As we move closer to the end of 2020, some folks’ thoughts turn to the…
The BirdDog Inspection System’s Deficiency Management module is a powerful tool that promotes safety in commercial facilities while also working to reduce inspection liability.
It’s no secret that the ultimate goal of life safety systems – and the inspections that keep those systems in tip-top shape – is to promote safety. It’s also critically important to mitigate liability from the inspection process as long as the liability mitigation doesn’t sacrifice the primary goal of maintaining safety.
There are two key BirdDog features that help reduce inspection liability:
- The Observations report
- The Deficiency Tracker module as a whole
BirdDog’s “Observations” Report Helps Reduce Inspection Liability
It’s quite common for an inspector to spot other potential safety hazards in the course of conducting an NFPA inspection of a sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, a fire pump, or fire extinguishers.
However, if an inspector lists other potential hazards in their NFPA 25, NFPA 72, or NFPA 10 inspection, it can create unforeseen liability.
While we are not lawyers, we can point out the hazards of reporting safety issues and deficiencies not part of an NFPA inspection form can cause.
“If a life safety contractor or facility management department were to land in court, one of the first things that happens is that the prosecuting attorneys will try to prove that the contractor or facility department broke their contract,” explained Asurio President Top Myers. “When inspectors report deficiencies that are not part of the NFPA form, they have gone beyond the scope of the inspection contract, i.e. they’ve broken the contract. When this happens, the contractor is no longer protected by the terms of their contract.”
But this poses an ethical dilemma for inspectors. If they see a safety hazard that’s not part of their inspection, and they don’t report it, people and/or property could be at risk.
So what’s the best course of action? Look the other way and let hazard slide to avoid liability? Report the safety hazard within the inspection form and create liability? The answer is “Neither of these options.”
The BirdDog Inspection System’s Observations Report provides a function that allows inspectors to report additional deficiencies separately from the NFPA inspection form.
With the Observations Report, field inspectors can highlight safety hazards they observe that are outside the scope of the NFPA inspection form, without listing them as part of the actual inspection. That information can be included as an “observation” in the inspection, or all the observations can be produced in a separate report that is sent to the owner or property manager. BirdDog’s “Observations” function gives the inspector/contractor the opportunity to make the customer/owner aware of things that could be life safety issues without breaking the scope of the contract.
Note: In addition to the Deficiency Tracker creating potential for more services revenue, the Observations Report also provides a tremendous opportunity for additional revenue.
BirdDog’s Deficiency Tracker Module Helps Reduce Inspection Liability
With paper-based inspection systems, it’s common for deficiencies found in inspections to fall through the cracks. With the BirdDog Inspection System, Asurio has created a simple way to identify deficiencies, efficiently gather the information needed to help create the inspection report – and then streamline the process of creating the proposal for getting the deficiencies resolved. Here are a variety of ways that BirdDog’s Deficiency Tracker helps minimize liability for contractors & facility management departments:
More comprehensive, accurate documentation of deficiencies
The way the BirdDog Inspection System identifies & shows deficiencies quickly and efficiently with documentation, comments & pictures makes it less likely that deficiencies are missed.
Faster resolution of deficiencies
BirdDog’s ability to organize deficiency reports – plus the logistical information needed to resolve the deficiency – help with the speedy creation of proposals. Common sense and industry data indicates that the faster you can document a deficiency and generate a proposal, the more likely the deficiency will be fixed.
Time-stamped inspection reports & supporting documentation readily available
BirdDog’s Deficiency Tracker helps reduce inspection liability because the system creates a clear record of the deficiencies that were found, plus a time-stamp that proves the deficiencies were communicated to the owner or property manager, along with a proposal to fix them. When there’s litigation, inspection reports & paperwork surrounding a building’s inspection is immediately given to the attorneys as part of the documentation of the case that proves the contractor communicated the deficiencies and when.
Code references built into the inspection software
A readily used phrase in the industry is: “If you can cite it, don’t write it.” The BirdDog Inspection System is unique in offering code references built right into the software and the inspection forms. This provides helpful guidance to field inspectors so they know what’s part of the code and what’s not. This helps ensure that inspectors only list deficiencies tied to code references. This helps ensure that field inspectors don’t violate the scope of the contract. (Again, the Observations function allows field inspectors to list other deficiencies separate from the inspection.)
Life safety contractors & facility managers alike have a goal of promoting safety while minimizing their liability. BirdDog’s Observations function & the Deficiency Tracker module provide powerful features that help accomplish both of these goals.
Interested in taking a test-drive of the BirdDog Inspection System? Contact us to schedule a demo.