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Process Improvement

Keep Projects Moving Safely with Remote Inspections

Maria Scudella

Learn how to utilize remote inspections to keep projects moving during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has changed the way many businesses operate. Following social distancing measures, SAFEbuilt has stayed ahead of the curve to keep client projects moving. We strive to be the leader in innovative solutions for our clients, including the use of remote inspections.

What are Remote Inspections?

Simply put, a remote inspection uses video technology to transmit a live video feed from the area being inspected back to a SAFEbuilt inspector. The inspector remains a safe distance away, either on site and outside of inspection area, or totally off site. Today, SAFEbuilt performs remote inspections nationally, including for communities in Colorado, Georgia, and Florida.

The most common and ideal scenarios for remote inspection include:

  • Water heater and furnace replacements
  • Window and siding replacements
  • Kitchen remodels
  • Basement finishes
  • Other minor inspections in occupied homes
  • Commercial electrical inspections

How are Remote Inspections Done?

There are important factors to consider in developing this process, starting with client agreement and an understanding their technology capabilities. Usually all that is needed for these types of inspections is a video-capable phone or iPad on site.

Since the International Code Council (ICC) has not universally weighed in with what’s required for a remote inspection to be acceptable, the decision to perform one needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  SAFEbuilt requires a signed agreement in all cases.

  • Residential Remote Inspections – At the scheduled time, the inspector calls the resident and walks them through the inspection process, verifies code compliance, and captures images and video footage. At the end of the video inspection, the inspector recaps any needed corrections and enters the inspection results in CommunityCore. Finally, the video inspection is documented in a tracking log.
  • Commercial Remote Inspections – As with typical in-person inspections, the inspector and contractor work closely together. The contractor video calls the inspector at the scheduled time and the contractor walks the site. Together, they review the necessary aspects of the inspection. The results are documented as they are for in-person inspections.

Common Video Platforms

Centennial, Colorado Building Official Tim Moroney alongside Centennial Deputy Building Official Nick Chand used feedback they had received from contractors and opted to use Skype and FaceTime, since these are user friendly platforms and can be used on mobile devices.

Additionally, Electrical Inspector/Plans Examiner Ray Poirier at MTCI Private Provider, one of our family brands, uses FaceTime to complete inspections with contractors for our private provider service line in Florida.

In Windsor, Colorado, Building Official Caleb Sulzen and his team utilize these methods along with specialized detection software. Overall, inspectors have welcomed and easily adapted to this new process and type of service for our clients after quick training.

What’s the Result?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our clients are impressed by our team’s creativity and forward thinking. By conducting remote inspections, we’re able to limit our staff’s exposure in the field while continuing to serve our clients’ needs.

To date, SAFEbuilt has successfully conducted over 200 remote inspections. It’s a rewarding experience, closely aligned with our core values, to be able to help our clients, contractors, and residents achieve a safe alternative to keep their projects moving.

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