CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Concrete Slab Foundations: Monolithic and Stem Wall

Concrete slab foundations, commonly called slabs, are the most common foundation system found in commercial buildings. Concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water. When concrete is allowed to cure or harden, it can support the load of a building. There are two basic types of slabs found in commercial properties: monolithic…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

How to Use Schedules in Commercial Property Inspection Reports

In the construction industry, a schedule is a tabular approach to organizing and presenting lists of building materials, systems, and components. For instance, schedules are common for windows in a set of design blueprints. The schedule provides a graphical representation or list of all windows required for a construction job and indicates the number of…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Plumb, Level, Square and Straight

There are very few constants in construction or inspections, but one basic construction principle is that buildings should be plumb, level, square and straight (PLSS). In inspecting a structure, anything that deviates from this would be considered an issue or defect. Many inspectors are not structural engineers or architects, and a commercial property inspector is…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Inspecting Parking Areas at Commercial Buildings

There are various types of parking areas at commercial properties, ranging from multi-story parking structures to gravel parking pads. Multi-story parking garages can be complex and contain systems beyond most inspectors’ comfort level. In this case, the inspector can exclude the parking structure altogether through the pre-inspection agreement or by bringing a specialty consultant to…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

How to Inspect a Commercial Electrical Panel

Assessing electrical panels, or panelboards, is only one part of the electrical portion of a commercial property inspection. Inspectors must fully understand the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties (ComSOP) to properly and safely inspect electrical panels. As a ground rule, the inspector should verify that a panel, specifically the panel cover and…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

About the Electrical Service at Commercial Buildings

Electrical service refers to the conductors, materials, and equipment that transfer power from the utility system to the wiring system that supplies the subject property with electrical power. Commercial buildings should only be supplied by one electrical service. This generally prohibits the installation of more than one set of service conductors in a building. An…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Commercial Electrical Systems: What Is Three-Phase Power?

Terms You Should Know Alternating current (AC): A current that periodically reverses direction and magnitude continuously. Direct current (DC): A current that does not reverse direction but maintains the same single steady flow. Single-phase: A circuit energized by a single alternating current. Three-phase/3-phase: A wiring system consisting of four wires and used in industrial and…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Inspecting Transformers

Transformers are used to change AC voltage levels. These can be termed as step-up or step-down, depending upon the need to increase or decrease in the voltage level. This is necessary in commercial buildings because the main service voltage is static, and certain distribution systems may require something different. A good example might be the…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Landscaping: Is It Included in a Commercial Property Inspection?

Section 6.5.2 of the ComSOP titled Exterior states that the inspector should inspect the landscaping during a commercial property inspection. Contrarily, InterNACHI’s Home Inspection Standards of Practice exclude landscaping from a standard home inspection. Landscaping Landscaping refers to the process of making a piece of land more attractive by altering the existing design, such as…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Catch Basin and Manhole Inspections

Section 6.5.2 of the ComSOP titled Exteriors states that the inspector should inspect the stormwater drainage system, general topography, and parking area. To complete this part of the inspection, the inspector must first understand the role of catch basins and manholes. Technically, the ComSOP excludes the inspection of manhole covers, but an assessment of the…

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CCPIA Articles - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

Variable Air Systems (VAV) and How to Inspect Them

There are two types of air-handling systems: constant volume (CV), and variable air volume (VAV). In a CV system, a constant amount of air flows through the system whenever it is on. A VAV system changes the amount of airflow in response to heating and cooling load changes. The latter allows commercial buildings to better…

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