A site walk is the boots on the ground portion of any access control project. In order to ensure that all of your documents are in order, someone needs to see the site in person and pay close attention to detail so that the quotes, bills of material, and labor estimates are all as accurate as possible.
Beginning a project without a site walk is a little like flying blind. There’s no way to know what kind of issues you may run into if you have not properly inspected the environment of a project, and you’re probably going to crash and burn. You can’t know if you’re going to be using the right equipment, have enough cabling, need to replace doors, etcetera etcetera. So, it is crucial that before every project, an on-premise site walk is conducted in order to set yourself and your company up for success.
When conducting a site walk it’s important to remember a few key things.
1. Have a plan: it’s always a good idea to have a plan when going to assess a new build, whether that be a clear delineation of labor among your team, or a general idea of how you’re going to walk the site. Blueprints will usually be provided before a site walk so make sure to review these documents and lay out a plan of attack.
2. Take lots of pictures: there’s nothing worse than driving two hours out to a project site, compiling information and then coming home to find you’re missing a picture of the locking hardware or the type of door you’ll be working on. If you’re not sure, take a picture. If you’re still not sure, take another picture. Pictures of spaces can help jog your memory of where wires need to run, what type of locking mechanisms you can fit into different types of doors and which door is which.
3. Take good notes: when on site, it’s easy to skip a door or misnumber a camera site, always double check your work before leaving the site to ensure you have all the details you could possibly need to create a bill of labor and a materials list.
4. Be ready: site walks can go sideways fast, if the site walk is taking place outdoors, make sure you’re prepared for inclimate weather. If it’s taking place underground, make sure you have a flashlight. Any site walk can come with a number of challenges. It’s always good to be over-prepared rather than underprepared.
5. Be nice: A site walk is your opportunity to make a personal connection with the end user. In some cases, this end user will be the person who will decide which company wins the bid for the project. A bad experience with a representative of a company can reflect poorly on the company and can risk a project. A great experience on the other hand, can be the deciding factor when comparing two similar bids. So, be kind and get the check signed.
All in all, every site walk is different, some are easy and some end up with you in a crawlspace in a dark basement. The important thing to remember is that the information you gather on a site walk has a significant impact on the end result of the project. If you take your time and do the site walk right, you set yourself and your company up for success.