FX103 SERIES | SITE VISITS FOR INSPECTORS & INSURERS
What software exists for inspectors?
Though there are hundreds of different types of software that an inspector may use I want to highlight three categories of software that are often utilized. And I will provide just a few examples of each. The three functions an inspector may use a software solution for is - inspections, third-party reporting, codes and standards research.
When I say inspection software what i am referring to is the software that a fire department utilizes when they go out into the field to actually conduct inspections. These are digital replacements of those old paper inspection forms.
Inspection software benefits include, instant completion and documentation of the inspection, digitally stored, easily accessed, accessible from anywhere. The inspection can be performed using a phone or tablet, and may be application based, web based, or stand alone system. There are several different types and options of these, each having their own unique set of features and benefits.
I started my career using Firehouse software. It was used by a lot of departments, and there weren’t really any competitors at the time. Firehouse software is now owned by ESO and has a completely new look and feel, compared to those early Firehouse versions. Emergency Reporting is also owned by ESO, so together, ESO can provide a software package, a records management system (RMS), the whole fire department can utilize.
OnSite Software and MobileEyes are other software based inspection platforms that have been around for almost 20 years, and are both highly regarded.
TargetSolutions is newer to the software space. It is traditionally used by fire departments for training, and company inspections. However, its customization features make it a great tool for the inspector to use. It can be fully customized to meet the jurisdictions needs or special inspection criteria.
The second category of software is third party reporting. Third party reporting software is cloud or web based and connects the AHJ/fire code official, the property owner, and the service provider. This software keeps all parties informed as to the condition of compliance for critical fire protection and life safety systems. There are several software companies operating in this space.
Probably, the two most widely used are, Inspection Reports Online (IROL), or The Compliance Engine. Due to the advancement of software in the fire service and fire inspection in particular, the National Fire Protection Association created two new documents to address useability, security, systems and processes. These are NFPA 950, Standard for Data Development and Exchange for the Fire Service, and NFPA 951, Guide to Building and Utilizing Digital Information.
ACCESS, NAVIGATE, RESEARCH CODES AND STANDARDS
The final category of software that an inspector may use is software to help access, navigate, and research the codes and standards.
Each of the model code organizations, ICC and NFPA, have their own platforms for accessing their codes. Free access to these is read only and cannot be manipulated, saved, shared, or printed. However, each of these organizations also have a paid feature option which does allow for the codes to be saved, annotated, printed, and shared, these are NFPA Link, and ICC Digital Codes Premium.
The third option is a software company called Upcodes.
UpCodes free version provides full access, saving, printing, and sharing of the codes and standards for almost all jurisdictions. Their paid features include bookmarks, projects, collaborations, and code section illustrations. Additionally, UpCodes provides access to the adopted codes from multiple code making organizations. In addition to the ICC and NFPA, they also provide access to ANSI, ASME, IAPMO, ASHRAE, and OSHA standards.
Inspections, third-party reporting, codes and standards research - Utilizing software for these three functions can create a much more effective and efficient fire inspection process.
I'm Aaron Johnson this is Meyer fire University.
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Aaron Johnson, CFEI
Al Yakel, SET
Chris Campbell, PE
Chris Logan, CFPS, RSE
David Stacy, PE
Ed Henderson, PE
Joe Meyer, PE