How Lenders Can Transform Their Construction Draw Inspections
Draw inspections are among the most important aspects of the construction lending process. They act as your eyes and ears for custom home construction projects–helping you mitigate risk and reduce the probability of default. In addition, a project’s completion progress and cash flow management are directly contingent upon the quality and quantity of inspections. Despite their importance, inspections have long been stuck in the past–with spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls being the primary tools for which to facilitate and track them. These manual processes coupled with scheduling challenges and rigid inspection workflows make progress monitoring a pain. And, budget constraints on inspection fees force many lenders to limit their number of inspections–leaving the door wide open for risk. Luckily, inspection technology has come a long way. By having a consistent and flexible inspection process paired with modern technology, you can take the headache out of inspections–ensuring better risk mitigation, increased project visibility, more efficient cash flow, and faster project completion.
To date, nearly one million inspections have been completed using the Built platform. From slow turn times and budget constraints that impact inspection quantity, our team of construction experts has not only listened to the inspection pain points of hundreds of lenders and builders but has also experienced many of these frustrations firsthand. Using this knowledge, we’ve put together the following best practices that, when used in tandem, are guaranteed to drastically improve your inspection processes.
Schedule regular onsite inspections & supplement them with remote progress monitoring.
Draw inspections are designed to mitigate risk and give you peace of mind that construction loan funds are being disbursed based on work that’s been verified as complete. The sooner you’re made aware of any issues with the project, the sooner you can remedy the situation. However, draw inspections are often facilitated on an as-needed basis when the builder or borrower requests a draw–meaning when draws aren’t being requested, you have no idea what’s going on with the project. Couple this with budget constraints on inspection fees and scheduling challenges, and many lenders aren’t able to monitor their projects closely enough–increasing the probability of default.
Below are the most effective steps you can take to frequently monitor your project while still being conscious of budget constraints–as well as the Built project monitoring solutions that can help facilitate these best practices.
- Pre-schedule onsite inspections every 30-45 days. While you may choose a more frequent schedule, we recommend pre-scheduling onsite inspections every 30-45 days for a good balance between thorough and cost-effective. Pre-scheduling onsite inspections not only grants you greater visibility into project progress (or lack thereof) but also expedites draws by consistently confirming the amount of funds available to the builder. We’ve found that, because pre-scheduled inspections confirm available funds prior to draw requests, the time from draw request to draw approval is nearly 30% faster on loans with pre-scheduled inspections compared to on-demand inspections.
Built Monitoring Solution Explanation Recommended Use Inspector Onsite The inspector travels onsite to capture evidence of project progress, reviews the findings, and submits a report to the lender. Pre-schedule Inspector Onsite inspections every 30-45 days using inspectors sourced from Built’s Inspector Network.
- Supplement onsite inspections with low-cost remote monitoring. A lot can happen in the time between onsite inspections. Remote project monitoring is an effective low-cost solution to fill these gaps and enhance project visibility. For example, Built’s Project Snapshot is a fast and efficient monitoring option that allows anyone associated with the project to quickly capture geolocation-verified photo evidence of construction progress at no additional cost. Once captured, progress photos are uploaded directly to the Built platform for you to review or send to a third-party inspector. Pre-scheduled inspections every 30-45 days supplemented with remote monitoring like Project Snapshots grants you constant visibility into your project–significantly reducing the risk of default. In fact, according to a report released by the FDIC, an increase from two to three project monitoring events every 100 days can reduce the probability of default by 72%.
Built Monitoring Solution Explanation Recommended Use Project Snapshot Any individual associated with the project can capture and upload photo evidence of progress to the Built platform. Geolocation technology ensures that the date, time, and location are all accurate. Use photo evidence submitted via Project Snapshot for ongoing project monitoring to supplement your scheduled 30-45-day onsite inspections.
Project Snapshot photos may also be submitted for remote inspector review using Built’s Inspector Review–eliminating the cost and time needed for the inspector to schedule an onsite visit.
Request more information about Project Snapshot.
Stay tuned for a deeper dive into Project Snapshot in the coming weeks.
- Use a combination of flexible monitoring tools to expedite draw requests without increasing risk. Project Snapshot is a flexible tool with a variety of uses. In addition to helping you stay more vigilant about project monitoring, it can also be used to verify project progress before funding draw requests. Leveraging Project Snapshot in this manner helps mitigate the risk of paying for incomplete work–keeping the project moving forward on time and within budget. For example, if roofing materials are delivered and installed two days after the last onsite inspection, you can order a Project Snapshot–leveraging your builder to capture evidence of progress instead of ordering another full inspection. After reviewing the Project Snapshot photographs, you can choose to release the funds to the builder or submit the photographs for an experienced inspector to review remotely using Built’s Inspector Review option.
Built Monitoring Solution Explanation Recommended Use Inspector Review Photo evidence of project progress is captured by the builder or borrower and submitted to a qualified third-party inspector for remote review. Once the photo review is complete, the inspector submits a digital report to you seamlessly within the Built platform–providing an auditable trail. If you would like the Project Snapshot photos to be reviewed by an experienced inspector, request a remote Inspector Review. This is a quicker and cheaper alternative to an onsite inspection that can be especially useful if a Project Snapshot was already completed.
