The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is piloting a remote video inspection (RVI) program using standard digital video technology, so that inspectors (or potentially other stakeholders) may not need to be physically present, saving both time and money.

Many jurisdictions around the U.S. adopted some level of remote inspection over the past year, although the International Code Council has found that approximately 60% of building departments surveyed said they did not yet have the capacity to perform remote inspections.

There is no substitute for being present on site. Current technologies and in the works that are drone-related and scanning-related could have some application in EBCx. For example, one NY firm has developed a material failure tool that automatically detects visible damage in concrete, steel and masonry structures.

The pandemic created unique challenges and corresponding emergency solutions…much of what is being inspected [may be] just for code compliance. As to how RVI might affect commissioning, there will likely be more challenges with the buildings — and more failures mean more QA/Cx.

This 6-week RVI program, which involves viewing sites via a mobile device, will end April 30. DOB personnel will then evaluate the pilot, identify operational challenges and consider how virtual inspections could work in NYC. Contractors can submit a request to take part in the pilot by filling out a DOB RVI form.