A fire inspection is a monumental task, especially when it comes to a big building; even the most established inspection companies have to painstakingly make sure that every single component of a building’s safety network is carefully checked by their inspection teams. After becoming a staple in the New York fire inspection industry, client Rich Oldenburg identified four central challenges faced by inspection service providers:
· High Complexity: A fire inspection involves rigorously going through a long checklist, plenty of documentation, device location and testing, different types of measurements, handling of replacement parts, working in low reception areas, and real-time synchronization between the company’s HQ and multiple inspectors.
· Location Tracking: Nothing but a complex real-time online system can allow companies to monitor inspectors’ work status, breaks, whereabouts, testing times and task progress.
· Digitalization: Most companies still work with paper forms! An inspection process carried out this way is not only slow, but monotonous, as well as a waste of resources and time when you have to be in constant communication with the client and other inspectors.
· Legal Obligations: Fire inspection regulations vary from country to country, or in the case of the US, from state to state. This puts fire inspection companies in a tough spot when trying to expand operations because they’re at risk of potentially facing legal problems if the fine print is not followed correctly.
Rich founded a startup to make a software that would address the aforementioned issues. However, the scope of the project and ensuing development struggles put a halt to FireLab’s progress. When he approached SpaceDev, FireLab had gone through 4 years of development, 3 vendors from across the world and 2 different versions of the software created from scratch. The project wasn’t near ready for a production launch.
We understood that the situation was critical – with so much time invested and no revenue in sight, everything was about to be abandoned… But in typical SpaceDev fashion, the situation actually put us in a more resilient state of mind, determined to help the FireLab team and save the project’s awesome potential!
We put on our hardhats and got to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Rich, making sure that FireLab’s development started regaining traction and had a long-term plan ahead. Without enough funding to start a version from scratch, the situation demanded that another software vendor take the project to a production-ready state so that we could re-evaluate it later.
In less than 6 months, FireLab was out of beta and revenue finally started kicking in. SapceDev performed its own type of meticulous inspection on the website, app and platform as a whole, which involved stabilization, scaling, improving support and adding new features. Those include:
· Being able to work offline
· Generating different types of summaries
· Working with databases where you can, for example, register the location of a new safety component in a building
· Submitting bug tickets
· Vehicle and spare parts inventory
· Chat for employees
· English and Spanish versions of the platform
Making sure that the 3rd party integrations –among them QuickBooks, Stripe and Google Maps– worked flawlessly in connection with FireLab was key. Considering that you can also use it to monitor earnings, it is really the ultimate office management tool for building inspection companies.
A company that uses FireLab can reduce up to 78% the time spent per month in customer collection and payment processes. It will enable them to run a more effective ship, keep their clients’ buildings safe and, inevitably, grow as a business.
The current site is developed using React, NodeJS + Express and MongoDB.
CI/CD with Bitbucket Pipelines and hosted on AWS.
3th party integrations: QuickBooks, Stripe, Google Maps.