If you’re looking for a commercial building that can be used to accommodate some of your business operations, one aspect of this process that you should fully understand is the commercial building inspection.
A commercial building inspection is meant to identify the current condition of the property as well as the cost that must be paid to make any of the necessary repairs. While a commercial building inspection is very similar to a home inspection, they are more comprehensive and will check every facet of the building in question.
It’s important to have a checklist before you obtain a commercial building inspection so that you can better understand what to look out for. Everything from the interior of the building to the ventilation and air conditioning system will be checked during a commercial building inspection. By having a thorough checklist in hand, you can make sure that the entire building is assessed. Since this inspection will likely determine if you go forward with purchasing the building, you want to be confident that you’re making a wise investment.
This article is an all-in-one commercial building inspection checklist that can act as your guide once it comes time for the building to be inspected.
What Are Commercial Building Inspections?
Commercial building inspections are designed to assess the current condition of a commercial property. Along with identifying what condition the building and its components are in, a commercial building inspection also ascertains how much it will cost to make repairs. If a current owner is attempting to sell the building, potential buyers could use a commercial building inspection to negotiate a lower price for the property or to make sure that repairs are made before they purchase the building. When you select a commercial building inspection, a professional inspector will take a look at the property and provide you with a detailed report once the inspection is completed.
The various types of commercial properties that may require a commercial building inspection include:
- Office buildings
- Apartment complexes
- Retail stores
- Manufacturing facilities
While the exact components that will be checked during a commercial building inspection depend on the specific type of building, there is a general checklist of things that are assessed no matter the building type. While a commercial building inspection can be performed every few years, these inspections will usually occur when a property owner has placed the building on the market and has found an interested buyer. The buyer will request the inspection and wait for the results to determine if they would like to go forward with the purchase.
When you’re looking to obtain a commercial building inspection, keep in mind that you likely won’t be provided with the finalized report at the site of the inspection. While this is typically possible with a home inspection, commercial building inspection reports take longer to put together and require more research. However, you should obtain the report within 24 hours after the inspection has occurred. The time it takes for a commercial building inspection to be completed can vary depending on the size of the property and the issues that the inspector encounters.
However, most commercial inspections take anywhere from 1-6 hours. If you’re searching for the right inspector, make sure that you choose one who has extensive experience with inspecting commercial properties.
What Does a Building Inspection Include?
There are a lot of different factors to consider when obtaining a commercial building inspection. Because of how many systems are contained within a commercial building, these inspections can take a long time to complete. However, it’s important to look at each factor because not identifying an issue on time can lead to extensive damages and costly repairs.
If these damages occur after you have purchased the property and your business is up and running, you may need to close down temporarily while repairs are being made, which can waste time and money that would have been better spent elsewhere. Before you go forward with a commercial building inspection, it’s highly recommended that you know what these inspections entail.
Essential Elements of a Commercial Building for Inspection
The main elements of a commercial building inspection include:
- Site characteristics like paving, utilities, and landscaping
- Heating and plumbing systems
- Structural frame condition
- Electrical and mechanical systems
- Surface of the roof
- Ventilation and air conditioning systems
- Interior and exterior elements
- Fire protection
- Complete document review
- Repair recommendations and cost analysis
There are also some additional elements that may be necessary for certain buildings. For instance, certain facilities may require an inspection of any sewage and treatment systems. When looking specifically at the building systems, it’s essential that any electrical, mechanical, air conditioning, heating, and plumbing systems are inspected. The inspector must determine that each system is working correctly and efficiently. If one of these systems isn’t in good working order, a cost analysis for the repair or replacement of the system may be included in the inspection report.
It’s also important that the exterior of the building is properly inspected. The main areas of the exterior that need to be inspected include:
- Building structure
- Parking facilities
The goal of the inspector is to make sure that the condition of these areas is acceptable. If not, contractors may need to be hired to make the necessary corrections. All aspects of the interior will also be inspected. Any renovations that have occurred on the property will be included in the report. The interior sections of the building must meet the building codes in the area, which will keep occupants safe.
As for the document review, the many documents that must be reviewed by the inspector include:
- Floor plans
- Building plans
- Certificates of occupancy
- Construction permits
- Evacuation plans
It’s important to look at these documents to make sure that everything with the building is in order. If a floor plan is incorrect, you may be paying more money that you should for the property.
The Importance of a Building Inspection
If you’ve been searching for the right building to purchase for your business, a commercial building inspection can be highly important. This inspection allows you to determine if the amount you’re paying for the property is worth it. While you may be getting a good deal at first glance, there’s always a possibility that the building inspection will reveal some serious structural problems or appliance issues that would make the property value much lower than it’s currently listed at.
The many different issues that can be caught during a commercial building inspection include poor workmanship, violations of building codes, poor design, old pieces of equipment that are close to malfunctioning, and maintenance that was poorly applied.
The findings that you receive from the commercial building inspection can be beneficial in a variety of ways, which include:
- Gives you the ability to negotiate with the seller for a lower price
- Allows you to obtain repairs before you purchase the property
- Provides a good understanding of the property value
- Ascertains quality of the systems and appliances in the building, which can help you seek the right upgrades
- Makes you aware of all building features
- Can help you protect your investment
It’s essential to schedule a commercial building inspection because not doing so can leave you in the dark about the property that you’re about the buy. Even if a seller is being completely honest and forthcoming about their property, their main goal is always going to be to sell the property at a good price, which means that they may not tell you everything you need or want to know.
A commercial building inspection is exhaustive and should answer any question that you might have about the property. If there are any necessary repairs, this inspection will include cost estimates for these repairs, which will provide you with a good starting point when trying to find a contractor to perform the repairs.
If you don’t request a commercial building inspection, you’re leaving yourself and your company open to the possibility of making a bad investment, which means that you aren’t doing your due diligence. If a heating system or roof is near the end of its lifespan, these aspects of the property may require complete replacement soon after you’ve purchased the building, which only adds to the amount that you’ve invested on the property. You don’t want to pay the bill for repairs and other work that should have been completed by the previous owner. The commercial building inspection report that you receive should give you complete confidence about the building you want to purchase.
Understanding Building Inspections to Ensure Safety and Security
Before you obtain an inspection for a commercial building that you’re interested in, it’s important that you understand what these inspections entail and the aspects of a building that are going to be inspected. With this information, you should be able to make an informed purchasing decision on the property in question. Knowing what’s included in the inspection will also help you determine if the inspection was thorough.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities.