Commercial Building Inspector Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries pertaining to commercial property due diligence

Minnesota commercial buidling inspection

Welcome!

August 23, 2018

Ok, I have finally ditched my 1990's themed website and have decide to do something different. There are a lot of great home inspection blogs out there, so I have decide to focus on commercial buildings. I have a lot first time commercial building inspection clients that do not understand the differences between a home inspection, commercial building inspection or baseline property condition assessment. 


We generally offer two scopes:

  1. ASTM E2018-15 Baseline Property Condition Assessment.
  2. Commercial building inspection.

Both scopes are based on the ASTM E2018-15 Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessment. 


The commercial building inspection scope has the following deviations from the ASTM E2018-15 standards:

  1. Opinions of probable cost for repairs are not provided.
  2. ADA items are not assessed, with the exception of handicapped parking spaces.
  3. Elevators, vertical transportation equipment and fire protection equipment are not assessed.  
  4. Egress and ingress items are not evaluated
  5. Flood plain and seismic data are not included In the report
  6. Public document review (building permits, fire and zoning code violations) is generally not included. 
  7. Repairs under $3,000 in value are reported. 

Generally, the commercial inspection scope is conducted on smaller buildings that do not have elevators, fire sprinklers or central fire alarms. The scope is flexible and is mutually agreed upon by the inspector and the client. We often perform commercial inspections that are very close to a baseline assessment, at the clients request. 


The commercial inspection report format is similar to a home inspection report, except the commercial inspection report contains a completely different set of report items tailored to commercial buildings. 


The ASTM E2018-15 baseline property condition assessment, or PCA, contains all of the items excluded from the commercial property inspection but generally limits the reporting of defects to items with an aggregate value of over $3,000. Tenant owned or maintained items are generally not evaluated.  The property condition report is presented in a narrative format with supporting documents and photos attached to the appendix.


Both scopes include:

  1. The building sub-structure or foundation inspection.
  2. The building frame or structure inspection.
  3. Exterior building inspection including the cladding or siding, windows, doors and sealant and flashings.
  4. Roof inspection.
  5. Site work inspection including retaining walls, flat-work and sidewalks, fences, appurtenances and accessory structure and landscaping. 
  6. Parking facilities and pavement inspection.
  7. Interior inspection of components such as interior doors, walls, ceilings and flooring.  
  8. HVAC equipment inspection - however it does not include a technical evaluation of the equipment. Generally a sampling of the equipment is operated in large buildings and all of the equipment is operated in smaller buildings. 
  9. Electrical components inspection including lighting, switchgear, distribution panels, transformers, distribution and branch circuit wiring. Panel covers are not opened as many buildings are provided with 480 volt or 600 volt equipment that present an arc flash hazard. 
  10. Plumbing and plumbing fixture inspection. 
  11. Storm-water drainage including roof drains, catch basins and storm-water pipes. 
  12. Topography and site grading. 
  13. Site utilities. 
  14. Insulation, however it is typically not visible with flat or low sloped roof systems. 

For additional information please our commercial building inspection page or our commercial building inspection FAQ.


In my next blog post, I will be interviewing an environmental specialist about the importance of a ASTM E1527-13 Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).


Stay Tuned!