On the safe side: on-site visual inspection checklists for detecting damage and preventing risks

Posted by Chris Gallivan - 22 October, 2018

Construction and maintenance projects are complex, costly and time-consuming, and there is a high likelihood that they will take longer to complete, and get more expensive, than initially planned – particularly when underestimating the complexities involved in any such project. While this is an all-too-frequent occurrence, it can also be avoided – by using a variety of convenient, expert-developed checklists which support a structured approach and prevent the negligence of seemingly less important points.

Very often, construction projects cost more money than initially calculated and take longer to complete than initially scheduled. According to a 2015 KPMG survey, more than half of the investors polled had had at least one such project on their hands in the previous year; in the energy and raw-materials sector, 71 percent reported such a project; and in the public sector, an astonishing 90 percent of projects was reported to have exceeded their budgets, their schedules, or both. This has become such a common scenario, in fact, that projects completed on time and without accruing additional costs tend to make people look twice in disbelief. In such cases, then, those in charge have obviously done something right. And that ‘something’ warrants a closer look.

Effective risk minimization: the right product - professionally applied 

First of all, they obviously managed to find exactly those products and technologies that were a perfect fit for their specific requirements. Not an easy task, considering the multitude of solutions available for any given area of application – using a suitable online tool can provide effective assistance here. Professional application is the second important cornerstone in the successful, on-time completion of a project. Careful planning in this regard can reap enormous benefits: Selecting the most-suitable products and having them applied professionally can reduce the risk involved in construction projects substantially and can help prevent additional costs in the range of some 40 percent.

Investing in future, potentially big savings 

Article motive de sitters law of fivesIf the project in question is a renovation or refurbishment project, building owners, or anyone in charge of building maintenance, can do even more to make the project a cost-efficient one. Wolter Reinold de Sitter from Eindhoven University, for instance, proposed a “Law of Fives” for structural concrete maintenance, suggesting that each extra Euro spent wisely in construction will save up to 125 Euros later, when the structure is in an advanced state of deterioration. And if age-related defects are detected and addressed at an early stage, their rectification also usually stays within a limited, manageable scope. Not least because doing so serves to prevent unscheduled emergency repairs that often involve expensive downtimes.


Regular inspections facilitate planning and scheduling 

Inspections carried out on a regular basis help keep a close eye on the condition of concrete structures, for instance. Such regular inspections provide a clear picture of possible deteriorations and of the rate at which they proceed. In this way, maintenance cycles can be optimally scheduled – with sufficient lead time to find the ideal repair solution and a suitable applicator, and to determine a convenient point in time for temporary shutdown.

Check, document and miss nothing 

Mere visual inspection on its own, however, is not quite enough: It does make very good sense to document the results of every inspection round, and, even better, to do so in exactly the same way every time. The most convenient and systematic way to go about this is to use a comprehensive checklist suited to the purpose: Serving as memory aid and ensuring nothing is missed, such lists also pinpoint details that, at first glance, may seem less important. Such details, for instance, also include any and all local conditions that may have an impact on choosing a particular repair solution over another similar one. Moreover, checklists provide a convenient, systematic basis for comparing the results of different inspection rounds, and thus greatly facilitate the scheduling and coordination of maintenance measures. Not least, the details they prevent from going unobserved may otherwise grow into full-fledged, potentially costly problems. In addition, such checklists provide clear, reliable points of reference when entering into talks with contractors, external advisors and other parties involved in the project – saving yet more time and money.

Four checklists for downloading 

The construction professionals from Master Builders Solutions have developed a number of detailed checklists which, when used consistently, can make life significantly easier for those in charge. Geared specifically to four different application areas – secondary containment, concrete buildings, roofs, and concrete floors –, they cover a wide range of practical usage areas. The checklists are available for free download – with a single click, you can benefit from our experts’ decades of global experience.



Topics: Risk Management, Market Insights

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