In the construction industry, a schedule is a tabular approach to organizing and presenting lists of building materials, systems, and components. For instance, schedules are common for windows in a set of design blueprints. The schedule provides a graphical representation or list of all windows required for a construction job and indicates the number of lights or panes of glass, locations, and special requirements. Schedules are not a foreign concept to most commercial property inspection clientele and can help with the readability of inspection reports.
By creating a schedule, the inspector can capture all of a subject property’s systems into one graphical image instead of composing multiple pages. If the goal of creating a professional inspection report is brevity, then the schedule is a perfect tool.
Schedules are useful for multiples of the same system present at a property, such as heating and cooling systems, electrical panels, water heaters, and restrooms. By creating a schedule, the inspector can include all systems in one graphical image instead of composing multiple pages. This approach will help you achieve brevity, as outlined in Section 7 of the ComSOP on Reports.
Here is an example of an electrical panel schedule:
The first column is typically an identifying factor found on site. In this case, it’s a panel number. The second column is the location or room of the panel. Since clients rely on inspectors to provide an inventory of the components present, many are interested in the manufacturer, size, voltage, and phase, which are indicated in the other columns. The last column is typically used for comments about the item’s condition and other issues. This information should be expanded throughout the report and the executive summary because clients may not look at the schedule closely enough to infer any problems.
NOTE: You can make a schedule in a spreadsheet, Word Document, or within reporting software. Consider creating various templates for different applications.
The schedule doesn’t replace assessments and images in the body of the inspection report; instead, it serves as a reference and summary table. Additionally, schedules may cite page numbers within the report so the clients can easily locate expanded information.
Another use of a schedule would be for the heating system, as in the example below.
Similarly, in this example, the identifying factor is the unit number, and the following columns are the location, manufacturer, type of unit, age, and comments and issues. In some instances, the type of heating system will be the same, and the schedule might consist of 20 rooftop units (RTUs) or 10 mini-split ductless heat pumps.
Another use of a schedule would be for restrooms, as in the example below. Note the similar organization and structural flow that are easy to read and scan as in the previous example.
In conclusion, schedules allow the inspector to note information about specific systems within one part of the inspection report for their client. Some inspectors choose to put schedules in the addendum of the report, while some choose to include it within the body of the report. The latter is typically preferred by clients.
It is important to remember that, in most cases, a schedule alone is insufficient for communicating all findings about a particular system. Therefore, inspectors should mirror and expand upon their findings within the body of the inspection report. Unfortunately, many inspectors forget this step, and the omission typically leaves the client with questions or confusion. With the ultimate goal of creating a comprehensive and easy-to-read report, schedules are an excellent tool to have in your report writing tool bag.
Article Written By: Rob Claus, CMI®
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