Technology & Services package–a holistic approach to inspections and progress monitoring. These flexible inspections and progress monitoring solutions work together to fulfill all your progress assessment needs. Discover more here.
Leverage technology to source reputable inspectors.
Today, finding a ride across town is easy. You pull up your favorite rideshare app and in a few taps, you have a highly rated driver coming to pick you up. You know exactly how much it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to take. But consider a time before the convenience of rideshare services. If you wanted a ride, you had to wait on a corner and fight a crowd to flag down a taxi. Once inside, the experience could be great or the driver could be rude and drive too fast. And, at the end of your trip, you had the awkward exchange of payment with no knowledge of a standard rate of pay. The entire experience was inefficient and full of uncertainty.
Like rideshare apps transformed public transportation, technology changes the way you interact with your inspectors. Without a digital solution, finding trustworthy inspectors can be a major challenge and it can be difficult to even know where to begin–especially in an unfamiliar market. Even when inspectors are procured, coordinating coverage is difficult, and managing them is a drain on already constrained resources. Billing inefficiencies put a significant burden on administrative teams–with up to one-fifth of a team’s time wasted chasing invoices, checks, and account balances for different inspectors.
You would never choose an antiquated taxi experience over the ease of rideshare–why should your inspection scheduling be any different? Let technology do the heavy lifting. With Built’s Verified Inspector Network, you can quickly access a pool of pre-qualified, local inspectors–eliminating the legwork of manually sourcing inspectors for every project. All inspectors on the Built network are thoroughly vetted using data-driven metrics, so you can rest easy knowing you have the best people on the job. In addition, inspectors within Built’s network gain access to proprietary technology that allows them to submit inspection reports directly from the field using their mobile devices. By utilizing Built’s technology, in-network inspectors significantly boost the speed and efficiency at which inspections are facilitated–mitigating the risk that results from lengthy turn times and easing a significant amount of pain for builders and borrowers. After analyzing the turn times of 248,660 onsite inspections across the nation over the last 12 months, we found that out-of-network inspectors are 63% more likely to take four or more days to turn around an inspection than in-network inspectors. In fact, inspectors in Built’s network consistently average less than two day turn times.
Using Built’s Inspector Network also allows you to track inspector performance throughout the project–so, problematic inspectors can be easily identified. And, easy access to a diverse list of inspectors makes finding a replacement simple. Best of all, with a predictable flat rate for each inspection, sourcing inspectors using Built’s Inspector Network frees up all the time you waste on billing.
Keep inspection information centralized & transparent.
Construction draw inspections are a highly collaborative process and should be treated as such. Managing them via email and spreadsheets is not only incredibly inefficient but can result in a disconnected experience. When critical inspection data lives in silos and is not easily available to all involved parties, it can cause friction throughout the process. Painstaking manual data entry and order preparation leave room for human error while also eating into a significant amount of your time and resources. And, without a centralized location for inspection information to live, there is no way to automatically integrate the inspection results with draw availability.
Having a centralized digital location to store information, track performance, and manage every aspect of the inspection and draw process will help alleviate the inefficiencies of manual processes and greatly improve transparency for everyone involved. A digital platform like Built allows your builders and borrowers to request draw inspections directly from the dashboard so you can schedule an inspector immediately. Your inspectors can use the same platform to track every aspect of the inspection, including photos and notes, and upload the results directly. Giving everyone access to the same information reduces friction throughout the inspection process and speeds up the flow of cash. When everything is documented in one place, your builders and borrowers can see inspection results within the context of draw availability and you can make faster decisions about draw disbursements–knowing nothing was missed along the way. Providing a transparent and streamlined experience also makes you more attractive to borrowers and home builders–helping you earn new and repeat business. “When working with a lender that has fully bought into Built, everything can be done online. It’s super easy, transparent, and intuitive” explains Paul Kowolski, owner of PK Builders. “When working with a lender who doesn’t use Built, the process of requesting draws is unpredictable. You may get someone from the bank who is super responsive, or you may not. They may have a smooth draw process that works great, or they may not. There isn’t any consistency. With Built, it’s just so much easier. With just a few clicks, you request the draw, an inspector comes out, they report back with photos, and you get your money. Everything is very easy to understand and everyone involved has full visibility. It’s great.”
Give your inspections the attention they deserve.
Inspections are a crucial part of the custom home construction process. To mitigate risk and fund draws faster, you should be monitoring your projects as frequently as possible while leveraging technology to reduce cost, keep inspections transparent, and source reliable inspectors. When done in tandem, the best practices detailed above will greatly enhance your project monitoring capabilities. Using these best practices as a blueprint, Built has created the Inspection Technologies & Services package–a suite of comprehensive and flexible inspection solutions designed to fulfill all progress monitoring needs, allowing you to:
- Fund draws faster with flexible inspection options
- Be vigilant about project monitoring without adding cost
- Increase efficiency, transparency, & mitigate risk
- Reduce the administrative burden related to billing
- Source pre-qualified inspectors with ease
Transform your custom home construction inspections today.
Are you ready to bring your inspections into the modern age and give them the attention they deserve? Click here to schedule a demo to learn more about how Built’s Inspection Technologies & Services Package can transform your inspection processes.
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