How To Use The Property Inspection Prioritization (PIP) Tool

NFPA is continuing its efforts to provide data solutions to the enforcement community. They recently launched Phase II training of “PIP” – a tool for Property Inspection Prioritization. PIP uses an artificial intelligence approach – in other words, it is based on the collective wisdom of those in the enforcement community who have agreed to participate in its training. Preliminary tests showed that “PIP” is an effective decision assist tool to help AHJ’s prioritize fire inspections based on multiple risk factors. To ensure the PIP tool is robust and reliable, the NFPA is reaching out to the members of the International Fire Marshals Association (IFMA) and AHJ’s to further refine and train the tool.

Here is what you need to know to help refine this tool and use it to your advantage…

Background

Fire and safety enforcement officials, such as CertiPro Fire and Life Safety technicians [A.K.A. Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs)] face a number of challenges in their code inspection and compliance roles. Limited resources and conflicting priorities often require AHJs to make difficult choices about which properties to prioritize for inspection. The specific factors that go into determining those priorities will likley vary across jurisdictions and merely keeping track of individual properties and risk factors can be a daunting challenge in itself.

“The first thing to understand is that the AHJ is not a single entity. Depending on the jurisdiction your facility is in, the type of facility you’re in, and who “owns” your facility, you may be visited not only by the fire marshal, but by a variety of individuals — referred to as “the authority having jurisdiction” — who come onto the premises to look at how well or how poorly your fire, life, and electrical safety programs are doing.”-facilitiesnet.com

Goal

To help AHJs with these problems, NFPA developed a decision support platform that we are calling the Property Inspection Priortiziation (PIP) tool. PIP’s aim is to assist the prioritization of property inspections by combining assessments of several risk factors with an underlying data science model derived from inputs from over 100 AHJs to “replicate” the prioritization of experienced inspectors. PIP, in other words, is an attempt at harnessing the collective wisdom of AHJs to produce a prioritization of properties that would roughly match what an actual AHJ would develop. We recognize that there are many other ways to approach this problem, and PIP is intended to be just one of many tools that an AHJ uses to help set their inspection priorities.
To go into a bit more detail, PIP ranks the inspection priority of a property based on its occupancy type, importance to the community, and other risk factors by employing a common body knowledge shared by AHJs across the US and Canada. The PIP risk factors were formulated with the guidance of the NFPA PIP Development Task Group (which consists of 13 enforcement officials from across the U.S. and Canada). This group identified, in addition to the occupancy type, six high level factors which would have significant impacts on the inspection priority:

1. Occupant Characteristics
2. Regulatory Oversight/Compliance
3. Response Experience
4. Building Stock
5. Property’s Socio-Economic Importance
6. Emergency Response Capability

Having identified these factors, over 100 expert fire inspectors and AHJ’s then dedicated hundreds of hours in “training” the model that will ultimately drive the ranking system used by the PIP. Right now, PIP can produce prioritization rankings that differ only in one rank from what an actual AHJ would judge. While we find this to be a pretty good initial result, we want PIP to become more accurate over time. Indeed, on of our goal is to enable future versions of PIP to learn from user input to its ability to predict the inspection priorities of properties as perceived by the AHJ’s. You can learn more about PIP on the FAQ page.

How do I use the PIP webpage? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a short description of the steps involved.

Registering and Logging In.

• The first thing you need to do is open up the PIP testing page at https://www.nfpapip.net is a modern web browser. It’s best suited for Google Chrome.
• If this your first time using the tool, you have to create an account under the log in section using your www.nfpa.org profile information. If you don’t have a profile, please go to nfpa.org and create one.

Load a single property

• Once you’ve signed in for the first time, you will be taken to “Add a Property” page that allows you to add a (you guessed it) a single property. You’ll need the address if you want to map a property and then answer questions about the occupancy and risk factors of the building. In the PIP world, “1” is the most risky, and “5” the least risky.
• After filling out that property, you can either hit “Save & Add Another Property” to upload a new property or just “Save & Finish” to take you to the results “My Properties” page showing your property and its risk score.
• If you just want to look at one property, stop here and you’re done. You can now look around the My Properties page to see some of the functionality of PIP tool, which will be kind of boring with just one property.

Load many properties

• You can also import multiple properties at once using the “Import (CSV)” link at the top. That will take you to a page where you can download a preformatted excel sheet to add in the appropriate values for (right now) up to 50 properties (although that limit may change in the future).
• Once you complete the Excel sheet, save it as a CSV file, and import it using the blue button at the bottom of the page. Attached to the email is an example CSV file that has a few local properties already preloaded with notional data for your use.
• Please do not close the tab while the import is in progress. It might take a while as it is scoring and mapping the property onto Google Maps. There should be a progress bar showing how things are going if it takes a long time.
• Once complete, you can click on the “My Properties” link at the top, where the map will show all your properties along with a table of those properties and their risk scores. You can sort through them using the icons on the table. You can also select and deselect different types of properties, locations, etc, using the panels at the left of the page. You can also export the properties which in the same basic template as the import file and print the filtered results with the button below the map. (Presently print just gives you the table, but we are working on the Google Map part).

Isn’t this asking a lot from AHJ’s?

Yes, it is. PIP in its current form requires AJHs to manually enter properties. This implicitly assumes that an AHJ knows what properties to inspect and have some idea about their risk factors. Those assumptions may work in some situations in the real world, but we suspect that many AHJs may not even know all of the properties there are to inspect or even have a basic understanding of the required risk factors for the buildings that they do know about. Even if they did know all these data points, they still have to manually enter data which is kind of unrealistic for most AHJs to do across even moderately sized communities.

So why use PIP now?

As it currently stands, PIP can best be used by an AHJ to help them think through the risk factors and overall risks of a small set of properties. One way that you can think of the current version of PIP is as a decision assistance tool to help an AHJ get some more “eyes on” some properties that they already know about.

If you need expert professional fire system services in Arizona, connect with CertiPro Fire & Life Safety. Our technicians have extensive experience in performing complete assessments on-site, and we have the expertise needed to recommend the ideal system that suits your property’s needs as well as your budget. We also provide installation, inspection, maintenance and repair services whenever needed.

Contact us to find out how we can help protect your commercial or residential property today.

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