CCPIA Videos - Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association

About this video:

Join Rob Claus for an informal walk-through of Main Street in Longmont, CO, where he will inspect exterior features of commercial buildings for any issues, assess their overall condition, and learn about common construction and repair practices in the area. We encourage all commercial property inspectors to conduct this exercise in their own towns to enhance their understanding and expertise in inspecting commercial building exteriors.

About This Exercise

Gaining inspection practice doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply visit your downtown area or other locations with accessible exteriors, such as business parks and shopping centers. From there, you can perform an inspection from public walkways and spaces of building exteriors. Follow these steps: 

  1. Choose an Area. Select a location that features a variety of business types and has public walkways and spaces for viewing the buildings. Downtown areas or business parks are ideal.
  2. Choose a Focus. Decide whether to concentrate on specific elements or to inspect anything visible from public spaces. You might focus on siding during one visit and parking areas during another. You could even assess roofs from public parking garages or other elevated spaces.
  3. Choose an Approach. You might walk and discuss findings with fellow inspectors or your team, observe on your own, take photographs for later research, or use a combination of all three approaches. Just make sure to stay in public areas to avoid issues with businesses.

The benefits of this exercise include exposure to various building types, ages, and construction practices all at once. You’ll identify signs of previous repairs and maintenance, learn about general building practices in your area, and possibly discover new conditions to familiarize yourself with for future inspections. Use this exercise to enhance your learning and boost your confidence. If you’re a company with several commercial property inspectors onboard, consider scheduling this exercise as a team activity after a group lunch.

Critical Thinking Questions

Before Exercise

  1. What types of buildings should I expect to see in the chosen area?
  2. Are there public sidewalks, alleys, and parking areas available to view the buildings from?
  3. What will be my focal point during the informal walk-through, or will I consider everything visible?
  4. Which approach will be most beneficial to me? 

a. Should I bring a fellow inspector, work with my team, or go solo?

b. Should I focus on soaking in observations or document information for practice? 

During Exercise 

  1. What visible elements fall within the scope of the ComSOP? 
  2. What visible elements fall outside the scope of the ComSOP? 
  3. Are there any building elements or details that you do not recognize?
  4. Can you identify any trends or patterns in the types of maintenance performed on different buildings?
  5. Can you identify any trends or patterns in the types of construction practices or materials used on different buildings?
  6. Are there signs of past repairs and maintenance? 
  7. Are there any elements that, in your opinion, require attention, either for repair or maintenance?
  8. How would you document and describe your findings to a client?

Post Exercise 

  1. Which aspects of the walkthrough did you feel fully confident and comfortable with?
  2. Are there any specific areas where you need further training or research based on today’s experience? 
  3. Would you be able to clearly communicate your findings and observations to clients and in your reports? 
  4. What lessons from this walkthrough can you apply to future inspections?


Additional Resources for Commercial Property Inspections: