How to Conduct More Efficient Condition Assessments Using Wearables

What are condition assessments?

A facility condition assessment, or simply a condition assessment, is a process where the physical condition of a building, as well as its equipment and other assets, are inspected. The results are used to determine things like building and equipment value, maintenance and repair needs, and estimated near-term investment required.

Condition assessments involve a thorough walk-through inspection by one or more specialists, usually architects, engineers, or skilled-trade technicians. The number of assets being assessed varies and can range from the tens to the thousands. This means no assessment is the same. In addition, assessment procedures tend to vary from company to company.

Broadly speaking, inspections tend to cover the following aspects:

  • The structural components of the building, such as walls, floors, roofs, windows, and doors.
  • Building systems such as plumbing, HVAC, and electrical components.
  • Interior and exterior finishes and fixtures.
  • Industrial equipment used in the production process.

Aspects of the inspection are usually rated on a 6-point scale, known as the Dutch Standard for Condition Assessment:

Condition Mark General Condition Description
1 Excellent
2 Good
3 Fair
4 Poor
5 Bad
6 Very Bad

Source: A. Straub/

The outcome of the condition assessment will inform the property owners of:

  • Repairs or maintenance that needs to be done.
  • Remaining useful life of systems and equipment.
  • Overall system compliance with original designs.
  • Total facility value.


The Steps Involved in a Condition Assessment

According to AkitaBox, there are 5 steps to conducting a successful condition assessment:

  1. The Preliminary Preparation: This step involves bringing the inspection team together on-site and ensuring that they have adequate access to the facility.
  2. Data Collection: Here the team collects all the data that is needed for the assessment. Data is collected by reviewing existing building and equipment documentation, speaking to employees, and conducting on-site inspections.
  3. Data Analysis: All the data collected by the team is analyzed, this includes estimations of costs.
  4. Report Preparation: The data is peer-reviewed before being published.
  5. Report Presentation: The final report and its results are presented to all the relevant stakeholders.

Why are Condition Assessments Important?

Condition assessments determine whether a facility is currently meeting the requirements of its intended purpose. Essentially, a condition assessment is a risk analysis for physical resources and assets: They rate the probability that certain assets may run into issues. This then allows the owner to implement preventative measures

Condition assessments give executives a comprehensive view of the status of assets and equipment, allowing longer-term planning and spending to be determined — they allow for more informed decision-making. Condition assessments take on heightened importance in industries like construction and healthcare where compliance with safety laws and regulations can often be crucial to continued operation.


Condition Assessments and Technology

Data management systems, ERP systems, data capture applications, lifecycle management software, and maintenance software all play a role within condition assessment processes.

The data collection step of condition assessment processes has received specific interest as an activity that could benefit from digitization. Data collection hardware and software have evolved rapidly over the last few years, with the latest innovation being the introduction of wearable devices.

Condition Assessments and Wearable Devices

Using hands-free wearable devices (such as RealWear’s HMT-1) improves the efficiency and safety of condition assessment inspections in a few key ways.

Enhanced Safety

Wearables allow for hands-free, voice-controlled navigation of digital workflows. Freeing up their hands means that a technician is less distracted (they have their “hands-free and head up”) and can more easily access hard-to-reach places to complete their inspection. Voice-control means an inspection process can be completed faster as there is no necessity for manual data entry. Photos can also be taken with an integrated head-mounted camera, at the command of the inspector.

Being hands-free and not having to walk around with a tablet in one hand is a big win for safety. We’ve seen customers that have had inspectors struggle to complete assessments in difficult-to-access spaces due to having to hold a tablet or clipboard in one hand. Once the process was completed using a hands-free headset, the safety risk to these inspectors was greatly reduced.

As one manager shared with us:

“I was in the field and saw two people doing a condition assessment, they were falling all over themselves trying to walk around with one hand holding a tablet. Every time we are in the field doing an assessment we are jeopardizing safety by not having both hands free. There are definitely efficiency gains as well, but at the end of the day we are making the people in the field safer”

Save Time, Regardless of Complexity

With the right software installed, wearable headsets can be a game-changer for condition assessments. Workflow software that can capture the custom complexities of a facility or equipment condition assessment improves the productivity of a technician dramatically. With all the necessary information (historical records, equipment details, user manuals, or previously taken photos) literally within sight and accessible by just asking for it, the time to complete a condition assessment is massively reduced.

Worker wearing a RealWear device (Image source: RealWear).

Remote Expertise

Remotely call in an expert. With forward-facing cameras and built-in audio, technicians can call in an expert remotely if needed. If there is an issue or a critical question, the inspector can call in someone to remotely see what he is seeing and provide answers.

Conduct Remote Inspections

Conduct inspections remotely. Companies can save travel time and cost by having inspections done remotely. In this setup a local employee wears a headset with the inspector joining them virtually, seeing everything they see. The employee does the walk-through, the technician does the inspection. For companies with many buildings and assets, there is a new avenue to consider which allows inspectors to conduct assessments from their desks.

In Conclusion

Facility condition assessments play an important role in the strategic and financial planning of many companies. They give a clear picture of the age, condition, and productivity of buildings, assets, and equipment. While some software implementations have made inroads into the condition assessment space, wearables are poised to make the process a lot more safe, efficient, and cost-effective.

JourneyApps provides a rapid way to build custom apps for RealWear® HMT, mobile and desktop. Auto voice commands are simple to set up and manage, we provide offline support out of the box, and deploying apps happens with a single click. Comes with prebuilt ERP integrations. If you are interested, please contact us to schedule a demo. You can also visit our RealWear page to learn more and subscribe for notifications about new blog posts.

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