Municipal records and interviews with two former building inspectors – Alan Abraham and Arthur Lacey – show that most of the photographs were taken to accompany reports submitted to the Committee on Works. As Mr. Abraham explained
"I was working for George West [the Commissioner of Works] as Building Inspection Supervisor. The function of that [job] was to order [the demolition of] dilapidated buildings in the city, particularly those that were in the way, if you like, of what [Gordon] Stephenson wanted to happen in inner core of Halifax. So, we set about to examine these buildings, and those that were found to be structurally unfit for habitation, we’d order them demolished." (Alan Abraham, interview by Sharon Murray, Jan. 26, 2017, transcript).
Abraham and other building inspectors were tasked with identifying, photographing, and writing reports on buildings that did not comply with Ordinance No. 50, “Respecting Minimum Standards for Housing Accommodation.” These reports – accompanied by the photographic evidence – were brought to the Committee on Works, which would hold a Public Hearing regarding the buildings, and in most instances, ordered them demolished within a few months, at the owner’s expense, according to the procedures for removing or destroying dilapidated buildings.
Notes written on the back of the photographs sometimes indicate the reason the building or property was being assessed by the Works Department and occasionally list the name of the property-owner and/or the person who made the complaint about its unsightliness. This information is captured in the description accompanying each photograph in the Archives Database. Otherwise, details about why a specific building or property was photographed by the Works Department may be found by searching through minutes for the Committee on Works. Their minutes show that thousands of demolitions were ordered between 1958 and 1965.