Inspectors use a wide range of equipment to help them carry out their tasks efficiently, accurately and safely, and also so they can offer inspections adhering to the highest possible standards.
Although not always required for every site visit and every case, some items of equipment in the inspector’s toolkit will give them an advantage in the highly competitive inspections business, either as an add on to their service or part of it.
The use of the following equipment is by no means mandatory; inspectors are free to use whatever equipment they choose and may even have their own preferences when it comes to certain tools or ways of working.
However, the following items may help inspectors identify substandard conditions, accurately record their findings, and speed up their workflow.
Undetected moisture in buildings can be an indicator of hidden water damage, leading to things like mould or structural defects, so it’s important to use an accurate moisture meter to identify any moisture issues.
There are different types of moisture meters, but the most common type in an inspector’s toolkit will be for either searching or measuring, with some devices doing both.
When using the device to search for moisture, inspectors can find high levels of moisture behind walls or under tiles, for example. When measuring moisture levels, inspectors can use the device’s built-in sensors to get an accurate reading.
Infrared tools, like infrared cameras or infrared thermometers, enable inspectors to identify certain conditions that can’t always be identified by sight.
Infrared thermometers give inspectors the ability to check temperatures of household systems, like those used for heating and cooling, and they’re especially useful in hard to reach areas, like under or behind immovable furniture.
Using an infrared beam, the thermometer will give inspectors a temperature readout for whatever it is pointed at, like electrical equipment, water heaters, and so on.
Infrared cameras use infrared radiation to identify hot or cold areas. The different colours on-screen will reflect the temperature being measured. These can be especially useful for finding hot or cold spots, which may be an indication of something far more concerning to the property owner or a potential homebuyer.
Not every inspector delves into the drains themselves, but for those who offer this as a service, a good idea would be to keep a set of drain keys to hand. The addition of a screwdriver can help inspectors pry open the drain, too.
Depending on the type of inspection and the inspector, ladders are vital for checking surfaces above tall furniture or getting into a loft. They’ll also often be needed when checking guttering and roofs. A light, portable ladder that will fit easily into a car is often preferred by inspectors.
Telescopic ladders are ideal in this case. They can be carried effortlessly and are collapsable, meaning they won’t get in the way. If inspectors wish to use a telescopic ladder, they must ensure that they’re up to scratch, with fail-safe locking mechanisms and stability.
Accuracy is key to any good inspection. When preparing a professional report, whether it’s checking the dimensions of openings or proposed extensions, or even the size of defects, most inspectors will carry a tape measure and a spirit level.
A decent torch is an essential item for most inspectors, allowing them to see in darkened loft spaces or unlit areas. It’s also important for inspectors to carry spare batteries, and bulbs if needed.
Respirator and Face Mask
When inspectors need to enter areas either containing hazardous substances or materials emitting potentially harmful particulates, it is vital to wear respiratory protection.
All though they’re uncomfortable and cumbersome, a full-face or half-face respirator will be useful in most cases. Whatever an inspector is advised to use, as per safety regulations, it’s always a good idea for an inspector to have one to hand.
Electrical testing devices can be costly, but they’re a handy bit of kit to have. There are a variety of electrical testers on the market, so the type and price range will depend on the individual or the business. Generally speaking, the more expensive a tester is, the easier it can identify a wider range of problems.
A simple voltage indicator may suffice for some inspectors. This is used to determine if a voltage is present in a device or wiring. Its accuracy is somewhat limited, but they’re very affordable.
Smartphone or Tablet
Nowadays, nearly every inspector carries some form of smartphone or tablet, whether personally or for work. They’re absolutely vital in the modern surveyor’s toolkit, and not just for communication.
In addition to the more obvious features, they also have digital measurement tools, like levels, tapes, and a compass, which is often used to determine the building’s orientation. The digital measurement tools aren’t always as accurate as their analogue counterparts, but handy to have if the inspector has arrived on site only to find out they’ve forgotten some tools.
Pen and Paper
Different surveyors have different ways of capturing reports, depending on several variables like their training, level of service, or employer. Some prefer faster, modern methods while others will prefer slow-paced, traditional approaches like the humble pen and paper.
While it can be time-consuming and labour intensive, a biro and a notepad are the go-to for many inspectors. As we just mentioned, some inspectors have started using their smartphones to take notes or use a voice app to capture their report verbally before transcribing it at the office.
However, some inspectors are beginning to break the mould, adopting entirely digital solutions to capture reports.
Using an end-to-end property inspection solution can greatly improve the creation and delivery of surveys or reports. It’s easier than ever to produce professional inventories, move in and move out reports, periodic inspections, building audits, risk assessments and more with the premade templates built into the Property Inspect software as standard. What’s more, Property Inspect can be used across multiple devices, like smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.
When it comes to adopting software to digitise your reporting process, It’s advisable to use a trusted RICS Tech Partner like Property Inspect, rather than a third-party note-taking application or similar, because any information collected and stored by inspectors must conform to data protection regulations and the latest risk, liability and insurance in valuation work guidance.
Building inspection is a fiercely competitive, fast-moving and varied field, so standing out from the competition by offering faster and more professional reports is important.
While there is no right or wrong approach, we recommend that surveyors and inspectors use equipment that will make their work easier to conduct, more accurate and more efficient.
If you’d like to learn more about how Property Inspect can help you take your inspections and reporting to the next level, book a demo today.