Traditional draw inspections have been conducted in a very low-tech way for over a hundred years. In recent decades, the emergence of digital photography has made inspection reports more robust, but the overall process has remained inefficient and time-consuming. This is due in part to the aging workforce of construction inspectors, most of who are over 50, are often part-time and underpaid, and rarely have real homebuilding experience. As a result, lenders face a supply and speed problem, as well as a quality and consistency problem in progress evaluation results. This is where virtual draw inspections come in.
Virtual Construction Inspections
Virtual construction inspections (VCIs) offer a solution to these challenges. VCIs are conducted remotely ideally, by a licensed General Contractor who reviews photos, video and documents submitted by mobile apps by borrowers or their onsite crews. VCI platforms also include communication tools to make it easy for folks onsite to provide additional info to remote inspectors and answer questions. VCIs offer a number of advantages over traditional inspections, including:
VCIs can be scheduled on demand, eliminating the need for borrowers to wait days or weeks for an inspector to be available.
Reduced scheduling delays and padded draws
Because VCIs can be scheduled on demand, borrowers are less likely to pad their draw requests to account for inspection delays or unqualified inspectors who don’t know construction.
End-to-end project monitoring
VCIs can be used to monitor a construction project from start to finish with the same construction expert, providing lenders with a consistent view of borrower competency and potential risks.
Adherence to lender reimbursement policies
VCI platforms can be configured to adhere to specific lender reimbursement policies, ensuring that borrowers are properly credited for their work.
Development of insights into borrowers
VCI inspectors and companies can develop insights into borrowers as they interact with them while gathering media and ask questions about the job. This information can be used to identify potential risks and opportunities.
Lender access to comprehensive project notes
Modern VCI platforms provide lenders with access to comprehensive internal notes about the project and the borrower. This information can be used to track progress, resolve issues, and make informed decisions.
Informed by parcel and construction cost data
VCI platforms can provide inspectors with access to a variety of property data, including prior owners, last renovation scope, and original building materials. This information can be used to benchmark progress and identify potential risks. The best platforms have real-time labor rates and materials costs to help with accurate benchmarking.
Access to appraisals and original condition photos
VCI inspectors typically have access to appraisals, BPOs, and original photos. This information can be used to assess true progress from start to finish and gauge project velocity.
VCI inspectors and the quality control teams overseeing them follow a consistent process for each lender’s unique requirements, ensuring that inspections are conducted thoroughly and accurately.
Elimination of conflicts of interest
VCIs eliminate the potential for conflicts of interest that can occur when on-site inspectors have an existing relationship with borrowers or contractors, which can happen frequently in localized and rural markets.
Creation of risk data
Comprehensive, data-driven project monitoring creates ongoing and historical risk data that lenders can use to evaluate borrowers, areas, and more.
VCIs offer a number of advantages over traditional construction inspections, making them a valuable tool for lenders and borrowers alike. By providing more frequent, consistent, and economical progress checks, VCIs can help lenders to reduce default risk and improve the overall efficiency of the construction loan process.
If you are a lender interested in learning more about how VCIs can benefit your business, please contact Sitewire today. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and show you how our platform can help you to improve the efficiency and reliability of your construction inspections.