If you own commercial real estate or are considering commercial real estate ownership, one of the most important things you'll want to consider is how your propery is inspected. Exterior inspections, as well as inspections of the property's interior, can locate potential issues to avoid extensive reparations costing thousands of dollars.
All building materials deteriorate with age and exposure to the weather. Through routine inspection and cyclical maintenance, the useful life span of commercial real estate and its historic fabric will be greatly increased.
The principal reason for developing this building inspection form is to advise building owners on the maintenance of their properties. The money invested in commercial real estate is considerable and care and effort are required to preserve and increase the value of the property.
Unfortunately, many in real estate management use the "squeaky wheel" technique in their approach to maintenance, doing little or nothing until failure occurs. And when it does the owner is hit with high repair bills and great inconvenience. The job of maintenance can be simplified if it is done systematically instead of haphazardly.
Preventive maintenance involves regular inspection of those parts of the building that are most likely to get out of working order. The accompanying checklist is intended to help a building owner or manager identify and keep an accurate record or inventory of the building's problems to facilitate systematic repair and maintenance.
This procedure is a brief but comprehensive overall building inspection. Each of the areas addressed may have more extensive inspection procedures which could be followed in the case of specific problems.
A neglected roof will result in higher costs from damages caused by leaks than a carefully maintained roof. Roofing materials and elements should be inspected twice a year, before and after the harsh weather of winter, to determine maintenance needs. The most common types of roof include gable, hip, hip-and-valley, gambrel, and flat or built-up roof.
Asphalt Shingles: Pay particular attention to shingles on the ridge, hips, and at roof edges; they get the hardest wear. Also watch for lumpiness that indicates a new roof has been applied over old shingles; all sorts of damage could be covered up. Look for:
Membrane Roof: A further development and evolution of a built-up roof is a membrane roof composed of rolls/sheets of materials such as synthetic rubber, thermoplastics, or other man-made materials. Such roofs are often installed over a layer of rigid insulation. These types of membrane roofs may not have a stone top layer. Also, these roof are often white or other reflective colors to reduce solar heat gain and the urban heat island effect.
Green Roof: The "green roof" with a living plant material layer at the top surface is typically a membrane roof as noted in "g." above, but with a very important root-resisting and waterproof layer(s) to isolate the living plant material layer from layers below. For further reference see this resource from the Whole Building Design Guide.
The accumulated effects of hot sun, wind, rain, hail, dust, winter snow, and ice over the years will weather even the best quality masonry wall and/ or siding. Natural finishes, including paint, deteriorate and show signs of peeling and blistering. Cracks develop as members weather and caulking and mortar joints give way to water penetration. The following checklist will be useful in inspecting buildings on a regular basis to determine maintenance needs.
Masonry & Mortar: The inspector should pay particular attention to loose mortar joints, cracks, stains and wet spots on the wall.
Finishes need to be renewed periodically by application of a fresh penetrating stain coat or a paint coat when wear begins to show. There are many causes of poor paint wear. Most common are vapor or condensation problems. Other causes are rain or other water behind siding or shingles and also improperly applied priming coat.
Painting: Inspect all finished surfaces for:
Fenestration refers to the arrangement of doors and windows. Energy losses can be reduced by weatherstripping. Inspect your doors and windows to ensure that weatherstripping is properly installed and all sources of infiltration are in check.
Doors: Inspect doors, frames, and weatherstripping. Check:
The ground should be properly graded to direct the flow of rainwater away from the building and from the lot to prevent standing water. The property should always be checked after a heavy rain to see if it drains properly.
Driveways and Sidewalks: These are often areas that get the most foot traffic, and should be kept free of potential hazards. Be on the lookout for:
Storm Drains: Check for proper drainage and/or clogging of drain line.
Retaining Wall: If a retaining wall collapses on your property, it could be disasterous. Keep an eye out for:
With a constant inspection schedule, you can avoid any serious maintenance fees, and keep your commercial real estate property looking great.
For more information on inspecting commercial real estate interiors, click here.
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