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The purpose of the Property Condition Assessment PCA, popularly called Building Condition Assessment (BCA), is to observe and report, to the extent feasible, on the physical condition of the subject property. The standard guide is ASTM_2018-15 is Baseline Property Condition Assessment.

The PCA should have four components:

  • Documentation Review and Interviews
  • Walk-Through Survey
  • Preparation of Opinions of Costs to Remedy Physical Deficiencies
  • Property Condition Report

When getting a Property Condition Assessment (PCA) or Commercial Building Inspection done, there are several things an inspector would want to see in order to write up a report for the client. An inspector examines the site, structure, building envelope, mechanical systems, electrical system, interior, and fire protection during this inspection. All of these components must be inspected by a non-intrusive inspection method, i.e., visual inspection only.

When examining the site, a building inspector looks at topography, stormwater drainage, ingress and egress, paving, curbing, parking, lighting, landscaping, recreational facilities, and unique utility systems, such as solar power. All of these components are inspected during a commercial building inspection via an exterior walk-around and a visit to the roof for getting your bird’s eye view.

Also Read: General Knowledge of Cost to have a Building Inspected

When inspecting the structure of a building, an instructor looks at what is known as the substructure; this includes foundations, crawlspaces and everything below ground level. Inspectors also look at what is known as the superstructure, which includes everything above ground; this is the framing, the roof, and beams and truss system. The inspector must look at the deterioration of structural systems, which are rust, leaking in the roofing systems, any visible bending, rusting cracks on the steel or wood structure wherever visible.

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Looking at the building’s envelope, the inspector looks at all non-structural components that separate the interior and exterior of the building. Building envelopes can be categorized as roofing materials, cladding, non-structural brick veneers, windows, and doors. These are often inspected during a walk around the site, a visit to the roof, and looking out second-storey windows if possible. An inspector will look out for sealant tearing, damage in exterior materials, and damage from the inside, including the exterior walls and ceiling of the building.

Mechanical systems are looked at from the inside or the roof, depending on what unit is inspected. The RTU is inspected on foot from the top of the roof or drone usage if not accessible; inside units are often inspected from the mechanical room. It is good to look at the condition of the unit to determine their effective age and manufacturer’s stickers for any additional information required, including the date of manufacture. The mechanical aspect of the inspection also includes the building’s plumbing, electrical systems, and convergence equipment.

When inspecting the interior of a building, the inspector will look at all distinctive finishes, corridors, and any existing lobbies. The typical finishes apply to all rooms; often, all washrooms will have the same finishes and office spaces. This inspection also includes unique amenities, like spas, restaurants, clubs, and shops.

Also Read: Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector

The last thing to mention is fire protection, which includes fire extinguishers, fire alarm pulls stations, standpipes, fire hydrants, water storage, smoke detectors, heat detectors, stairwell pressurization, emergency, and evacuation plans. When inspecting fire extinguishers, it is essential to look at the inspection tag to see when the last inspection took place, as it’s recommended to inspect them every 12 months.

The inspector will also look for all inspection tags for the mechanical and electrical system to understand if the systems are maintained regularly or not.

In conclusion, an all-in-one inspection checklist may be required for a Commercial Building Inspection as it’s a pretty extensive process, and an inspector would want to hit all of these major components in their first visit. All components must be visually inspected without tearing out materials or demolition.

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Patrick Buffalo

Project Coordinator at prycoglobal
Patrick Buffalo is a Construction Engineering Technology graduate conducting Building Condition Assessments and Project Estimations. He has developed advanced knowledge on building science and is our lead BCA personnel. He also assists the project managers with day to day activities.
Patrick Buffalo