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Success Story - Property Risk Inspection

PRI Logo M Lawson

FormsFly has helped me to change the face of valuation in the UK.

Michael Lawson
CEO, Property Risk Inspection

"Before I tell you about FormsFly, you need to understand that everybody is doing it wrong,” says Michael Lawson, CEO of Property Risk Inspection and an enthusiastic user of FormsFly.

About Property Risk Inspection

Property Risk Inspection is revolutionising the property valuation process in the UK by providing innovative new digital surveying and field workforce solutions for client surveying and risk needs.

Working across the UK, Property Risk Inspection provides the systems and manpower for residential property surveys for mortgage providers, insurers and large corporate asset management companies and client agents.

An important part of Property Risk Inspection’s business model is its use of paperless surveying technologies and a comprehensive system of workflow management – as delivered by FormsFly.

The Challenge

When you are working on a new disruptive business model, speed of deployment is of the essence.

When Michael was approached in 2014 by a major UK lending institution to shake up the way property lending had been conducted in the UK for the last 30 years, he immediately spotted the opportunity.

However, it would be a high-risk pilot.

Michael needed a simple system of capturing information that he could deploy quickly and amend often and easily in response to the findings of the pilot.

Although he knew this would mean having an automated system that could streamline the workflows for the technicians in the field, and enable them to collect property information consistently and coherently, Michael was adamant he did not want to find himself at the mercy of IT.

It was important that he could change his mind, or add to the system as the pilot progressed.

The FormsFly Solution

Instead of using chartered surveyors to visit properties and conduct a full survey, or simply doing a “drive by” property survey, this UK lender wanted to find a middle way.

Using junior surveyors to go out to a property to work their way through the survey and take photographic evidence, which could then be reviewed by a Chartered Surveyor back at the office, would make the valuation process far more efficient.

But how to collect this evidence in a way that would retain quality, and would not add to the administrative burden?

I'm saving time and reducing the burden on field staff.

Michael says: “I needed a bespoke solution in which the technicians could collect the information that could be built rapidly. The place to collect the data would be in our database, but how could I give the field technicians easy access to that? How could I build a front-end quickly?”

When Michael was introduced to FormsFly by his IT Consultant, he knew it was the solution he needed.

“The flat-pack nature of FormsFly would allow me to design data forms with instant integration with my mainframe. And it didn’t need the involvement of the IT department – anyone could do it.”

Using FormsFly, Michael and his team were able to create a surveying app that would run on the smartphones his technicians were already using in the field.

The app effectively deskilled the process of surveying the property, leading a junior surveyor through the survey process, asking important questions, and prompting for appropriate photographs to be taken, based on the answers.

The input and the photographs are then dropped in an organised manner into FormsFly.

Michael says: “As the technician walks around the property it builds the questions and workflow – speeding up the process. Because all the inputs are categorised on the job, in an automated way, the technicians don’t need to allow time for post-survey production either.”

“There’s no need for them to go over the day’s work when they get home – so I’m saving time and reducing the burden on field staff.”

Productivity is maintained and stress on the workforce is reduced. As the pilot progressed, Property Risk Inspection went through about a dozen iterative builds with the FormsFly app.

“The beauty of FormsFly is the simplicity of adapting it to our needs. We can continually adapt and improve it based on our experiences in the field and in the office and there are no coding costs,” says Michael.

The success of this initiative is delivering millions of pounds of value every year for our client.

“It’s flexible enough for us to be able to wipe all the reports if the phone is stolen, and modify requests if the specification differs. For example, if we’re doing a buy to let survey, or a survey for a retail lender. The system is fully integrated with our office systems and with the lender.”

The Benefits

FormsFly has been an integral part of Property Risk Inspection’s new, disruptive business model.

“We are able to save two thirds of the cost of doing a survey – and we’ve changed the face of valuation in the UK,” says Michael.

“As well as streamlining the process, saving time and reducing the burden on field staff, the success of this initiative is delivering millions of pounds of value for our lending client.”

Not only is Property Risk Inspection now rolling out the service for other lending institutions, Michael has been rolling out FormsFly across other parts of his business empire.

“I am also involved with a business in the health and social care sector,” explains Michael. “We’re now using FormsFly there to produce forms quickly for us, for an order processing requirement. Wherever my teams need a flexible way of capturing data and publishing back to our mainframe, FormsFly can do it – whether it’s property surveys or counting newts in a pond. We’ll use FormsFly wherever we see opportunities.”

Michael is not only full of praise for the technology, he has also been impressed with the professionalism and rigour of BarnData Ltd, the team behind FormsFly.

“Working with BarnData has been great. They are very good at identifying ways to improve the system; they take a very logical approach. And they are very clear on pricing. I couldn’t ask for a better partner supplier.”

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