Commercial Building Inspections

Katie Thompson

What Do Commercial Inspectors
Look for During an Inspection?

As a knowledgeable investor, you know that managing your risk is key to your success.  Prior to closing on a commercial real estate transaction, it is important to evaluate the prospective commercial building for defects.  A building inspection is usually carried out to protect all parties during the commercial real estate transaction.

Many buildings have defects that may not be immediately apparent for a variety of reasons.   An inadequate understanding of the building codes, lack of project management experience, and projects that go way over budget can all lead to cost cutting and subpar workmanship.   The defects often go unnoticed until they become major issues.

Here are some of the most common deficiencies
that come up during a commercial inspection:

1. Foundation Settlement and Shifting.  

This may be a result of poor soil compaction, soil composition, flooding, drought or improper drainage.  Soils rich in clay and silt become saturated quite easily and the expansion in volume causes foundation cracks.  Edmonton soils tend to have a lot of clay because this city was built on a glacial lake. Extreme drought can also cause the soil and clay to dry out and shrink.  The foundation can crack and shift into the vacant surrounding space as the soil dries out.

2. Shingles lifting and blistering off tar and gravel roofing membranes.  

Improper installation or inadequate ventilation of shingles. Hot and moist air rises and becomes trapped if there is no proper ventilation.  Tar and gravel roofing membranes are prone to mold and it can be costly to repair leaks.

3. Moisture penetration within the walls, windows, roofing and foundation.  

This can be a result of poor surface drainage, defective seals around doors/windows, defective joints, cracks, etc.  Structural damage, mold and unhealthy air quality are some of the issues that arise from excess moisture.

During a building inspection, a Professional Engineer assesses existing condition of the building and property which typically includes:

  • Structural Review of the Foundation, Roof systems and Superstructures
  • Review of Mechanical Systems;
  • Review of Electrical Systems;
  • Review of Life Safety Systems including Exits, Fire Alarms; Sprinkler Systems, etc.;
  • Review of Site Drainage, Site Servicing and Site Parking, etc.;

Photos are taken and all discoveries will be documented into a report authorized by a Professional Engineer.  A commercial building report can be used for due diligence, to identify anticipated cost expenditures over the Projected Useful Life of the Building, or to meet bank and lending institutions requirements for commercial purchases.

Bolson Engineering and Environmental Services is a civil engineering company that has been doing commercial building inspections since 2007.   With our building inspection experience and expertise, you can rest easy knowing that you are in the right hands.  Contact us to discuss your project.

About the author

With more than 12 years in human resources, Katie brings important process management skills to the table. Her direct experience with senior management in the construction industry helps her understand your engineering project goals. Her creative forward-thinking propels Bolson toward exciting new business opportunities.

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