As an inspector what tools do you need to do your job in the field? I can envision us trying to carry a tool box full of tools and equipment to do our job. As inspectors we rely on contractors and business owners to provide lifts, ladders, access to equipment or even equipment to test systems. There is certain equipment that inspectors must bring with them to perform their job. The following are some items that come to mind although I am certain that members of this community will provide insight on their tools of choice (feel free to comment in our discussion forums or add to the post by submitting a comment).
Clipboard, or some means to carry notices and a place to keep your notes. An inspector doesn’t have to have the answer on hand during the inspection. It is not uncommon for us to take notes or sketch a scenario and return to the office to look up the issue at hand. I prefer a leather portfolio or a thin metal clipboard. They can hold business cards, stickers, violation notices, an extra pen, or various forms. I also have secured a business card to the clipboard because I have been known to leave it behind at times.
Flashlight: This will make you look like a pro. The flashlight should be small enough to fit in your back pocket and not pull your pants down. There are many types that have ultra bright bulbs that are extremely user friendly. The flashlight is key for looking above lay-in ceilings, around duct enclosures, or through dark areas of a building. Not to mention I am scared of the dark, so it is a security issue for me.
Tape Measure, I prefer a simple 25′ tape measure. It is a great length for measuring sprinkler spacing, door widths, floor areas, or other things that have particular requirements. One of our inspectors utilizes an electronic tape measure which has worked great for capturing information on large areas for pre-incident surveys or long rooms.
Computer, More inspectors are carrying a computer or tablet which provides inspection software, codes, standards, or other reference material. The computer is typically tied into a data base which can provide quick notices to the occupant and reduce double entry.
Hardhat and other protective equipment is critical to the safety of the inspector. These items may include hearing protection (need in warehouses or alarm testing), eye protection, safety vest, or even a harness. Inspector safety is often overlooked and is critical to make sure we go home at the end of the day.
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