by | Mar 13, 2018

From home improvements, to preparing your own taxes there is a cost to taking on projects instead of outsourcing them to professional service providers. Computing these costs can be tricky when looking at time, (what you value your hour at) and opportunity cost (what you could have been doing per hour of time). When it comes to preparing your own evacuation maps, there are a few costs that you should be aware of before undertaking such a crucial project. Below are three factors you should consider before deciding to create your own evacuation maps.

1) Research Time

Code compliance and fire safety are at the heart of well-designed evacuation maps. In order to identify these codes, anticipate at least 20-25 hours researching, digesting, and then applying the code.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t include the cost of “finding the quick answer not the complete answer”. The internet may provide you with some wonderful tools and tips for this DIY project. Yet, without the expertise in code compliance or fire safety, you are likely getting only half of the answer. Complexities abound in code compliance and fire safety has countless books attributed to creating a safer business.

Therefore, the true cost here does not lie only in time but the knowledge you forgo when attempting to become a code compliance and fire safety expert in a week’s time.

What work will you sacrifice by researching the complexities of code compliance and fire safety?

2) Illustration Time

Do you have an illustrator on staff? If not, think about how long it will take to hire one or train a current team member.

If you happen to have an illustrator currently on your team there are still costs associated. For example, do they have the proper program to create a compliant evacuation map? What will they be giving up to create a map for your organization? How much will you pay them to learn a new system? What happens if they leave your organization?

This last question provides another source of cost for companies creating their own evacuation maps.

3) Employee Turnover

Imagine you decide to keep your evacuation maps in-house. You find a skilled illustrator and train them in code compliance, send them to a class at the company’s expense, and are happy with the map they delivered you. Now, what happens when they leave?

Beyond the cost of hiring a new illustrator, or losing that skilled employee, you also may lose access to your old maps.

When employees leave they frequently leave a process hole. Where are your files? Where can I access our last map? When was our last map made? Unfortunately, we’ve seen many businesses lose the answers to these important questions once an employee walks out the door. This makes sustaining your safety measures quite difficult if your process is halted, stymied, or otherwise interrupted when employees inevitably move on.

The internet has made “do-it-yourself” projects possible and often cost-effective. Often we can accomplish these projects with simple instructions, and access to needed materials. However, there are some projects that cost more to do ourselves. These are high-risk projects with the expertise required for effective completion. These projects are complex and multifaceted.

Creating your own evacuation map poses costs that are too high to justify learning the complex trade. Between employee turnover and code compliance, your people deserve a reliable fire safety partner who can deliver effective evacuation maps.

Your employees and visitors deserve to be safe.

Tony Jones is the owner and founder of Building Maps. He is a fire safety and code compliance expert who has dedicated his professional life to make businesses and their employees prepared for a disaster. You can learn more about Tony’s work and approach here.