Plans Examiner Newsletter
There is an adage that it is better to be three hours too soon than a minute too late. For the Bureau of Development Services’ Remote Video Reinspection program, being early is proving to be a godsend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Introduced in April 2019, Remote Video Reinspection, or ‘RVR’ for short, uses technology as an alternative to on-site inspection of construction sites requiring minor corrections. Using Skype and a mobile device, customers can connect with BDS inspectors through video to complete simple re-inspections remotely and at a time of their choosing.
“While the RVR program was originally created to speed up the inspection process by fast tracking minor re-inspections, no one could have predicted less than a year after launch there would be a global health emergency requiring physical distancing,” notes Janell Piercy, Residential Inspection Manager and RVR program lead. “This is the perfect tool for us right now – customers can schedule their own appointments online and our inspectors can complete these simple re-inspections using video, which keeps projects moving through the inspection process while ensuring everyone’s safety.”
Remote Video Re-Inspection (RVR) Program
Annual Report Fiscal Year 2019/20 Overview
Customers seem to agree, according to the growing number of monthly RVR inspections. The program’s popularity took off at the same time as the COVID-19 state of emergency, either requested by customers aware of the program or suggested by BDS staff as an alternative to an in-person inspection. In March the RVR team even stretched to perform a first-time inspection for customers where a home was still occupied, and the ability to inspect sewers with RVR was recently added. The program is steadily increasing in use because of its convenience and ability to keep customers and staff safe using technology to remotely perform inspections.
One RVR customer experience stands out to the program inspectors. A customer shared that she had to take her daughter to the emergency room unexpectedly on the day she had the RVR scheduled. Since the appointment scheduling software is web based, she was able to log in on her cellphone from the hospital and cancel her RVR appointment. The customer rescheduled for a later date without any added stress and received confirmation emails immediately confirming the cancellation and her rescheduled inspection.
“It’s a fantastic program that we intend to grow,” adds Piercy. “We want to give customers more options beyond Skype such as Facebook messaging, Zoom and Face Time. The more we can make RVR convenient and accessible, the more people will want to use it. And the safer we will all be.”
More information about the Remote Video Reinspection Program, including instructional videos, can be found on the BDS website.