuming and usually requires that a second person be there to assist. While a measuring wheel can eliminate the need for the second person, it’s also not has fast as a laser measuring device.

Be sure to take into account the good, the bad, and the ugly with the different types of measuring devices as well as how using each device can directly impact cost, accuracy, and turn-around time.