Commercial property inspections are performed for first-time buyers and longtime investors who want to add to their portfolio. It’s one of the smartest decisions they can make during their due-diligence contingency period. Regardless of a client’s experience in buying commercial real estate, the commercial inspection is an investment, and investing should never be done haphazardly or allow for important items to be overlooked.
A commercial property inspection will provide information on the physical condition of the property as a whole. It will also list an inventory of the building’s major systems and components, and an evaluation of their functional and physical condition. These findings will highlight the property’s strengths and potential deficiencies, as well as deferred maintenance issues.
As Warren Buffet – arguably the most notable investor of all time – once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Hence, prospective clients should only invest in what they understand. And the commercial property inspection will help them do just that.
Due Diligence Inspection
The commercial property inspector will comply with the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties (ComSOP) — the industry-accepted commercial inspection guidelines and an established process and system. The inspector will look specifically for issues the buyer will want to know about before purchasing the property.
As a baseline, the assessment will include a thorough visual inspection that is focused on the building’s critical systems and components, including the following:
- heating and ventilation systems;
- cooling systems;
- plumbing systems;
- mechanical and electrical systems;
- roof surface, drainage, and penetrations;
- exterior elements and fixtures;
- general topography of the building site;
- parking areas and sidewalks (to check for barriers to accessibility);
- wood decks and balconies;
- basement, foundation, and crawlspace;
- doors, windows, and interior;
- life safety components;
- kitchen area, including storage; and
- other site-specific areas of concern.
The commercial inspector may identify deficiencies related to:
- poor installation and workmanship;
- inadequate design for the intended use;
- deferred maintenance;
- environmental damage or risks; and
- systems near the end of their service life.
This information will help the new owner address the issues that impact the building from a physical standpoint and financial perspective, as well as the health and safety of the building’s occupants.
Every commercial property inspection project is different. Prospective clients should contact a member of the Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association to discuss the specific needs for their project, and they can learn more about what to expect and how to prepare for a commercial property inspection.