What Is Building Condition Assessment (BCA)
A Building Condition Assessment objective is to outline physical deficiencies in that property and recommend repair and replacement cost. The standard guide for carrying out the Property Condition Assessment is ASTME_2018-15.
What is Covered in BCA?
The inspection and the report cover the following section of property:
- Site inspection, which includes topography, drainage, parking, utilities & landscaping.
- Structural Frame & Building envelop- This is comprised of Foundation, Roofing & Exterior
- Mechanical & Electrical System- This is comprised of Electrical, Heating & Cooling, Insulation, Ventilation & Plumbing.
- Interior – This includes interior finishes of ceiling, wall & floor.
- Vertical transportation – Like elevator & escalator
- Fire Protection- What sort of fire protection system is in place in the building.
What is not covered?
The things that are not covered in building condition assessment are:
- Capital improvement cost, renovation cost.
- Mold inspection
- Reporting on the condition of hidden conditions, such as soil types and conditions, underground utilities, wells, manholes, utility pits
- Entering into confined space, which is dangerous and which can be a health and safety risk for the inspector, is not included.
- No environmental assessment is carried out during the inspection.
- No thermal imaging is carried out during the inspection.
When do you need one?
It is always recommended that if you are buying a property, you must carry out the Building Condition Assessment to know the condition of the building, whether there are any structural issues in the building and how much repair or replacement cost is involved. The financial institution also requires a BCA report for financing the mortgage. Sometimes they may ask to carry out BCA again for refinancing purposes. It is also a good idea for the owners to have a BCA done after a long-term lease is over to know the extent of repair or renovation required for the property, and they can negotiate with the tenant before the end of the contract. Sometimes owners need a building condition assessment to plan for their next five or ten-year renovation or repair cost.
Not only can defects be revealed in building inspection, they can be points for negotiation with the seller, but knowledge of required upgrades can also help you plan for adequate financing.
Challenges faced during the process of preparing the BCA
One of the components of BCA is to review the records of maintenance, building plan, and relevant drawings to gather maximum information about the property. In some cases, it was noticed that either the property owner does not have the record or reluctant to provide one. It is not possible to inspect the exterior of the multistory building from close proximity. Mostly it will be visual and from the ground. The same thing applies to a sloped roof. However, technology can solve some of the challenges:
- Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)
Previously the areas which were not accessible to an inspector but with drone things have become much more convenient. Cameras mounted on drones allow inspectors to quickly inspect building envelop of multi-storied buildings, sloped roofs, and balconies of a multi-storied building. This helps to prepare a better Property Condition Assessments report with minimal additional cost. The inspection time can be reduced by the use of drones as the inspector does not have to inspect every part of the building envelope.
- Thermal Imaging
Thermal imaging has been previously used for building inspection. However, with the advent of the Drone , the infrared cameras can be installed on the Drone. The infrared cameras can be used to evaluate areas of air infiltration and exfiltration. This will identify potential problems of leakage and the owners then can better seal the building.
It can also detect moisture intrusion on walls or roofs. An infrared camera mounted on a Drone can quickly inspect the previously inaccessible areas, and only areas affected by moisture require access by a person. However, Drone is not very useful for checking the interior of the property. Use of Drone should be as per Canada Drone Regulations. Although Drone is not always required or used, slowly this is becoming an essential tool for specialized inspection
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