When someone buys a house, one of the most basic parts of the standard operating procedure is to have a professional perform a home inspection. The same logic applies whenever you purchase any sort of commercial building, but the professional doing the job is called a property condition assessment consultant.
A comparison between commercial and residential situations is, however, not a perfectly one-to-one thing. It's wise to learn what is and isn't in the typical property condition assessment (PCA).
A Wide View of the Property
Where house inspections are generally pretty narrow, a PCA is oftentimes quite broad. In addition to the buildings on the property, a PCA might also look at things like the availability of commercial- or industrial-grade utilities, such as water and power, that would be sufficient to support operations.
An assessment will include information about any parking lots in the area and how the neighboring roads connect to the site. Especially for organizations that need to get inventories, materials, and other items in or out on a regular basis, this assessment can provide a ton of perspective.
You'll also find many small things get amplified. For example, fire alarm and suppression systems are usually very important to both property owners and their insurers.
Industry and government standards frequently apply to commercial sites. It's normal to look at things like ADA compliance, for example. Depending on what a building in your industry requires, the reports may include information about ways the location needs to be repaired or upgraded.
When an assessment is performed, it's rare that the PCA consultant will engage in destructive activities to get to the bottom of things. If there's evidence of water damage in a ceiling, for example, they won't peel back materials to see what's going on. Instead, notes will be taken. It's the client's job to figure out what to do with the notes.
Reports for Third Parties
A major difference in how commercial assessments work versus inspections of homes is the number of reports that are produced. You may need to supply reports to the banks financing the project, insurance carriers, investors, engineers, designers, and even government agencies.
Reports will also be entered into the record for legal purposes, usually by including them with information sent to the county register about the property. These reports can become invaluable if there are disputes down the road, such as questions about compliance or disclosures.
To learn more, contact a property condition assessment consultant.