For consultants with J.S. Held, leveraging technology is of utmost importance to effectively complete tasks and deliver top quality reports and documentation for their customers. J.S. Held is a multi-disciplinary national and international construction consulting firm, specializing in construction, property damage assessment, project and program management, forensic engineering, and environmental consulting services.
With more and more of the world’s leading companies shifting towards integrated mobile solutions for field work, J.S. Held is focused on finding mobile technologies for their consultants that allows them to capture the field data they need more efficiently without sacrificing quality. Brian Beatty, Assistant Vice President and Area Manager for J.S. Held’s Denver, Colorado office, found that integrated mobile workflow solution when he discovered Spex and Spike.
Spex is a mobile inspection platform customized for insurance and construction professionals. According to Beatty, “with Spex, as you’re out in the field you’re creating your locations, your rooms, and you’re taking photographs and entering your content in every single location from your iPad. It’s happening in real time and there’s nothing to be done on the back end. You just go back to your hotel, connect to Wi-Fi, upload, and walk away. That’s the beautiful part of Spex, having the speed of the backend data handling.”
As he began using Spex, Beatty discovered Spike, a smart laser measurement solution that is integrated with Spex. Spex and Spike act as a tool that allows adjusters to do a state of completion analysis, and is not only ideal for field adjusters but for construction consultants. Adjusters are able to capture laser accurate measurements by taking a photo with Spike and their mobile device, and that photo record with the measurement data are in turn automatically incorporated into a Spex report while in the field.
Beatty believes that using Spike together with Spex is a powerful and fast mobile solution for field work. “When it comes to estimating and doing takeoffs quickly, that’s the brilliance behind the technology of Spike and Spex together. It’s having one person, and that’s their sole focus, to evaluate a site and obtain accurate exterior shots for use in estimating at any point later. Because we use the Spex platform, data syncs over Wi-Fi, which allows us to send information back to the office to our estimating group no matter where they are in the world. Then they are doing takeoffs utilizing the data. This data is so key for us, it’s speeding up the process.”
Beatty uses Spike in the field with an iPad mini, and has found that Spike’s benefits are its ability to be versatile, fast, and accurate. “Spike is incredibly accurate, from a ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) perspective or final estimating perspective. I can still get the same accurate data and we can pull exteriors on a single-family property by walking the outside of a house in 3 minutes. On a commercial building it might take you 10 minutes,” says Beatty. “Using wheels, tape measures or lasers, that may or may not work in sunlight, can take two, three maybe four times longer than just shooting an image and walking away.”
Another perfect scenario that Beatty discovered for using Spike is on large scale commercial projects like malls. He is able to walk the entire building exterior and take all the photos in less than 30 minutes. He can then return to the office, and have staff take the measurements and add the photos with measurements to his report. Hand measuring a building of that size could easily take half a day to complete.
When asked how he would previously measure exteriors of buildings Beatty replied that he would have had to use measuring wheels, laser distance measurers, or tape measures. He would also have to extrapolate data based upon his previous field experiences and assignments.
A recent example of where J.S. Held deployed Spike with Spex into the field was Hurricane Harvey. J.S. Held sent hundreds of consultants to Texas to handle the catastrophe losses, and they were required to report upon thousands of damaged structures in a very short period of time.
“Using Spike with Spex allowed our field consultants to provide a quick turn-around on photo reports. Due to the amount of losses we were receiving from Hurricane Harvey, using Spike to take photos with measurements enabled a photo report to be produced instantaneously. The photo report along with a Preliminary Repair Budget/ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) was provided within a short period of time following the initial site inspection. This allowed the claims examiners and adjusters the ability to review photos of the damages as well as our ROM. Providing an initial report in the most expeditious manner was a huge benefit. I will definitely use Spike and Spex on any catastrophes that I work on in the future, and will make sure that my team does as well,” says David McLaughlin, Assistant Vice President/Area Manager with J.S Held’s Austin, Texas office.
Beatty believes that another benefit to using Spike on assignments is that the image is a record of accurate measurements. Spike produces an authoritative piece of content, or a photo verifiable record, because the measurements are layered on top of the captured photo and can be shared with customers and added to reports.
Today, Beatty and his team find Spike incredibly useful for projects that require measurement data on the exteriors of properties, from single family homes to commercial buildings. He uses Spike to measure damaged exterior features such as siding, EIFS (exterior insulation and finish system), panels, windows, roof lines, eaves, gutters, elevations, and multiple sections of different materials that need to be divided up.
J.S. Held has now deployed more than 320 Spike devices with iPads across the US to their field teams. “We haven’t been able to find a faster or more useful combination in the field, it has changed our business,” concludes Beatty.