Warwickshire County Council

Warwickshire County Council transforms inspections and reduces paper usage with Condition Surveys App

The Challenge

The Government requires all Local Authorities to have up to date condition information for all properties within their portfolio, especially schools. This information is used to allocate funding to the properties that require the most work. Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has a property portfolio worth circa £1bn. As a result of such a large portfolio of properties, the inspections process has proven to be very time consuming and labour intensive.

To complete the inspections, the Council originally had a manual paper process which consisted of the inspector using pen and paper to gather data on site. When returning to the office, the information collected on paper was collated and manually entered into the Council’s condition survey system.

In a bid to simplify this process, the Council first attempted to develop an app to run on Android. However, this app was difficult to develop & maintain and only worked on Android devices with a single screen resolution.

The Solution

After realising that the app solution developed wasn’t fit for purpose, the Council decided to redevelop the app as an early pilot project after purchasing NDL Digitise. The first minimum viable product version of the new app was delivered in a couple of weeks and then honed over the following few weeks based on feedback from the end users.

The final Condition Surveys app allowed the surveyors to carry out detailed onsite data collection through full room by room surveys. The average secondary school, for example, has over 400 rooms with each room containing 8 elements. The condition of each element, which can include multiple defects, is recorded along with any supporting photographic evidence. The app also contains all room areas and perimeters as well as a schedule of rates to allow for easy calculation of carpet m², decoration required and job cost.

Once the onsite survey is complete, data and photos are automatically transferred to AtlasWeb - WCC’s own property management solution - before final quality checks are made online. Once the Council is happy that the survey is completed to the appropriate standard, the survey is released to the customer.

On top of the primary inspection functionality, the app also includes the ability to:

  • Create a new room
  • Set a room as ‘not accessible’
  • Copy elements from other rooms to speed up data entry

The Benefits

The Condition Surveys App has allowed Warwickshire County Council to:

  • Take its building inspections process paperless
  • Improve data security and integrity as a result of the direct data transfer to AtlasWeb
  • Save valuable time and money through the reduction of back-office admin
  • Gain a competitive edge when bidding for work on traded services

What's Next?

The Conditions Survey app is one of many apps developed by the Council with Digitise. Warwickshire County Council transformed its services by implementing a number of fully customisable mobile working apps to replace onsite, paper-based, processes. Following on from the success of these solutions, the Council has already started development of a number of additional apps.

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“The digitisation of our inspections process has allowed us to significantly improve the quantity and quality of condition data captured and make ongoing time and cost savings. It has also given us an edge so we can now compete within the market.”

Owen David
ICT Programme Delivery Manager