• I could not locate an attic. Does a commercial building need to have a attic?

    No, not all buildings will have an attic. While under roof spaces should have access there are certain building that have a space that is so limited it is not accessible. These are very common under flat or low sloped roofs.

    Question Category: Technical/Attic and Insulation
  • What tools do I need to bring to an inspection?

    Tools are not required. However, many inspectors will carry a mobile or digital camera, infrared camera, outlet tester, non-contact voltage test, probe, and portable ladder.

    Question Category: Technical/General Inspection
  • Should I operate commercial kitchen equipment during an inspection?

    The ComSOP does not require the inspector to operate commercial kitchen equipment.

    Question Category: Technical/Cooking Area
  • How long does a typical fire extinguisher last?

    Fire extinguishers should have an expiration date and service tag affixed to them. This tag usually indicates the inspection schedule. For more information about inspecting fire extinguishers, visit Fire Instinguisher Maintenance and Inspection

    Question Category: Technical/Life Safety
  • What is the most common issue with commercial windows?

    Most commercial properties have solid or fixed windows, especially across curtain walls. These windows are typically aluminum and sealed with a rubber gasket. Unfortunately, this gasket shrinks over time, and the gap leaves an opportunity for moisture intrusion.

    Question Category: Technical/Doors Windows and Interior
  • Do I need to inspect the interior of a chimney?

    The ComSOP does not require inspection of non-accessible locations or items, including the interior of fireplaces and chimneys.

    Question Category: Technical/Fireplace
  • How do I determine if a building’s structure is wood frame or masonry?

    The easiest way to determine if the building is constructed of a wood frame or masonry is to look at the profile of the building at the exterior wall’s window or door frame. A wide profile increases the chances of it being masonry. Additionally, inspectors may choose to look at unfinished areas. Note that older solid masonry buildings can have four to six horizontal bricks and then a rotating soldier row connecting the rows.

    Question Category: Technical/Structure
  • When is a crack more than a crack?

    A crack is not necessarily a sign of failure. Therefore, a photo or series of photos is needed to properly assess the situation. The Field Guide to Crack Patterns in Buildings is an excellent resource for evaluating cracks.

    Question Category: Technical/Exterior
  • Should I take roof core samples during an inspection?

    The ComSOP does not require invasive testing during an inspection, like core samples or cut tests. However, the inspector may choose to exceed the SOP. The core sample should be properly patched and sealed.

    Question Category: Technical/Roof Inspections
  • What degree of damage to an air conditioning condenser’s screening and fin system is acceptable before the system will not function properly?

    The typical rule of thumb is 20%. The fin system can be damaged up to 20% if the coils under the fins are not exposed. Any damage greater than 20% could diminish the system’s cooling potential.

    Question Category: Technical/HVAC
  • Do I need to remove the dead front covers on electrical panels during an inspection?

    No, inspectors are not required to remove any dead front covers. CCPIA recommends that 200 amp service panel dead front covers not be removed unless by a specialty consultant. Note that specific tools or processes may be necessary to remove 200 amp service panel dead front covers.

    Question Category: Technical/Electrical
  • Does the water/plumbing need to be turned on during an inspection?

    The status of the water service does not prevent the inspector from assessing the plumbing system. The inspection can be performed as long as you can follow the system’s distribution. However, the inspector should comment in the inspection report on any limitations, such as a turned-off water system and what could and could not be assessed.

    Question Category: Technical/Plumbing