The Power of Inspection Analytics

Building equipment and locations must be routinely inspected for safety, insurance and to meet requirements established by code. Each inspection report is vital to a building’s overall operation.

Many building management teams conduct routine inspections, but not many collect analytics during their inspections. Analytics are a way of uncovering meaningful patterns in data that allow the user to quantify performance and recommend improvements.
Compiling valuable data from inspection reports helps to capture a building’s overall health. Inspection analytics show what was in order yesterday, what’s in order today and what will be in order five years from now.
Collecting data
There are two main types of analytics for inspections: portfolio and predictive. Portfolio analytics track the pieces of equipment and their locations within a building as well as the value of these assets. Predictive analytics help forecast the future needs of a building’s equipment and locations, such as when inspections and maintenance are required and their associated costs.
There are several types of data that can be collected during inspections, so it’s crucial to determine what’s important to capture for a particular building. For example, it may be useful to track items inspected, items remaining and how long it takes to complete various inspections. A building manager may also want to know how many deficiencies the inspections identified and how long it will take to resolve them. And it’s possible to capture when equipment requires maintenance (service dates) and when it requires full replacement (expiry dates).
Inspection analytics can be done in two ways: reviewing paper documents and manually collecting the data or through automated software. Some software solutions collect the data during the inspection. When the inspection report status is completed (i.e. “missing,” “requires service” or “all in order”), the software saves the data and automatically inputs it into dashboards and graphs.
Analyzing trends
Over time, data collected during inspections can reveal patterns or trends in a building, such as a piece of equipment that requires attention during the colder months of the year, or damage to equipment during high-traffic times (i.e. rush hour or tourist seasons). Identifying these trends is extremely beneficial, as it empowers building managers to make informed decisions that positively affect the bottom line, such as installing a particular system that will save money in the long term.
By capturing the overall health of the building, inspection analytics allow the building manager to stay organized and identify areas for improvement. These areas for improvement might include adding additional water fire extinguishers on street level during warmer months to extinguish small fires caused by cigarettes thrown in the dry soil. Analytics also equip managers to mitigate risk, such as reducing the time it takes to replace a defective extinguisher, by tracking which areas require attention and how long it will take for deficiencies to be resolved.
What’s more, inspection analytics enable managers to assess the building team’s performance — whether it’s completing inspections within an appropriate amount of time — which can inform training decisions. Equipment inspections that take longer than expected can suggest to managers that additional training is required to explain the importance of timely inspections for compliance. It can also indicate performance issues, which may require the manager to have conversations with staff. Alternatively, this data may show managers that the staffing levels may need to be adjusted in order to meet the inspection timelines. This will not only keep a building safer, but will also reduce its risk, ensure compliance and, in turn, protect the building’s brand.
Analytics show building managers when each piece of equipment requires maintenance and the costs associated with servicing. Knowing when maintenance is required allows managers to budget in advance (budget forecasting), which in turn reduces the risk of equipment failures resulting in high stress and pricy emergency service calls. This information also allows managers to develop maintenance schedules for their staff and determine appropriate staffing levels when needed. This further decreases inefficiencies, and in the end saves valuable resources.
Conducting inspections keeps buildings compliant and more importantly safe; inspection analytics offer a competitive advantage. Whether it’s staff optimization, maintenance planning, budget forecasting or reducing inefficiencies, inspection analytics are extremely beneficial. Most importantly, building management teams can save time and money, allowing them to focus on other tasks knowing that equipment is in working order.
Paul Amendola is chief executive officer of Tap Report., a firm that specializes in software solutions for inspection analytics, employee accountability during evacuations and mass notifications based in Toronto, Ont.
Published in CondoBusiness November 2015