Alpha Software | Case Study: TransForm Home Energy Inspection App

 

Inspection App Case Study

Home Energy Inspection App Drives Dramatic Time Savings in the Field and Back Office

 

Principal Engineer Digitizes Home Energy Rating Process, Dramatically Reducing Inspection Time and Processing

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"There is no limit - the only limit is our imagination!"

- Darol Harrison, Principal Engineer and CEO, Building Engineering Company

Building Engineering Company

The Building Engineering Company is an engineering and Building science specialist firm that provides residential and commercial building energy efficiency, building science, engineering, testing and analysis services. The Company offers a complete package of diagnostic and analysis equipment, along with personnel with the experience, training and knowledge to solve any problem a customer may experience.

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Speed to Market 

Sophisticated data capture app built in under 20 minutes

Data Integration

Data Integration

Easily connects to all required corporate systems of record

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Smartphone-Optimized

Data-capture optimized for input on smartphones

Business Challenge

As energy costs continue to rise, and the world looks for ways to combat climate change, the energy rating industry for homes and businesses has been changing from a sometimes sleepy backwater to a central part of the way real estate is bought, managed and maintained.

That means the industry needs to digitally transform itself, so it can more quickly, accurately and inexpensively calculate the HERS energy index for buildings, which is the equivalent of the MPG rating for cars. But that’s easier said than done. Many rating companies have a difficult time making the switch from old paper-based inspections to digital ones.

The Building Engineering Company found itself stuck processing paper forms, says Darol Harrison, principal engineer and CEO of the company, and was looking for a solution. Inspectors, he notes, have to capture a tremendous amount of data on paper, working under very difficult conditions, sometimes in attics during summers at temperatures upwards of 130 degrees. After that, the data needs to be transferred to the company’s internal systems, which takes a considerable amount of time, often 100 hours of work for 50 houses. The primary problem he faced was that no existing mobile app available for energy rating could create a custom app capable of working online and office and with time saving features such as barcode scanning, picture annotation and speech-to-text input would take a consideration amount of time and expense.

Field workers have increased inspection throughput, improved data accuracy and made the data available to the company’s systems immediately.

Solution

Harrison took matters into his own hands and turned to the full Alpha platform to solve the problem. He used Alpha Transform to mobilize the data capture process. Using it, he quickly built a mobile app to replace paper forms. The app auto-populates forms, speeding data collection in the field on a mobile device, and adds images, mapping and more, speeding the inspection process while increasing the accuracy of data captured.

With Alpha TransForm, the Company's raters/inspectors have increased inspection throughput, improved data accuracy and made the data available to the company’s systems immediately. Integrating data to backend systems and third-party software, and to flexibly output the data into pre-defined forms is key to his company’s mobile transformation, he says, and that’s where Alpha Transform really paid off. 

Harrison is pleased with the Alpha Transform apps he's built, “There is no limit - the only limit is our imagination!"

The inspection app built with Alpha TransForm resulted in a total savings of 1 - 1.5 hours of time savings per house inspection. 

Results/Benefits

The benefits of Building Engineer's new inspection apps have been dramatic. Results include on-site savings of 30 minutes per house and office time savings of 30 to 60 minutes per house – leading to a total savings of between one and one and a half hours per house. For his largest clients Harrison expects to save between 40 and 60 man hours per week. And it’s helping him build a new recurring-revenue SaaS business.

"There is no limit - the only limit is our imagination!"

Ready. Set. Build!

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Have questions?  Contact Alpha Software at 781-850-4600