Site inspections are a fundamental part of any construction project. They ensure that work is being done properly, to the required quality standard, on schedule and within all health and safety norms.
It is crucial that project leaders and decision-makers have a clear oversight that the job is progressing properly, so the work of site inspectors plays a vital role here – they are tasked with ensuring that any problems with the work are flagged up and quickly solved, avoiding greater problems down the road and the costs and delays that will inevitably ensue.
Their inspections will help to prevent injuries and illnesses among workers on-site, to avoid substandard work from affecting the construction schedule, and to ensure that once the building has been completed and handed over, it will operate exactly as it should.
Step One – Preparing For The Inspection
An inspector needs to ensure they have all the right tools to carry out the inspection – hard hat, work boots, camera, tape measure, etc – but the most important tool is the relevant documents.
The key to good inspection preparation is good document management. The inspector must be able to source the most up-to-date drawings to work off, then use these drawings to plan the inspection and create a check-list to complete.
If the inspector is relying on paper documents, this can be complicated process and sourcing drawings and ensuring they are the latest version can take up lots of valuable time.
If the project is using an integrated digital software solution, the inspector’s job is made a whole lot easier in this regard – access to the latest drawings is available immediately and at their fingertips on their tablet or smartphone. The will also have the full timeline of when the work was done and by whom.
Step Two – Performing The Inspection
Once their prep work is complete, the inspector will then walk the site and check to see if what has been built matches what has been specified in the drawings and plans. They will go through their checklist to makes sure that all work has been carried out as required, up to standard in terms of quality, and within all the safety regulations.
Using traditional methods, this will involve ticking their checklists using pen and paper, or scribbling down notes in the field, only to have to type them up later, essentially duplicating this element of the task. They might take photos of any defects they find, using their smartphone or digital camera.
Using a digital app, such as Zutec’s Elevation offering, the inspector can mark-up drawings easily while they are out on-site. They can also create and fill out their inspection report while they are out in the field, simplifying their task and cutting down on unnecessary admin work.
The can also easily and immediately attach photos to relevant checklists – again with the Zutec app these can be saved directly to the cloud, from where they will be accessible by the relevant stakeholders.
Step Three – Reporting On The Inspection
Traditionally, an inspector would have to make notes of all their observations, go back to the office, type up their report, download and attach their photos, and email the package to the head contractor and other stakeholders such as the owner or architect. It would then be disseminated to the relevant subcontractors for any substandard work to be repaired or completed, again often using phones, emails, texts.
Using a digital solution greatly speeds up this process. The report is being compiled on the tablet or smartphone while the inspector is still walking the site, photos are easily attached, and then the finished report is instantly shared to the cloud and available to all who need to see it.
This also makes the information easier to the transfer on to subcontractors who will be involved in solving any issues.
Working with a digital solution means records of site inspection activities are saved for future reference and makes life easier for the main contractor in terms of handover to the project owner.
“Use of collaboration platforms like Zutec allows you to disseminate, or to send that information to all responsible parties so that they know the defects list,” says Zutec’s business development manager Daniel DaSilva.