The following article was written by guest blogger Kurt Winters. Kurt is the Director of Technical Sales and Implementation at Collateral Status (cStat), which is an iPad application for environmental site inspections and building inspections. The cStat app is intended to replace the camera and notepad and/or paper checklist site inspectors have traditionally utilized on a site inspection. The benefit is that cStat allows for sharing, storage, and output options of site information not previously available. More info about cStat can be found on their website: https://www.collateralstatus.com/

Before we can discuss the benefits that technology can bring to the site inspection portion of Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) and Property Condition Assessments (PCAs), we need to break through the resistance to the adoption of technology. You can not embrace something with your arms crossed. So like a therapy session, we have to start somewhere in breaking down these walls no matter how uncomfortable it may seem at first.

It is easy to dismiss a sales representative such as myself with the simple statement that you and/or your company are “Old School” as a justifiable reason to not adopt technology. However, the truth is most likely that you and/or your company are resistant to making the change. It is simpler to stick to the status quo and think:

“why change what is not broken – after all, this is the way we have always done it.”

There is no denying that environmental consultants are a complacent group, however we have made some advancement over the years.

I have been in the environmental field since 1987, so if anyone could be “Old School” (and not just old), it would be myself. Back when I started, there were no regulatory database companies.

  • We had three-ring binders of databases that were sorted by city, which we used to manually searched for our subject property. Once database companies came along, environmental consultants made the change to utilize them (although some consultants still do their own database searches, and thus are “Old School”).
  • We used to use disposable cameras to take site photos, took the cameras in for processing, taped the photos to a piece of paper with the descriptions already typed on them and then made color photo copies (and if you are still doing this, you are not just “Old School” but “Ancient School” and I would keep it to yourself).
  • Do you still print four copies of your final report and send to your client via overnight express (“Old School”) or do you send them a PDF?
  • Do you still conduct your own historical research (“Old School”) or just order a package from a third-party?

The point is that our industry changes when consultants realize that a new process can save both time and money. Using mobile technology to take notes and photos is a new and innovative idea for our field. However, in a very competitive market, consultants must learn to embrace new technology – which brings us back to the point of this blog.

We need to have this conversation – not as vendor to consultant – but peer to peer. I am not going to sugar coat my thoughts, those that know me would expect no less. There is a need for change in our industry! I encourage you to attend the EnviroTech Summit, a place where a lot of modern technology will be discussed, demonstrated, and tested.  Get your ticket now.

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