A building inspection checklist is a guide for assessing the condition and compliance of a structure. Discover what it is and how to create one!
To carry out a residential, commercial, or infrastructure construction, after obtaining the necessary permits, it is crucial to develop a detailed and concrete work program capable of incorporating and coordinating all team members, equipment, and materials.
An essential tool for understanding whether the work has been carried out safely and according to regulatory procedures is the building inspection checklist. It enables a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the building’s health. Let’s explore how in this article!
What is a Building Inspection Checklist?
A building inspection checklist is a list of all comprehensive inspection activities that must be carried out during an inspection to ensure the structure’s compliance with:
- regulatory requirements;
- maintenance requirements;
- safety standards;
- quality standards.
There can be general inspection checklists that assess the overall conditions of the structures, identifying different modes based on the building’s use (residential, commercial, healthcare, institutional, public, industrial), or detailed structural inspection checklists that focus on the behavior and structural conditions of individual technical elements.
What is a Structural Building Inspection Checklist?
A structural building inspection checklist is a concise and schematic document that lists all structural elements to be examined during an inspection and defines all the methods to conduct these inspections and assess the structural conditions, thus identifying any defects.
Detailed structural inspections involve:
- Foundations: checking for cracks and settlements caused by structural movements or material shrinkage, water penetrations, soil erosions;
- External walls: checking for injuries, cracks, water penetrations, structural instability, as well as swellings, damp spots, stains, efflorescences, etc.;
- Beams and columns: the former subjected to corroded or missing connections, mid-span deflections, mechanical leaks, the latter to cracks and chippings, damaged connections;
- Floors: where stability is less frequent, and wide parallel cracks occur;
- Roofs: endure harsh weathering and need to be checked for potential water infiltrations and the integrity of protective membranes. Their breakage or damage could expose the structural support to rain, causing severe damage;
- Finishing elements: signs of moisture, flaking, cracks, rust, corrosion, damaged tiles, just a few signs of aging that can affect finishing elements and impact the underlying structure;
- Fixtures: external ones are mainly prone to water infiltrations, especially if not adequately connected to the structure and if the connection node is not properly insulated; material discontinuity creates a thermal bridge. They are also subject to deterioration, cracks, and glass damage. As for internal fixtures, regular inspections of frames and seals are advisable.
Based on the element type and its influence on the building’s proper functioning, it is crucial to identify and establish a number of periodic inspection and maintenance interventions to ensure safety and stability of the entire structure.
Why is a Building Inspection Checklist Important?
Developing building inspection checklists is a crucial activity as it guides in the objective control of a building, ensuring that each area of interest undergoes a specific and documented evaluation.
Furthermore, verifying compliance with health, safety, and quality standards not only guarantees the structure’s integrity but also the absence of structural risks that could endanger the building’s occupants.
How to Create a Building Inspection Checklist?
To create a checklist, you need to know the essential elements it should contain. Despite the checklist type varying based on the building type, a general checklist should include information regarding:
- Inspector identification: name, title, role, inspection date;
- Building details: location, structural type, construction site, any permits;
- List of building standards to be checked: based on construction, structural, and energy norms to be inspected;
- List of technical elements to be checked: interior and exterior of the building, roof, floors, columns, beams, noting any observed visual damages;
- List of systems to be checked: all systems, thermal, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, should function to ensure safety and quality of life;
- List of hazards to be checked: electrical, chemical, fire hazards, noise, temperature, etc.
Each project, therefore, requires the creation of specific checklists tailored to the unique needs of the building in question. This task can be significantly simplified using specific construction management software. This includes building inspection checklists.
This tool allows the creation of digital checklists from a template and their customization based on specific needs of the inspected building, enabling the addition, modification, or removal of different inspection points. This level of customization enhances inspection effectiveness, focusing on what truly matters in each case. Any non-compliance identified in the inspection checklist can be assigned as a task to a team with a supervisor and followed through to resolution. Inspections using this program turn into a continuous improvement plan for construction or living spaces.
Once the content of the building inspection checklist is defined, it’s crucial to identify an optimal way to conduct, share, manage, and analyze it. Manual development of these checks today is quite laborious and risky.
Using a structural health monitoring software allows constant monitoring of the building structure, collecting and storing all its information to detect repair or maintenance needs early. This way, interventions occur only when necessary, developing inspections useful for preserving the building’s integrity and occupants’ safety.