Safety inspections play a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of facade equipment and the protection of individuals in various industries that use it. However, in the commercial real estate and multi-family industries, the differences between an Annual SIT (Scaffold Inspection Testing) Inspection and a 30-day pre-use evaluation are often a source of confusion. In this article, we will delve into the details of these two safety protocols, highlighting their distinct purposes, timeframes, and areas of focus. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the difference between an Annual Certification and a 30 Day Pre Use Certification, and when each is required.

Annual SIT Inspection

It is important to note that an Annual Inspection for a property’s facade equipment is required every year. That might seem self explanatory, but sometimes there is dispute about the necessity of an inspection, based on the usage of their building’s equipment. Building owners and managers often believe that if they have no plans to use their equipment over the course of a calendar year, that they don’t need an inspection. Unfortunately that is not the case.

CAL-OSHA specifically states IN THE CODE that “an installation shall undergo periodic testing AT LEAST every 12 months.” So that means, if a building has any kind of anchors, davits, pedestals, or facade access equipment, ownership and management are required to conduct an Annual SIT Inspection every year. This inspection aims to assess the overall condition and compliance of the equipment, ensuring its safety and code compliance during extended periods of use. Once a building passes an annual inspection, a certification will be issued by an SIT company. A property has 30 days from its Annual certificate date to BEGIN window washing. Once that work BEGINS it has 30 days to complete it.

30-Day Pre-Use Inspection

A 30 Day Pre-Use Inspection and an Annual Inspection are similar services, but there are different rules for when each service should be performed.

The first thing to know about a 30 Day Pre-Use is that it may not be done unless an Annual Inspection has already been completed and a building has received its annual certification. A 30 Day Pre-Use can’t be completed on its own. It is an ancillary inspection that only becomes necessary once an annual certification’s eligibility period has expired. As stated in the prior section, it is required by code that an Annual Inspection be completed every year, but that is not necessarily true for a 30 Day Pre-Use.

The time period of eligibility of a 30 Day Pre-Use is different from that of an Annual Inspection. Rather than having 30 days to BEGIN window washing, a building only has 30 days to COMPLETE window washing after a 30 Day Pre-Use certification has been issued. This is because a Pre-Use is meant to be in addition to the annual inspection. If a vendor is using a property’s facade equipment for a time period longer than 30 days, Pre-Use certificates are necessary to continue the work.

A 30 Day Pre-Use inspection should also be scheduled if window washing needs to be completed more than once within a calendar year. For example, if a building completes a window washing cycle in January, but has plans to wash again in August, a Pre-Use will be necessary before starting that work, because the original window of eligibility from the Annual inspection will have expired.

When a 30 Day Pre-Use is NOT Required

Only buildings with a swing stage or “permanent installation” are required to perform 30 Day Pre-Use inspections. If a property does not have a swing stage that lives onsite, a Pre-Use is not required. Buildings without a swing stage are still required to conduct an Annual Inspection on their other equipment, but the Pre-Use rules do not apply. These types of properties are free to use their facade equipment for a full calendar year once it receives its Annual Certification. This is only because a swing stage is provided by the vendor for scheduled maintenance on these types of buildings. It is important to note that these properties are still required to conduct an Annual Inspection, but the time of eligibility on these certificates is for a full calendar year, which makes the Pre-Use unnecessary.

In closing it might be helpful to read another description for how the Annual Inspection and Pre-Use differ. FEIS often shares this description with clients to provide another example of how it all works:

“We at FEIS want to provide you with a quick explanation of how annual and 30 day certificates work. We hope that it helps you coordinate your window washing and inspections moving forward. When you receive an Annual Certificate you have 30 days from your certificate date to start your window washing cycle. Once the window washing cycle begins the clock starts running and you have 30 days to complete the work. For example, my annual certificate is dated January 12th, so technically you can start anytime between January 12th-February 11th. Let’s say you start February 1st, from this start date now you have 30 days to complete the cycle. This rule does not apply to 30 day certification. When you receive a 30 day certificate you only have 30 days from the certificate date to complete your window washing cycle. If you need additional time then another 30 day pre-use inspection/certificate is required.”

If you’ve read the words, inspection, annual, 30 Day, Pre-Use, too many times in this article and would rather talk to a human, feel free to give us a call! We at FEIS would love to help you with all of your facade needs and help you plan for your window washing. Get a quote today!