By law, fire safety inspections are mandatory for all residential and commercial buildings across the country. Some inspections are done annually, some bi-annually and some quarterly. For years, the industry relied on a lengthy inspection process by fire inspectors that involved capturing data about fire safety equipment installed on a building, using pen and paper. It then required typing, printing, and signing the report before certifying that the building has met fire safety regulatory standards. In case of errors, the inspector was required to return to the site to fix documentation issues.
The client, a fire safety inspector knew that there had to be a more effective method to manage, organize, and execute commercial and residential fire safety inspections. Hence, he set out to find a technology partner that could help him automate the process and build a mobile product to digitize the fire safety inspection process from start to finish thereby getting it ready for the 21st Century.
Having seen firsthand how cumbersome and inefficient the process was, he discussed about his vision for a technology solution that he felt could be more intuitive and less work-intensive. In the initial strategy & consulting discussions, we discussed what he saw as a gap in the market for an app that he was sure would transform the primitive paper-based fire safety inspection process.
There were a couple of challenges we were kept apprised of, early on.
Wi-Fi/Mobile Data Availability - Fire safety equipment is installed across all floors in a building, including rooftops and basements that are several floors below ground level, where wi-fi signal and mobile data are either unavailable or unreliable. To allow for fire safety inspection information to be captured comprehensively and fully via a mobile device, the proposed solution had to work regardless of the availability of Wi-Fi connectivity or mobile data.
Scattered installation - In order to complete a fire safety inspection, inspectors had to fill out approximately 200 data points spread across several forms. However, there was no way to pre-determine in what order the forms fields should be shown to the inspector as every building had a unique fire safety equipment configuration that changes based on architecture, number of floors, and floor area among other things.
After a couple of initial meetings with our business and technology teams in which we presented our product vision including solutions to the challenges above, the client was convinced we were the right technology partner to help him realize his business vision.
Our solution revolutionized the fire safety industry’s processes. We replaced the antiquated paper-based system with a mobile solution that eliminated manual processes from all tasks including data capture, report generation and inspector signature. The cutting edge solution enabled inspectors to use their existing smart phone devices and do their jobs efficiently while adding no additional costs to the fire inspection companies as a result of this change. The product developed for FireLab consists of a mobile app and a web app.
The Web App
We developed three main dashboards/roles as part of the web application:
The Mobile App
The mobile app was developed solely for the fire safety inspectors. Though we already built a responsive web app for this, this native app could additionally allow inspectors to download this as an app on their smartphone and conduct the inspection with extra speed and efficiency, if they so preferred. This was built as a hybrid that allowed the application to be built once and deployed on both iOS and Android devices.
Our team implemented the following features and functionalities that allowed Inspectors to conduct all aspects of the inspection with greater efficiency and speed than before:
Our solution revolutionized the fire safety inspection industry. By digitization of the entire fire safety inspection, we were able to bring about a transformational change that eliminates errors, accelerates the inspection process, and enhances overall productivity of everyone involved – fire safety inspectors, fire safety inspection firms, and building managers.
Additionally, all the reports are stored in a secure and centralized cloud which allows building managers and fire safety inspection firms to gain access to the reports as soon as a fire safety inspector completes his work on site. This eliminates a substantial amount of logistical issues, clerical work hours and associated costs.