? Remote video inspections show industry during time of pandemic

The City of Edmonton now has hundreds of new, remote video inspections in the books. Or, rather, in smartphones, tablets and laptops.

“We needed a solution and we needed it quick,” said Chad Rich, General Supervisor, Safety Codes Inspections.

Rich was recalling the early hours of his unit’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. City safety codes inspectors inspect homes and business during construction to ensure the building—the structure, plumbing, gas, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning—is built safely and according to codes and standards.

“Essentially inspections are an audit function to ensure the built environment aligns with the construction intentions submitted for permit review and approvals,” said Rich.

The challenge was how to do that inspection work, which typically happens on site and in person, while physical distancing was the new reality. The need was to help keep business moving during a pandemic.

Video was the answer.

City of Edmonton Electrical Codes Safety Officer James Garrison at work on the small screen, May 2020

Serving, supporting industry

After testing and working out some glitches, the first recorded remote video inspection was conducted on March 23, 2020.

“The transition went smoothly, with very limited if any disruption to timelines or service,” said Rich. “The team was amazing in finding innovative solutions to keep applications and business moving.”

The focus was and is on keeping staff and citizens safe, Rich said.

“It was a change management exercise internally and externally,” said Rich. “It helped crack the box and got us all thinking a bit differently in how the regulatory framework could be interpreted and supported in achieving a safe built environment for citizens.”

Keeping city open for business (video)

Take a look at a short video featuring an inspector (in the downtown Edmonton Tower) and Ackard Contractors (at a site in Laurier) that shows how remote video inspections work:

Thanks for reading. And watching.