Commercial Inspections

Commercial Inspections

Building Systems

A commercial building inspection should include the structure’s systems including the electrical, mechanical, heating, plumbing, air conditioning and ventilation systems. The inspector should determine whether all systems are in good working condition. In the event a system is not in working condition, the inspector may include the cost of replacement or repair in the inspection report. Fire safety systems such as building alarms and sprinkler systems as well as security systems are part of a commercial building inspection.

Exterior

The exterior of the commercial building is part of an inspection. Exterior areas include parking facilities, landscaping, roof and the building structure. A commercial inspection must determine whether the building is structurally sound and the cost to make repairs when necessary. Inspectors may hire experts such as roofing and construction contractors or building code inspectors to help inspect the exterior of the building.

Interior

The walls, floors, offices, bathrooms, kitchen facilities and all interior elements of the commercial building are evaluated during the inspection. The interior inspection provides the investor with information for renovations such as the cost to bring interiors up to date. The interior areas of the building must meet local building codes as well. Inspections should determine if the facility poses any potential safety issues for occupants.

Document Review

Professional commercial building inspectors must review documents such as certificates of occupancy, appraisals, building plans, surveys, citations, construction permits, maintenance records, evacuation plans, environmental studies and floor plans. The document review must include the building’s emergency and fire safety system records as well such as fire detection maintenance and test documents, inspection reports, fire door inspection and fire extinguisher service documents. The documents for an apartment complex include rent records and inspection reports from local code enforcement. An investor in a commercial building should evaluate previous utility bills when planning a purchase. Utility bills, the cost of the building and renovation or repair costs help the investor determine the value of the property.

Should I Get a Building Inspection or Not?

I have been asked many times how important is a building inspection? Do I really need one? This is a new building why should I have an inspection? The city said it was ok, so I don’t really need an inspection, do I? It all looks good to me so why do I need to spend even more money having someone else go through it?

Here are some thoughts. Yes, you do need a building inspection. Here is why. If you went to a doctor and got a complete physical and he said everything is ok would you be upset and feel like you had wasted your money? No, you would feel good. You are now going about the most expensive venture of your life or at least a very substantial one. Doesn’t it make sense to have a professional examine it for you who has no vested interest in telling you if something is good or bad?

Example :

I did a commercial inspection on a brand new building in Downtown Los Angeles about a year ago. It wasn’t even completed but the new buyers wanted me to go through it and tell them what I thought. I had talked to them to let them know I was NOT going to be doing a code inspection. That is the city’s job. They understood this very well, they just wanted a professional, other than the current contractor or the city to look at everything and list out what still needed to be done and how well things were being done. This is not what I usually do but I agreed. I did this and found maybe $200,000 – $300,000 of work either not done or not done properly. I took many pictures and detailed my findings. I was then called in about a month later when the contractor said he was done and found about $20,000 – $30,000 still left to do or not done to professional standards. I was then called in about a month after that and found everything was done and done to professional standards. All of this cost the buyer less than $3,000 for this building. It was the best money they ever spent.

I did a commercial inspection on a brand new building in Downtown Los Angeles about a year ago. It wasn’t even completed but the new buyers wanted me to go through it and tell them what I thought. I had talked to them to let them know I was NOT going to be doing a code inspection. That is the city’s job. They understood this very well, they just wanted a professional, other than the current contractor or the city to look at everything and list out what still needed to be done and how well things were being done. This is not what I usually do but I agreed. I did this and found maybe $200,000 – $300,000 of work either not done or not done properly. I took many pictures and detailed my findings. I was then called in about a month later when the contractor said he was done and found about $20,000 – $30,000 still left to do or not done to professional standards. I was then called in about a month after that and found everything was done and done to professional standards. All of this cost the buyer less than $3,000 for this building. It was the best money they ever spent.

We let you know what we have found. We inform you what shape the building is in and how much you should expect to pay over the next five years on the building per industry standards.

Here are the six things we have found to be the most important aspects of any building:

  1. Roofing
  2. HVAC – (Heating Venting and Air Conditioning)
  3. Electrical
  4. Plumbing
  5. Structure
  6. Site/grounds

We take each one and let you know:

  1. What is the expected useful life left in the system per industry standards.
  2. What repairs/maintenance are needed now and how much this will cost.
  3. What you should expect to pay over the next five years for each system.

What we do not include is the costs of routine maintenance or any cosmetic issues. This is up to buyer or lessee.

These three things above are the things we call a RISK Assessment™. It gets you the answer to the most important question that is asked regarding Commercial Real Estate – Namely – How Much? It can be how much anything but it is always, How Much?

That is the question we can and do answer. We answer it per industry standards and consultation with local contractors.

We can tell you who we feel are reliable contractors. We have not found it workable to refer you to the cheapest contractors. This never seems to work out over the long haul. And we are in this for the long haul.

You can always call us. We will be glad to answer any questions.
I hope this answered your question – Do I really need to get a building inspection?

Yes you do.

Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties