Check It: How Lists Raise Efficiency and Reduce Errors

by Mar 2, 2016Routine Inspections

A logbook isn’t just a place to save information from routine building and equipment inspections; it’s a very specialized checklist that shows what needs to be done to run your building. While you may know your regular inspection routine inside and out, setting up your logbook as a detailed checklist can provide tremendous value to engineers at any level.

“Checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

In Dr. Gawande’s book, the surgeon explains how some of the most technologically advanced fields can lower their margin of error and, in return, save thousands of lives with the use of simple checklists. In hospitals, checklists are methodically used to ensure cleanliness in order to avoid central line infections in their patients. The list almost seems insulting to a staff’s intelligence, including simple tasks like washing one’s hands and wearing a mask. However, within a year of implementing the checklist, the percentage of line infections in Johns Hopkins Hospital’s ICU dropped from 11 percent to 0.

A good checklist is practical, and as Dr. Gawande said, can apply to many more fields than you may think. Using simple checklists in your building maintenance routine can expand the lifespan of your assets exponentially by helping you catch issues before it’s too late.

As a building engineer, it’s your responsibility to understand the health of your buildings and make the most cost-effective decisions when choosing to repair or replace equipment. As you’re doing your inspection rounds, you’re gathering large amounts of data that’s used to make those decisions. Without a simple checklist, something could get missed in a routine inspection, resulting in an incomplete picture that could cause serious problems down the road.

LogCheck Log Showing Visible Flooding

For example, everyone knows that you have to inspect your rooftop, but it’s easy to forget to check and unclog roof drains regularly, especially in good weather. If an unexpected heavy rain or melting snow fills your roof with water that isn’t able to drain due to un-cleared debris, you can quickly have a very dangerous or damaging situation on your hands.

A checklist-inspired logbook reminds you of the important steps it takes to do your job well, and it makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page. It can also help onboard new engineers to help them understand what a thorough inspection entails, and it gives them a simple, powerful tool to show them how to get it right from the start. Checklists can also remind more experienced engineers of the simple but necessary steps to their routine inspections.

No matter who’s using the checklist, your organization can trust that no steps will be forgotten and no detail will be missed.­­­­

Ready to unlock the power of checklists? Sign up today for your customized digital logbook so you can be sure that nothing gets missed in your building.

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