Commercial Building Inspection - