This piece was originally published in the July/August 2019 issue of electroindustry.
Jack Lyons, Northeast Field Representative, NEMA
I have been appointed to a new National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee that will develop a new Standard for Remote Inspections (REI-AAA). This Standard will assist jurisdictions in adopting procedures of inspections that use current technologies, increase department efficiencies, and address security for data that is gathered in the process.
The idea was presented at the 2017 NFPA Annual Meeting by Jim Muir, Chief Building Official in Washington’s Clark County. The NFPA Building Code Development Committee followed up with a white paper, Conducting Remote Video Inspections,1 in 2018. The paper highlighted the need to use technology to efficiently manage time for the permit holders and the inspectors during the inspection. The paper identifies what criteria would be used in developing the rules, procedures, and policies for the data collected during the permitting, inspection, and construction process.
The proposal to the NFPA Standards Council was submitted and approved to establish requirements for the performance and use of remote methodologies to conduct inspections. The new Standard will address practices, technologies, and components that will make up these systems.
The applications of remote inspections will cover many aspects of the building process (building, electrical, fire, and other systems). Whether the inspection is a rough, framing, or re-inspect, the technology used should be recognized as appropriate and have standardized rules and guidelines for jurisdictions to accept as an appropriate method of inspection. The technical committee will develop rules that address the data as it is collected, managed, and archived, as cybersecurity will be necessary. Current applications involve live video feeds from the job site to the inspector’s office. The contractor may use Skype or any other live platform that can store the images and also give the inspector the ability to direct the camera in the areas he or she would like to view. Drones have been used for aerial photography and viewing that eliminates the hazards of getting an inspector “up in the air” to view systems like PV, towers, and other rooftop systems.
The first meeting of the Technical Committee will be held in Seattle from August 20 to 22. Jim Muir will chair the committee, and Kevin Carr will be its NFPA staff liaison. ei
1 Conducting Remote Video Inspections, NFPA, August 2018, https://www.nfpa. org/-/media/Files/White-papers/WhitePaperRVI.pdf