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virtual inspections

ADAguy

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Sep 11, 2013
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6,070
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California
1. What medium would be used or accepted

2. How would it get from contractor to city

3. How will the city store it

4. Does the city have the storage capability

5. Quality of product

"Bluebeam" maybe the answer.
 

ICE

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Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,909
Location
California concrete jungle
The request slip said drywall.

Under normal circumstances there would be a possibility to inspect from pictures. However the job has two permits. Plumbing for a pex repipe and building for drywall. That sounds a lot like a B license but the drywall mentioned on the permit made it sound like a lot happened. There is a bunch of drywall replaced in the garage on the walls and the ceiling. So I thought it would be a good idea to see for myself. The contractor had no clue if the PEX passed inspection and then there's the grounding.

So the contractor says that he can't be there until after 2:00 but the owner can do a face time call. I called the owner and yes he said that he was prepared for a face time call. I tried and failed with the ipad, failed with the iphone and failed with the macbook. So I called the owner again and found out that he doesn't have an iphone.

I explained the situation to the owner and asked him to rely on the contractor for the inspection. Then I get a call from the contractor and I explain it to him.

So I commenced inspections with the rest of my customers. That involved several lengthy inspections during which the clueless contractor initiated 5 Face Time calls, 13 phone calls and a load of text messages.

At around 11:30 I answered the thirteenth call and told the contractor that I was in the middle of an inspection and would call him when I got done. At around noon I initiated a Face Time call. The contractor was driving down the street. He then tells me that the owners daughter has an Iphone.

I blocked his phone number. I wanted to do that sooner but I was in one inspection after another.

I contacted the owner and did the face time on his daughter's iphone. Primarily because the contractor had mentioned that the water heater was removed for the drywall work and I figured, correctly, that the occupants have no hot water. Reason # 49 why you should never hire a restoration company.
 
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ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,909
Location
California concrete jungle
I have been performing virtual inspections for six months. Nobody had a template. There was no training. The AHJ had nothing to offer. I had to figure it out while doing it. In the beginning I was skeptical. I now know that I should have done this years ago.

I do not have confidence that VRI will grow legs in the AHJ where I work. For the near term I will be able to continue but when the pandemic is over we will revert to the Flintstones. It will be difficult to return to duty when that happens. For starters, I’ll need a new wardrobe and a smaller steering wheel.
 
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north star

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
4,121
$ = $

ICE Man,


I think that the Scam-Demic or some affects of it will be a long term
condition...…...It won't be so bad reverting back to the stone age,
afterall, Fred & Barney both had hotty wives ( Wilma & Betty ) and

all of the brontosaurus burgers & ribs that they could eat.

$ = $
 

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,909
Location
California concrete jungle
$ = $

ICE Man,

I think that the Scam-Demic or some affects of it will be a long term
condition...…...It won't be so bad reverting back to the stone age,
afterall, Fred & Barney both had hotty wives ( Wilma & Betty ) and

all of the brontosaurus burgers & ribs that they could eat.

$ = $
That's where the term " She's a Betty" came from
 

ICE

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Joined
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Messages
9,909
Location
California concrete jungle
The AHJ that employs me has determined that virtual inspections are winding down. All inspectors will be required to repopulate the office and perform in-person inspections.

I have nineteen months of strictly virtual inspections. Here is some of what I know so far:

1. There is a place for virtual inspection (VI). That place has boundaries. Some work should always be inspected remotely while other work might never qualify for a virtual inspection. Roofing should always be a VI. Framing and rough MEPs seldom make sense for a VI. Smoke and CO alarm inspection should always be a video or live stream and I could write a paragraph on that benefit. Oh mygoodness do inspectors loathe alarm inspections. That's good for two to five trips.

2. The entire concept relies on the performance of the constituent. HVAC and water heater replacement inspections are universally the responsibility of the occupant. They answer the door and the inspector takes it from there. With a VI that same occupant is now the inspector. We get to see as much as the occupant can show us. That can be so disjointed, blurry and shaky as to be no inspection. Hence #4

4. Pictures are welcome for all VI and mandatory for some VI. A furnace requires pictures. Solar and electric panels as well as storage batteries require pictures. I speak from the experience of attempting to inspect these with just a live stream with a camera phone. Anything other than quality photos that allow me to study the work is foolish.
Therein lies a deal breaker for many. VI is limited by outside forces.

5. The long term viability of VI is contingent upon forewarning the constituent. At the time of permit issuance there must be exposure to the concept. If people understood the many benefits of VI, more would opt in. The tedious facets would evaporate.

Tedious facets? I have to call the requestor and ask them if VI would be possible. They are caught unaware. That takes explanation which they need to consider. They might have to contact a coworker before committing. They might need to learn how to operate a camera phone. Downloading pictures to a cloud file…and on it goes. Had they been exposed to this a month ago the chore would not be tiresome. Not to mention the lost time.

The people that were expecting a virtual inspection had no expectation of what is required. When I contact them on the day of the inspection it is the first time that they hear about taking pictures. Then conversation takes place on the details of cloud storage because email can’t handle the files.
Sadly, we have never figured any of this out. It's not like I haven't told anyone.


7. I approached VI as I do with the rest of the job. I created thirty-three handouts for everything from a service panel upgrade to a swimming pool demo but none of it caught on with anyone but me. I will be done with it before it emerges from beta testing.
 
