FX103 SERIES | SITE VISITS FOR INSPECTORS & INSURERS
What checklists exist for inspectors?
A checklist can be a valuable job aid, tool, and a resource for inspectors. These provide a list of things to look for, to think about, to check on, to ensure compliance with. These can serve as a sort of roadmap, providing guidance and direction on what to look for. Checklists for inspectors can vary based on the inspector's responsibilities, expertise, and experience.
For example, the checklist for an inspector responsible for new construction and systems acceptance testing will look considerably different than the checklist for an inspector whose primary responsibility is existing building inspections, and still those inspection checklists will look different for those who serve in the private sector as building fire and life safety directors. No matter the role, the checklist is an important tool to have in the inspector's toolbox.
There is a variety of places where these checklists can be found. First, jurisdictional websites typically include a checklist of what will be required for plan review and submittal or how to prepare for a fire inspection. These are meant for the general public. If I'm a building owner I can access this checklist so that I know what items will be required for a plan submittal and approval. Or, if I’m a business owner I can access the inspection checklist so I know how to best prepare for an upcoming fire safety inspection. I mention these, because, although they are intended for the general public to use, these can be found in a Google search and utilized by the inspector. Especially, in areas where no checklists exists. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.
Another place to find inspection checklists are the two model code organizations - ICC International Code Council, and the NFPA National Fire Protection Association. These organizations provide and publish their own tools, resources, and checklists that are based on their codes and standard. Two specific ones from the ICC include the “Fire Inspectors Guide”, which is a small spiral-bound notebook that features the highlights of the international fire code (IFC) and provides a quick reference guide to specific sections of the code. It's a smaller book that can slide into your back pocket, or easily keep in your vehicle. Another useful tool from the ICC, is the “sprinkler plan review record” this document provides a checklist of items to review from the IFC, related to sprinkler plans review. It also provides a space to record notes.
The National Fire Protection Association has two different inspection manuals - the “Fire and Life safety inspection manual”, and the “fire protection systems: inspections, test and maintenance manual” - these are good tools that pull together relevant standards and create a checklist of items from each of those standards and brings them all together in these two guides.
Finally, there are a lot of software based inspection programs being used. Programs such as TargetSolutions, Building Reports, InspectPoint, Firehouse, MobileEyes, and a host of others, these all come with pre-packaged fire inspection checklists. But, also, these software solutions allow for customization. Inspectors can create their own checklist that is unique to the jurisdiction, facility, and inspection type or method.
Checklist use and application will vary for each inspector and will evolve throughout the inspectors career. As a young inspector, just starting out, new to the field, a full page, or multi-page inspection checklist may be used. A checklist that includes all important items - egress, fire protection systems, construction features. However, as the inspector advances in his career, knowledge, and expertise, the checklist may become smaller, and look a lot different. For me, I evolved from a long form checklist to a simple spiral bound, reporter's notebook. As I gained knowledge, and expertise, I knew what to look for, and I would jot down a few questions in my research prior to an inspection, and then record those answers, and all of my observations in the notebook.
There are many options and types of checklists. And many sources for finding these inspection tools. The most valuable checklist, however, is the job aid that provides the most usefulness to the individual inspector. The checklist that provides clear direction, a clear path, to completing the inspection and ensuring that all items are accounted for.
I’m Aaron Johnson, and this is MeyerFire University.
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