Whether you’re buying new property, planning a new use for an existing property, or simply caring for your property as it is, inspections are a regular part of commercial property ownership. It’s also a part of property ownership that is rapidly changing, becoming better, faster, and cheaper, thanks to new technologies.
Here are three technologies you need to know about, and how your inspection partners can and should use them to provide you with better service.
Mobile inspection software can significantly decrease inspection times and increase inspection quality, both for property condition assessments (PCAs) and third-party construction loan inspections. Here’s how.
Property Condition Assessments are an important part of purchasing new property, refinancing existing property, and understanding the condition of existing property. In the case of small properties, these can be done in as little as half a day, by one inspection professional. With larger properties, however, it can get much more complicated and time-consuming.
We recently completed PCAs for the State of Florida of 30 buildings, encompassing over 5 million square feet. On a project like this, mobile inspection software provided substantial cost and time savings, and produced a more valuable set of data. Our software enables our inspectors to quickly assess each area, and record data directly into the software using an application on a tablet.
The software converts raw field data into tables that calculate remaining useful life, cost to replace, and other valuable data that can then be made immediately and directly available to the property owner, manager, and other stakeholders. This technology allows our teams to assess large properties more efficiently and effectively, while providing higher quality data than ever before.
Third-party construction loan inspections are required by most financial institutions who provide lending on construction project. Field inspections are typically performed monthly and the progress of the construction is compared to the Contractor’s pay application. Time is of the essence with these, as funding and construction are dependent on their completion. Mobile inspection software like that used for PCAs allows inspection information to be uploaded from the field and reports provided to the lender the same day as the field inspection.
We’ve talked about the impact of drones (UAVs) on the inspection industry elsewhere, but it really can’t be overstated how much this technology is changing our industry. Cameras mounted on drones allow assessors to easily inspect areas that were previously inaccessible, such as building components located in the exterior walls of high rise buildings, sloped roofs, and many other places. This provides for significantly more complete information on Property Condition Assessments and Construction Loan Inspections without significant additional cost. Drones can also make the inspection faster, by reducing the need for walking every inch of a property.
Infrared technology is certainly not new to the inspection industry. However, combined with newer technologies, infrared cameras provide substantial new value. Mounted on a drone, an infrared camera can be used to quickly evaluate areas of air infiltration and exfiltration, and provide a report that enables property owners to identify problems and better seal their building envelope. This can be done even on buildings that were previously very difficult to access.
Likewise, the same two technologies can be used to identify moisture intrusion inside walls, which aids in identifying problems in the building envelope, including the roof, as well as in the aftermath of a storm or other water loss event. A thorough and rapid inspection can prevent the need for costly mold remediation. By mounting the infrared camera on a drone, difficult-to-access areas can be quickly inspected so that only areas affected by moisture require access by a person.
Inspection companies, like GLE, that combine all three technologies can offer faster, cheaper, better property assessments of all types. Contact us today to schedule your next inspection.
Bob Greene, PE, PG, CIH, LEED AP
As the founder and president of GLE, Bob Greene leads a highly diverse team of architects, engineers, environmental consultants, and construction experts to design fast and effective property solutions. He has served in the architecture, engineering, environmental consulting and remediation, and general construction arenas for nearly 40 years.