How the City of Fargo Revolutionized Fire Inspections with Laserfiche

3 min read
  • Government
  • Legal & Compliance
  • Process Automation

Laserfiche Solution Contributed By: Renee Lura, Professional Services Manager, City of Fargo

As with most of the Dakotas and surrounding states, what were once quaint, quiet towns have now boomed into major metropolitan areas, fueled by the growth of the state economy. The City of Fargo, ND, felt this growth most acutely with public safety, permitting and building inspections.

The Fargo Fire Department inspects up to 800 buildings a year. Existing commercial buildings must be inspected every year, new buildings must be inspected prior to use and most residential apartment buildings are inspected every other year. Previously five full-time inspectors worked three shifts across seven stations to perform inspections.

The City of Fargo used Laserfiche to reduce costs associated with unnecessary failed inspections, improve general compliance with building fire and safety codes, and cut in half the time required to complete the inspection process.

“Laserfiche catapulted Fargo’s technology from the 1970s to contemporary standards,” says Renee Lura, Professional Services Manager. “The ease of building forms and integrating form data into our overall process and applications positioned Laserfiche as the ideal way to connect our applications. Laserfiche Forms fit with our future goals, not just the immediate inspection need.”

Laserfiche Forms

The fire inspection form has been created in Laserfiche Forms. The inspector opens this form on the iPad that he carries with him during the inspections. He types in the building address and the form is prepopulated with information from a lookup into the public safety records management system (RMS). Information that is pre-populated includes:

  • Business name
  • Plot information
  • Notes about the property
  • Owner’s name
  • Owner’s email address
Inspectors fill out an electronic form during the inspection

The inspector performs the inspection and fills out the rest of the form. Buildings can either pass or fail inspection. Any violations result in a fail. The inspector lists any violations found in the form and asks business or building owner to sign the inspection form on the iPad.

Once the form is filled out, the customer signs it on the iPad

Once the form is submitted, Laserfiche Workflow sends an email to the building or business owner with either a copy of the passed inspection or a list of violations to correct before next year’s inspection.

Laserfiche Workflow sends a copy of the inspection form to the business or building owner

Occasionally, some of the information about the building, such as the owner, has changed since the last inspection. If that is the case, the inspector checks a box on the form and fills in the new information. After the form is submitted, Laserfiche Workflow emails this new information to the front office employee, who updates the RMS system.

The inspection form is stored in a records management folder for archival.

Inspection forms are stored in the records management folders

Benefits of Laserfiche Forms

Automating the fire inspection process with Laserfiche Forms has resulted in the following benefits at the city of Fargo:

  • The number of incorrectly filled out inspection forms has been reduced, since an inspection form cannot be submitted until all required information is filled out.
  • All inspection reports are stored centrally and are accessible at any time without digging through file cabinets.
  • The RMS system is in sync with Laserfiche, so all inspection information is always accurate.

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