Commercial Audit Pre-call

When conducting an audit of commercial or industrial facilities, it is important to define and understand the problem before the site audit. By obtaining answers to a few key questions the auditor is more likely to find cost effective solutions and minimize future problems.

Here is a checklist of the most important things an auditor should know.

Before the actual visit the auditor should obtain the following information:

  1. The name of the person requesting the audit
  2. The name of the key contact (if different from callee's name)

The auditor should then get the following equipment information:

  1. A list of the equipment experiencing the problem.
  2. When the problems occur.
  3. The specific times of day the problems occur.
  4. Whether they occur during thunderstorms.
  5. Whether they occur at random.
  6. Whether there are coincidental problems occurring at the same time.
    (For example, do lights flicker or motors slow down at the same time the problems occur?)

Next, the auditor needs to obtain the following information about possible sources:

  1. What are the possible sources of problems at the site?
  2. Are there copy machines on the same circuit?
  3. Are there welders on the same circuit?
  4. Are there any large air conditioners on the same circuit?

The auditor should then determine the specific symptoms:

  1. Is the customer experiencing data errors?
  2. What about system shutdowns?
  3. Is the customer experiencing loss of programs?
  4. What about damage to equipment?

It is also important for the auditor to determine the impact of these problems:

  1. Do they stop or slow production?
  2. Do they lose sales?
  3. What about loss of credibility?
  4. Do they reduce product quality?
  5. Finally, is the problem just a nuisance?

Next the auditor should determine what mitigation equipment is currently installed.

  1. Is there a UPS backing up critical equipment?
  2. Are there surge suppressors installed anywhere? If so, do they meet the proper standards for what they are protecting?
  3. Are there power conditioners installed?

The auditor should then make a list of the equipment needed at the site:

  1. Safety equipment such as insulating gloves, warning signs, and barrier tape.
  2. General equipment like flashlights, hand tools, and extension cords.
  3. Measuring instruments such as True RMS multimeters, clamp-on ammeters, test leads, power disturbance monitors, and infrared cameras.

The final step is to schedule the site visit. In doing this, the auditor must consider the following things:

  1. Should the visit be scheduled during regular working hours to see normal operations, or after hours so that circuits can be shut down?
  2. Should the customer's electrician be available to assist?
  3. Are circuit wiring diagrams available?

All the above done, the auditor is ready to go to the site.