As a surveyor, you often want to get in and out of buildings quickly. It's not because you're lazy or have something better to do. You may just have a high workload, or be surveying communal areas with unhappy tenants.
Either way, its important to be able to carry out surveys efficiently on-site. Here are some tips for capturing data quickly, accurately, and to a high standard:
- Ditch the pen and paper and use a mobile app; it'll massively speed up report writing later
There are still valid cases for using pen and paper on-site, like drawing quick floorplan sketches. But, generally speaking, you'll want to capture data electronically because of the convenience it offers. Asbestos reporting software and floorplan drawing software can save you hours of work creating reports.
- Should you use a phone or tablet? It depends on your floorplan drawing process
Many surveyors find phones a better choice for surveying. Phones have better cameras, they're easier to carry up ladders and in crawl spaces, and they work with most modern asbestos surveying apps. But if you're drawing floorplans on-site, you might prefer the large screen of a tablet. At the end of the day though, it's personal preference. Check out our Phones vs Tablets Guide for Surveyors.
- Don't repeat yourself. Use shortcuts like copying rooms to speed up on-site data collection
Asbestos surveys are pretty repetitive. Especially when surveying housing stock or blocks of flats. You walk into a room that's almost identical to the last one, you add some items. Rinse and repeat. Rather than typing everything from scratch each time, use shortcuts like copying rooms or copying inspection items to save time.
- Number your locations; it removes ambiguity and makes your reports clearer
This might seem obvious. But if you have two bedrooms on your survey report, how do you know which one is which? Prefix your locations with numbers like "001" so you can differentiate between them. It will also help you label rooms on your floorplans. Read our Guide to Numbering Locations.
- Documenting the negative findings can be as important as documenting the positives
Don't forget to record areas where you didn't find asbestos. Recording negative findings in your report gives contractors the confidence that you surveyed a room and found nothing, rather than forgetting to survey the room altogether. It also pads out the report and helps to justify your costs in cases where you didn't find any asbestos.
- Re-inspecting a property? Pre-populate inspection items from a previous survey to save time on-site
Before re-inspections, save time by copying the previous survey and using it as a starting point for your inspection. If you've taken over from another surveying company, the first re-inspection will be painstaking since you'll need to manually input the original survey data. But subsequent re-inspections will be a doddle as you can simply copy your previous survey.
- On a limited data plan? Save your data by disabling media uploads until you have a WIFI connection
You'll get some grumbles if surveyors exceed their mobile data plan. Try disabling media uploads in your reporting app, then you can upload data-rich photos when you're back at the office with a free WIFI connection.