Commercial FAQs

Are you certified to perform commercial inspections?
Yes, I am a NACHI Certified Commercial Inspector, trained at ITA in Denver and a FREA Certified Commercial Inspector.

Are you licensed by the State of Oregon?
Yes, I am a licensed Home Inspector and Licensed Unlimited General Contractor in the state of Oregon. I am also a graduate engineer with 30 years experience. My complete Resume is available upon request. There is no government licensing specifically for commercial inspections.

Do I need an engineer to do my commercial inspection?
Depending on the scope that you choose, a structural engineer may be included in the commercial inspection team. Most Engineers are specialists, and do not typically have the overall knowledge and training to coordinate a complete inspection. As an engineer myself I am well qualified to determine the need for any particular specialist in a particular discipline.

Who is included in a commercial inspection team?
Depending on the size and scope of your inspection, the team can include an electrician, plumber, structural engineer, HVAC specialist, sprinkler & fire systems specialist, commercial estimator, and architect. Usually, not all of these specialists are needed, and others can be included if required.

What is the cost for a commercial inspection?
The cost for your commercial inspection is based on the scope that you choose and based upon the property involved. The cost will be included in our written proposal.

What is the scope of a commercial inspection?
The scope describes the areas, components, and systems that are included in your commercial inspection. It will identify the condition of existing systems and components. The client will decide on the scope, based on specific needs and expectations. The scope will be included in the written proposal.

What standards do you use for commercial inspections?
Commercial inspections are referenced to ASTM E2018-01, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is the only nationally and internationally recognized standard for the inspectin and reporting of the condition of commercial property. Depending on your scope, specific sections of E2018-01 will be used. The full E2018-01 may not be used, since there are sections of it that may not apply to your particular inspection scope or requirements.

What is Property Condition Assessment (PCA)?
Property Condition Assessment is the process of observing the property, interviewing sources, and reviewing documentation in order to develop a PCR of a commercial real estate’s current physical condition.

What is a Property Condition Report (PCR)?
A Property Condition Report is a written report, prepared with reference to ASTM E2018-01, that outlines the observations and opinions as to the subject property’s condition.

Why adhere to the “ASTM” standard for the inspection of commercial property?
The American Society for Testing Materials, ASTM E2018-01 is the only recognized standard for the inspection and reporting on the condition of commercial property. It is recognized internationally. This is the standard that lending institutions will be looking for and basing their loan decisions upon. It includes financial projections on repairs and maintenance that help banks and owners plan for the financial future.

And the Biggest question of all… – What if a comprehensive Property Condition Assessment “Kills the deal” after much work?

There is a scenario where an agent works for months with a client, has them put in an accepted bid in on a property. The fear is that a Property Condition Assessment (PCA) may bring undue attention to material defects or deferred maintenance problems that cause the buyer to back out of the purchase deal.

This is possible, but far from typical. Should a professional 3rd party PCA bring to light previously unknown or not accounted for defects, these may affect the property value. A reasonable seller will choose to either adjust the price or correct some of the findings. Once documented, it is an unusual seller who will not be willing to consider the cost of legitimate repair & maintenance in the overall financing. Also, in the case of deferred maintenance findings, they are usually indicative of a reduced cash flow and therefore, very likely a more motivated seller.

It is not the intention of property inspection services to devalue property or “kill” any deal. What I do is investigate and report on the condition of property. This is to the end of having a well-informed buyer or owner who can effectively plan the expenses of ownership well beyond the purchase or time of assessment. This is precisely what lenders want to know and why they seek PCA’s based upon the ASTM standard. It specifically provides a 5-year outlook of predictable expenses.

It is possible that someone may back out of a purchase transaction upon review of a completed PCA. They may find that the property under the circumstances won’t fit their needs or their projected financial package. This is not the worst thing that could happen. This client will still have their needs, they will move on continuing to have them met. They will also have proof that their agent, who recommended they have the property assessed, was looking out for their interests. They will find something, and the next time they need anything, it is very unlikely they will want any other representation. That kind of loyalty and return business is the most important aspect of the Real Estate business in my experience.

The worst thing that could happen is the client buys a property, without having planned for unknown expenses. If these expenses become significant and are revealed soon after the purchase, the entire transaction becomes a bad experience for the client. This one transaction went through. However, the relationship with this client may be irreparably damaged.

This is just food for thought, and only based upon my own experience and opinions.


Scott Harris