Property inspection apps – the power behind safe buildings
At their core, property inspection apps help facilities managers, landlords and clients to provide a safe and comfortable environment for building users, whether they’re at home, work or play. By viewing each building as a complex environment but understanding the interrelated parts, building managers can reduce energy costs, increased safety standards and encounter fewer unexpected and costly repairs.
Each site has unique complexities and a private housing landlord will have different requirements and responsibilities to a facilities manager in a commercial setting, but both need to complete property inspection reports. The latest, agile property management software delivers tailor-made inspection reports at the touch of a button, allowing for easy and insightful data collection that it is instantly actionable, meeting the needs of private landlords and commercial owners and tenants.
PlanRadar is a property management app that provides this and more through easily customised property inspection report templates accessed through any smartphone.
Property inspection apps: safeguarding residential properties
Private landlords need to produce property inspection reports for a variety of reasons. At the beginning of a tenancy, a landlord inventory sets the contractual baseline for a new relationship. Every element of the property should be documented, with supporting images, so that wear and tear can be measured over time and damages recouped should misuse occur. Owners must identify broken or unsafe appliances or furnishings, document the issue and assign it for repair or replacement. This alone can be a complex job for landlords who manage multiple properties. Property inspection apps can take the headache out of a difficult job, providing a single source of truth for all managed properties, documenting faults, assigning resource and collating schedule-of-condition reports, guarantees and warranties. This assures the tenant that their new home is safe. Landlords also benefit from detailed evidence of the property’s state before they hand it over.
Property inspection reports should also be used during the tenancy to monitor safety and check that the property is being maintained and cleaned properly. The baseline landlord inventory provides the ideal starting point for this. Users can monitor wear and tear over time and collect evidence to prove misuse. Landlords can also schedule preventative maintenance tasks to prevent accidents or expensive breakdown repairs. PlanRadar provides a holistic view of all properties with drill-down capabilities for individual properties, enabling prioritisation across multiple sites. Reports can even be completed by third-party contractors where specialist gas, electrical or plumbing services are required and certificates can be uploaded to the app, creating a single repository of information about each property.
With a programme of continuous preventative maintenance and inspection, end of tenancy inspections are straightforward and hold fewer surprises. This drives quicker change-around and increased occupation periods.
Driving preventative maintenance for commercial properties
When it comes to commercial properties, particularly large and complex sites, documentation and control are everything yet the responsibilities of the tenant and landlord can be unclear. Well-defined, easily-shared property inspection reports can help to reduce tensions and ensure that no safety issue or potential efficiency is missed, keeping every building user safe.
Most health and safety-related inspections are the responsibility of the tenant and all UK businesses must comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Breaches of this law have far-reaching and often costly consequences. Earlier this year, supermarket chain Tesco was fined £730,000 for a breach of health and safety at one of their stores after a shopper was injured slipping on water. The source was a blocked drain that had been left faulty for three months.
Tenants must ensure that:
- Fire safety inspections are carried out, but landlords may often be responsible for providing fire equipment.
- Gas safety checks are completed and gas equipment is maintained, although landlords will need to check that this has been done.
- Fixtures and fittings are properly maintained and replaced if they are faulty – depending on the lease this could be the responsibility of either party.
- Electrical safety – for the electrical system the accountability usually sits with the landlord but appliances with the tenant.
- Asbestos is safely maintained – again this could be the responsibility of either party. Asbestos must be identified and contractors need to be aware if they are at risk of disturbing it.
As well as these crucial safety checks, tenants need to ensure that building users have access to toilets and washing facilities and safe drinking water and that workers have adequate space, ventilation and lighting as well as a reasonable working temperature. The Government’s gov.uk website provides great advice, particularly for small businesses who are new to tenancy.
How property inspection apps can help
Property inspection apps provide the power and framework for a programme of preventative maintenance, where improvements or repairs are identified before they become an issue and compliance is ensured.
This approach also supports energy efficiency and sustainability. Owners can make cost savings and meet their corporate, social, responsibility (CSR) targets by identifying potential areas for green technology installation. In older buildings, this will be particularly important as all non-domestic properties are required by law to hold an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E by 2023.
Developing a single source of truth for complex portfolios
With a range of different templates available for every kind of inspection, PlanRadar is the ultimate enabler for efficient and effective property management, providing a single source of truth for large sites and complex portfolios.
Users upload complete floor plans and asset lists to form a framework for property inspections. Using predefined yet customisable, property inspection report templates, assessors can evaluate the exact condition of a building and its function. They can record any areas for concern, such as defects, repairs or efficiency improvements, and append them to the plan. These items can be supplemented with images, written notes or voice-recorded information. These tasks can be allocated within the app, with deadlines and alerts and tracked in real-time. All data is securely stored in the Cloud and ready at the touch of a button for comprehensive reporting.
PlanRadar enables tenants and landlords to collaborate, providing a full audit trail of inspections, action and outcomes – all at the touch of a button. PlanRadar is the perfect collaboration tool, clarifying the blurred line between tenant and landlord responsibility and that buildings are as safe and efficient as possible.