What Does a Commercial Building Inspector Check?

All commercial buildings can expect to be inspected regularly by registered inspectors. However, most people don’t know exactly what a commercial building inspection entails. The short answer is that building inspectors will check everything from the structure of the house to the utilities to make sure that the building is perfectly safe to live in. Here is, described in more detail, the list of what building inspectors are checking:

Visual Review
The inspector will do a visual review of the outside and inside of the building as well as its systems. This is exactly what it sounds like–the inspector will take a detailed look at each aspect of the house as it appears to their trained eye.

Structural Inspection:
Another aspect of the building that an inspector will check is how structurally sound, and therefore safe, the building is. Inspectors will check all structural aspects, including but not limited to: the roof, walls, windows, doors, and ceiling, along with the attic if present. This includes not only testing the strength of the building’s structure but also ensuring that the alignment, level, and elevation of the structure fits the required specifications.

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Heating System Inspection:
Inspectors are instructed to make sure that heating systems are tested for safety. Inspectors will always run the heat through a normal cycle to ensure proper function, and many will also do carbon monoxide testing on the heating system. Air distribution ducts (if accessible,) will also be checked.

Plumbing Inspection:
Plumbing systems are both tested for basic function as well as checked for leaks or other problems. If supply and waste lines are accessible, they are also checked. Water heaters in any commercial building, they are checked for leaks and their probably lifetime estimated. Finally, any fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler systems, the machinery, and water supply both are inspected, which includes checking the date they were last municipally inspected.

Electrical Systems:
The method for inspecting electrical systems can vary, but usually, the inspector will do a representative sampling of lights and outlets, which refers to selecting a set number of those items in the building. They will also check the distribution panels, including opening the panels to inspect wiring and breakers. In addition, any other wiring, as well as primary entry cables and transformers, will be inspected to insure proper function.

It’s important to note that while these are general guidelines as to what to inspect in a commercial inspection, the exact methods can vary. In larger buildings, representative sampling can be used for all systems and utilities if the client desires; while this is a bit of a gamble, it saves time and money. For buildings on the smaller side, a common practice is for the inspection to proceed to go top-down, starting with the highest floors and moving downward. Once the process is done, the inspector and their office will compile a report of their findings, which is eventually submitted as a final inspection report.