The coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions may prevent you or your inspectors going to the jobsite to conduct in person inspections, and unfortunately, a large number of teams within building departments stated that they weren't performing remote inspections when there was no other option
The consequences of not inspecting in a timely manner at all is like signing a blank check payable to someone else's lawyer, or putting the project on hold - and clearly that's unacceptable.
Fortunately, though, there is an alternative. Using mobile technologies, you or the contractor located either on the job site or somewhere else can see what you need to do and carry out this inspection remotely.
This approach requires personnel on the jobsite to rigorously document the proper completion of work on a mobile inspection app for your review and approval. They should take an enhanced version of the approach to documentation as if you or your inspectors were going to inspect in person.
So how do you enhance checklists for virtual inspections?
If you want see the inspection like you were there and in ways that prevent fakes, consider some enhancements to your checklists.
- Add checkpoints for every detail you want documented. You can’t trust everyone to check the same things you do. Checkpoints make it required.
- Word checkpoints in a way that proves the information they are reporting is the real thing. A good start is reporting real data on how many were checked, e.g. sq. ft., counts or reporting model numbers. When using measurement devices record actual measurements, together with a photo of the reading on the device. This detail is essential and will lend credibility to the report.
- Require that the personnel take lots of high definition pictures following the best practices of virtual building inspections. Any checkpoint detail that can be photographed, should be. These pictures are your eyes on the jobsite, so be specific about what you need to see to be able to approve the work. Supplement the pictures with a requirement for a picture survey of the inspected work.
- Require a sign-off by the inspector.
- Require a sign-off by you.
- The inspection is documented in a credible way that prevents hacks. Time and GPS stamps on pictures and minute by minute activity logs can be a tremendous help.
- The inspection process is simple enough for someone to use with little or no training.
- The process can operate on anyone’s phone or tablet. An all in one screen for handling the inspection, photos and reporting issues is essential.
- The application is cloud based so you can view real-time progress and answer any questions the inspector might have.
So, who can inspect?
As a preference, the personnel that performed the work should carry out the remote inspections, or anyone that you can train to use the app to deliver the inspection to the required level.
It's never too late to start, so get on with the virtual inspection right away! Mockup an inspection as a training model. Walk your personnel through the inspection process and be sure to support your team. For their first remote inspections, stay on the phone with them as they inspect. View the inspection on your web screen and view each picture as it is uploaded. Check that it is correct. In this way you can give immediate feedback and help to develop your team.
You’ll soon know when your inspector is ready to fly on their own.
But remember, you are still responsible for final approval of each inspection, so don't take a hands-off approach just because you are conducting the inspection remotely. Review the inspections as they come through. Blow them up to explore the details and sign-off only when you are satisfied. As a by-product, you'll probably find that you have better documentation of the properly completed work than you normally have for your own inspections.
And there's additional benefits. You may find that your productivity improves and that this remote inspection process is something you wish to continue even when you can travel again with most inspections. Think of the time and money saved.
If you would like a demonstration of how you can implement remote virtual inspections with the FTQ360 platform, then please schedule a live demo with us.
We hope you found this blog article interesting and useful. This type of information will enable the inspector or inspection teams performing remote inspections to conduct them in a much more efficient manner. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch. At FTQ360, we're serious about quality. If you are too, we'd love to talk.