In the wake of Covid-19, an entirely new cottage industry has popped up. Virtual pool inspections are becoming increasingly popular in the state of Florida, where new legislation recently enacted now means pool inspections can be done remotely.
Traditionally pool inspections are performed by certified pool inspectors or home inspectors that are able to submit an official report on the overall condition of the home owners pool and equipment. Pool inspections are vital as they are used to determine if pools comply with local building and safety regulations. These inspection reports also help home buyers and homeowners identify any potential safety hazards or repairs that need to be made.
A white-hot market for the construction of swimming pools has seen the demand for these services increase dramatically. The process of getting an inspection done traditionally involved scheduling a date and time for the inspector to come out to visit the job site.
Changes in Legislation Open The Industry To Virtual Pool Inspections
Changes to Florida legislation were recently made to streamline that process. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, a bottleneck began to occur for many builders. An incredible backlog of requests for inspections and a drastically reduced number of inspectors who were available to perform them helped ease the pathway for legislation to allow virtual pool inspections.
The need for virtual inspections increased as the pandemic created hurdles for inspectors and builders. Photo Credit: ICC
Why the need for Virtual Inspections?
Recent changes to Section 553.79, allowed a “state or local enforcement agency” to “perform virtual inspections”. Starting on July 1, 2021, SB 1382 now requires building authorities to allow virtual inspections to be performed remotely and submitted electronically.
As the Sunshine state adjusts to the new rules and regulations regarding inspections, one firm recently has emerged as a leading service provider. We sat down with Inspected.com President – Anthony Perera to find out more about their offering and how they are looking to partner with the pool industry.
Utilizing new technology in the field
As we now enter our second year of the pandemic, people have adjusted to doing business virtually. Remote office workers became all too familiar with products like Zoom as they began to rely on these services to conduct business using video conferencing technology. The inspected platform is based on a similar concept but is tied directly to the inspection process.
“We developed a patent-pending technology that geolocates the conference call to a specific job site,” said Perera, “we realized that with the passing of all these laws and with these new house bills that municipalities were allowing third-party providers to perform single-trade inspections around the country. That’s kind of how and why Inspected was born.”
Perera who was an HVAC contractor by trade has rolled out an impressive platform allowing virtual inspections to occur remotely. “We essentially replace the city inspector on job sites,” said Perera, “Gone are the days when you would get to a certain stage in that pool inspection, and would have to stop the project and call up the city inspector to do that inspection ; we’re able to do that in real time now.”
Streamlining the Inspection Process for Pool Builders
The technology will greatly streamline the process for builders as well says Perera, “The efficiencies we create are when that crew is at that phase in the project, they can join one of our licensed inspectors virtually at that specific time and we’ll be there for them to do an inspection on their behalf.”
Virtual inspection platforms aim to streamline the process for builders. Photo Credit: Inspected.com
What’s Different About Virtual Pool Inspections?
One of the biggest differences between a regular pool inspection and a virtual pool inspection is obviously that the inspector is not physically on-site. “The contractor becomes the avatar for our inspector,” said Perera, “We have our checklist based on the municipality, of the items we have to inspect. We run through the checklists, take the photos, and perform the proper documentation to ensure all of the code standards have been met.”
During a virtual pool inspection, the process is very similar to what would normally be conducted in an on-site inspection says Perera. “Our inspectors are driving the contractor around the job site and telling them, show me this, show me that and at the same time documenting all of these processes.”
Benefits of Virtual Pool Inspections
Perera feels this is a more thorough documentation process than what would typically occur in an on-site inspection. A physical inspection occurring visually relies on the inspector to write a report based on their inspection. Conversely, during a virtual pool inspection, all of the video, photos, and the entire session of the inspection are actively stored in the cloud. One of the more unique aspects of Inspected.com’s proprietary video conferencing platform is its ability to geolocate each inspection session. What this effectively does is correlate all of the data collected in the virtual inspection to a physical address.
Why Builders May Consider Moving Towards a Virtual Inspection Platform
One of the biggest benefits of moving towards a virtual inspection platform is accessibility in terms of setting an appointment on a more flexible schedule than builders are accustomed to. Perera says the average amount of time to perform a virtual inspection on their platform is approximately 10 minutes which is substantially shorter than an in-person inspection. Another key benefit is that the reporting is still coming from trusted and vetted inspectors, says Perera, who mentioned that all of Inspected.com’s inspectors are either ICC certified or state-certified.
Ultimately, Perera says virtual inspections create a more seamless process for builders and expects mass adoption soon. While not available everywhere, virtual inspections are slowly being introduced to different cities, states, and municipalities. Here is some information about what some jurisdictions are doing to adapt virtual inspections.
Listen to our whole conversation with Anthony Perera and find out how Inspected.com is looking to partner with the pool industry as their virtual inspection platform of choice.