Building inspection checklists: Guidance during COVID-19

A digital, easy-to-use, easy-to-update building maintenance checklist from ProntoForms allows everyone to communicate seamlessly and safely.

Building facility management checklists are probably bringing on cluster headaches for field inspection operators these days, regardless of whether it’s a healthcare facility (hospitals, nursing homes and the like), a residential tower, a commercial block, or a manufacturing plant.

The essential elements of a comprehensive building maintenance inspection checklist cover:

  • Exterior issues like lighting, entrances and emergency equipment accessibility, overall exterior state of (dis)repair
  • Roofing
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems status and preventative maintenance upkeep
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) conditions and preventative maintenance schedules
  • State of protective systems including alarms, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers
  • Emergency evacuation and travel path visibility/clarity/reliability

But the ebb and flow of COVID-19, and the restrictions that are being lifted or enforced in tandem, require a stepped-up reliable approach for deploying and conducting safe site visits. Your building inspection checklist needs to take into account the health and well-being of your field technicians – and the people they’re in contact with – your customers.

Six facility management checklist tips to keep on-site inspections safe for everyone

The Washington State Department of Health released a series of recommendations in a document entitled: Conducting Field Site Visits During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Guidance for Public Health Inspectors. Many if not all of the recommendations are applicable to field service workers at large. And ProntoForms suggests you consider building out your building maintenance inspection checklist template to include the following:

  1. Before conducting any field visit, contact the facility to discuss precautionary health and safety measures such as limiting the number of people on site if possible and asking that any scheduled visits be canceled if someone working from that location shows typical COVID-19 symptoms. Inform your customers you’ll do the same and assure them of practices in place such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing, routine equipment sanitization, face mask wearing, and other personal protective equipment protocols. Empower your field service workers to remove themselves from a situation if they feel unsafe.
  2. Consider introducing alternative facility management approaches into your building maintenance checklist. These methods might include Zoom or video chat tours of a facility, sharing digital records, and asking customers to gather and send documents for inspectors to review, including pictures of facility equipment and logbooks.
  3. Re-evaluate the necessity of completing an inspection. Consider temporarily postponing routine facility inspections if there are immediate public health or business risks and COVID-19 is a going concern in that jurisdiction.
  4. Add fields to your building checklist to capture data around site visit delays or cancellations due to lockdown-mandated closures, travel restrictions, or other issues.
  5. Include vehicle and field tool instrumentation sanitization to your building maintenance checklists as well as how and where equipment bags, digital devices, clipboards, etc. are cleaned and stored. While these measures aren’t specific to a facility inspection, they are specific to protecting people.
  6. If vehicles are shared, include a step for disinfection of commonly touched surfaces.

An article about Assessing The Impact Of COVID-19 On Regulatory Interactions, Inspections, & Audits within the clinical trial field offers up some important lessons, among them: to expect a variety of potential delays in regulatory communication and meetings that will continue for months, if not years; to factor in the impact of travel restrictions and the remote working environment on regulatory interactions, inspections, and audits; and to look to technology for business continuity planning.

Harnessing today’s technology is critical regardless of your industry. Within U.S. food and drug administration circles, consultant Laurie Halloran says it’s expected the FDA and other regulatory agencies will rely upon several forms of virtual inspections and audits to ensure that the rights, safety, and welfare of subjects are protected. And that includes third-party suppliers. While “audits of vendors and sites may have to be done virtually,” says Halloran, “the requirement for maintaining documentation … is as important as ever, in addition to identifying the potential risks, mitigations, and process for continuous assessment.”

That’s where a digital, easy-to-use, easy-to-update building maintenance checklist from ProntoForms can allow your field inspectors, regulatory bodies, customers, and internal stakeholders to communicate seamlessly and safely. For information about our customizable building maintenance inspection checklist template, sign up for a demo

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