Effective Tips for REAC Preparation
“The Inspector Started Pushing Buttons”
At a conference recently a client rushed up to me with a photo in her hand, and a question at the ready. In her hands was a picture of a long fluorescent light in a hallway, and at the end of the fixture, there was a little black test button. “This inspector came to our property and he pushed the button on every one of these lights. I have been through dozens of inspections and no one has ever done that before.”
Sadly, this was not the first time that I’d heard this question, and it was the sort of answer we all hate to have to give: bad news. The light fixtures in the common areas of their property all had auxiliary battery back-up, and while this may not be a “normal” design, any lighting with a battery back-up, must function as an emergency power system. In short, if there is a button and you push it, it must function as designed.
“The Last REAC Inspector Didn’t Say Anything About This”
However, the larger point that should be taken from this example is a very common thread that we hear at our office every day. In one form or another, property owners tell us the last inspector didn’t say anything about this, or in some way indicate how well they did on their last inspection.
While we understand that common sense leads all of us to believe that what we see on one inspection, audit, or review should be an indicator of what to do in the future. In an ideal world, when someone in a position of authority performs an inspection; we all would hope for some level of consistency, knowledge, and accuracy. This is a laudable aspiration, but it does not leave any room for any inconsistency or mistakes made by inspectors.
Attending an Inspection Is Not Training
So, what can be done? The largest lesson to remember is that an audit or an inspection is not intended to be a training session. It is about compliance with the training that you should have already received. We recommend that all owners conduct thorough Pre-REAC Inspections of your properties with a qualified professional. This can be someone on your staff who received training (make sure the training isn’t simply attending inspections, as this is merely an anecdotal experience, not training) or an experienced consultant. No matter how new, clean, attractive, etc – all properties need to be thoroughly inspected regularly to seek out issues such as the auxiliary light discussed above.
Quick Tips for REAC Grounds Preparation
When we receive phone calls about REAC Inspections that went poorly, more often than not, the issues are about some small detail that was overlooked, some component that isn’t used anymore, or part of a building where no one is allowed. Most of these issues don’t require large outlays of funding in order to no longer be an issue; what they typically require is some basic maintenance to either make the item work or completely remove it for the day of the inspection.
Suddenly the Fence Gate You Never Use Isn’t Working
If there is a gate on your property that isn’t working or, for instance, the spring to make is self-close mechanism function does not work, then a quick fix for the day of the inspection is to remove inoperable hardware or remove gate entirely. You must also remove all associated hardware, including hinge brackets on the fence poles. Remember that even if you can see the fence poles present in the ground in any way, this is considered evidence of an existing fence, and can count against you as being inoperable or missing. Always remove the entire item if you do not intend to use it any longer.
That Wire Fence is Leaning
In a pinch, sagging cyclone fencing can quickly be mended by using plastic zip ties to tighten it back into place. This is only a temporary hold and the fence will need to be re-stretched around the posts and struts to correct the issue. Consider placing the posts into concrete to lessen the likelihood that the issue will happen again.
This same method can be used to temporarily mend small holes in the mesh of cyclone fencing, but you must also make sure that you use pliers to bend back and eliminate any sharp edges caused by the fencing, which unmanaged could lead to a health and safety violation and could be a danger to residents and visitors. Again, this can only act as a short-term hold and knowledgeable site staff or a fence puller should properly tend to the hole as soon as possible.
A Tree Branch or Hedge is Touching Something It Shouldn’t
If bushes or other various forms of vegetation have become overgrown before the time of a REAC inspection, twine and stake them back, keeping them off of the walls or fencing during the inspection and properly maintain them afterward. Best practice is to have a regularly scheduled pruning schedule to control vegetation before it becomes overgrown.
Wintertime playground inspection tip
Despite the season, a playground on your property missing its swings or other equipment will be considered to have inoperable equipment. If your REAC Inspection is scheduled during the winter season, reinstall any equipment that would typically be removed to protect it from the weather during winter. You can remove seasonal equipment again after the inspection is complete, but will have saved yourself an unnecessary and lengthy appeal process.
Don’t neglect the rubbish
For various reasons, it is important that the area in which your trash and recycling are kept relatively neat. Not only will excessive buildup be considered a deficiency during an inspection, but it is also a place to lose points for the health and safety violation, sharp edges, due to broken glass and other debris. Trash buildup can also lead to loose pieces making their way to other parts of your property, appearing as litter, also a potential deficiency during an inspection.
These are just some overlooked items and potential temporary solutions that our inspectors often see during final preparations for REAC Inspections. While these ideas can be useful in many situations, they are not fix-all solutions, and the only way to ensure that you are prepared for your inspection is by proper preparation and understanding of the UPCS inspection code. If you do have an inspection scheduled and you are unsure if your property is ready, contact us today to speak to someone about our Pre-REAC Inspection services.