COVID-19 has brought forth many challenges in the last year, and it has pushed our slowly evolving industry into adopting many new ways of conducting business, one of which being virtual inspections from our local inspecting authorities. Many of the counties that we work with have put in place some stringent requirements as it relates to social distancing and minimizing exposure to their staff on the job site. With the advancements in technology, many counties have moved to conducting virtual inspections through Facetime or a similar video call in an effort to keep the workflow moving while accommodating their new standards for employee safety. We have found that our inspections have been rather unimpeded going through this new process while it has required some additional record keeping from ourselves and our subcontractors, it has provided some efficiencies for our inspector’s where they are able to get through more inspections throughout the day by eliminating the driving between the various job sites.
So the question that I have is, will this become a new best practice that we see moving into the future or something that will cease to exist once we get through these challenging times? From several of the articles that I have read on this subject, I believe that virtual inspections are here to stay in a hybrid approach where certain inspections will be conducted virtually, such as in-wall rough-ins, insulation, and others like elevator and life safety inspections will continue to be conducted in person. As the industry continues to shift more towards leveraging technology such as electronic plan submission and electronic permit issuance, it will be interesting to see what other changes are forthcoming in our industry, stay tuned to find out.
Andrew Rahrig, LEED AP
Vice President, Construction
The Douglas Company
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