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e hilton

Bronze Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
2,003
Location
Virginia
You skipped items 3 & 6. :}

My doctor does virtual visits for some followup stuff. Works ok, except they can’t even do things as simple as BP, pulse and temp. “So how is you cough? Still bothering you?” Hmm … maybe you should use a stethoscope to listen to my breathing. Oh yeah ... not possible.

Anyway,when i have a virtual call, there are at least 2 pre-calls with some assisant who has to test my connection and abilities. I don’t see the benefit. Now what i do like ... my doctors practice has a website where i can send messages and get a reply in a day. Prescription renewals. Test results. Hey, my back still hurts, do you want me to come in or change the medicine?
 

Rick18071

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Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
3,235
Location
Poconos/eastern PA
I wish I could do virtual inspections. Sometimes i need to drive 4 hours round trip for a simple 100 Amp re-connection service inspection. But the utility companies require me to put a sticker on the meter.
I'm a 3rd party electrical party inspector in 5 counties where the in house building inspector requires to see my sticker at the rough and final inspections. On a good day I can fit 3 inspections in 8 hours.
Over 100 townships and boroughs, and 3 electrical companies would have to change their ways for me to do virtual inspections.
 

ICE

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California concrete jungle
For a bunch of reasons, I have soured on the concept of Remote Virtual Inspections. Yesterday I attended a webinar related to RVI. There’s an elephant in the room. I might create a YouTube video and give the elephant a name.
 

ICE

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Messages
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California concrete jungle
ICC Recommended Practices for Remote Virtual Inspections (RVI)
ICC hosted the webinar that I mentioned. The purpose was to demonstrate the RVI software that is sold by Inspected.Com which is a Florida based company. There are a few such companies with slick software. The programs will schedule inspections, record pictures and video and keep track of the results. You can even take over the phone that is being used to show the work....you can zoom in and turn on the flashlight. Geotagging is built in so you can verify the location.

What the programs can't do is control the conditions on the other end.....can't teach the English language....or how to follow simple commands....can't ensure a decent wifi connection or a compatible phone....can't tech someone the basics of Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, FaceTime, etc....can't be sure that everything that should be seen was seen....can't .. can't .. can't....there's lots of downside and probably the biggest can't is that you are forced to have a level of trust in the result that just isn't realistic.

During the webinar a RVI inspection was performed. The inspection was a UFER connection to a rebar. They showed the clamp and since the wire was 1/0 they also showed the marking on the insulation. They did not show the length of the bar. That was it....just the UFER connetion. They mentioed that it would take ten times longer to get there than it did to perform the inspection. Then the contractor pointed out that the footing and slab inspection would be inspected in-person as it too complicated for RVI. Now I don't know about you, but I would expect to look at the UFER when I was inspecting the footing.....but hey now, they needed an example RVI and it was that.

There are quite a few YouTube videos showing jurisdictions hosting RVIs. All are staged like Pawn Stars. I think that they don't know what they don't know.

One from my experience:
The RVI was for the drywall of a new SFD. I had not done any inspections there before the drywall. The job card was signed with approvals for framing and rough meps. There was three bedrooms and four closets. I missed an electric panel located in a bedroom closet. Not only was it in a closet, but there was two feet clearance in front of the panel. The violation was caught at the final inspection by another inspector during an in-person inspection. That inspector had not done any inspections at that property prior to the final inspection.

I can't say for sure why I missed the panel. The signed job card is no excuse because I always pay attention for such things as this. Perhaps I saw enough drywall to be complacent about the rest of it or could it be that the contractor hid the fact, which I doubt. Needless to say, the owner was upset and blamed the inspectors, including me.
 
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patrickjames

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May 20, 2021
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44
Location
Georgia, United States
While I was out because my family had a cold , i used RVI for insulation inspections and some emergency no power inspections with contractors i felt comfortable with.

It should be up to the inspector to decide if they will accept and what they will not accept doing the RVI.
 

ICE

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Whoa. Did i miss an announcement? Voluntary retirement i hope.
The decision was mine alone and the reasons are many but voluntary hardly fits. I am an old dog that likes to learn new tricks so I might reinvent myself ....or if the world gets back to normal I could return to old habits in a new pen.
 
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Katy.Kjelvik

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Joined
Mar 4, 2021
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6
Location
Brooklyn Park, MN
$ = $

ICE Man,

I think that the Scam-Demic or some affects of it will be a long term
condition...…...It won't be so bad reverting back to the stone age,
afterall, Fred & Barney both had hotty wives ( Wilma & Betty ) and

all of the brontosaurus burgers & ribs that they could eat.

$ = $
The one thing I hate about my profession - men like you. I do NOT appreciate the verbiage & the remarks made. "both had hotty wives" Really?! Is it 1950?
 

ICE

Moderator
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,909
Location
California concrete jungle
The one thing I hate about my profession - men like you. I do NOT appreciate the verbiage & the remarks made. "both had hotty wives" Really?! Is it 1950?
One thing that you will not find on a job site is a female construction worker. I have met a few women contractors and solar companies have hired women to sit for inspections…..but wearing bags and handling a worm drive….doesn’t happen.

A woman looking in at men at work would benefit from thick skin. I am an unrepentant misogynistic Luddite and I must say, Shirley this forum has been remarkably respectful towards the fairer sex.
 
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