FX103 SERIES | SITE VISITS FOR INSPECTORS & INSURERS
What tools are helpful to conduct onsite inspections?
So, this is sort of a loaded question because the answer to this is so varied. There are inspectors that come with nothing, they don't carry any tools or any items with them. In contrast, there are inspectors that come with a fully loaded bat belt of supplies.
The tools an inspector may bring to a site are going to differ based on the inspection type. For example, a fire alarm inspection, fire sprinkler inspection, hydrant flow test, or some other special inspection; these are going to require some more specialized tools that the inspector may not always carry.
Or, an inspector may rely on the contractor to provide these tools.
Some of these items may be things such as a light meter, a decimeter, a pitot tube and flow gauge, or even something simple as a ladder.
Aside from specialized inspection tools, there are few general items that an inspector may want to have readily available.
These would include a flashlight, a measuring tool such as a tape or wheel, a camera, maybe some inspection cheat sheets and checklist, and current applicable codes or standards. Now with today's technology, all of these tools can be rolled into one --- the smartphone. The phone has a flashlight, It has a camera, simple measuring apps are available, inspection checklists and the full library of codes and standards are at your fingertips.
Above all, however, the most important tool which is also available on your smartphone, the single tool that an inspector should always travel with is -- a documentation method.
This can be a pen and paper, it can be digital with a tablet, or a notes app, or it can be purpose-built inspection software program. Documentation is everything! If it isn't documented, then it didn't happen.
Having something to document with let's the inspector remember what he looked at. It provides a clear record of the inspection that has taken place, the inspector can document what was seen, what was done, and what needs to be followed up on. Any questions that may require further code research can be written down. If a special tool is needed, that can be documented for the return visit.
There’s a lot of cool tools on the market for inspectors. But, really the only tool that’s needed is a smartphone, or even just a pen and piece of paper.
I'm Aaron Johnson, this is MeyerFire 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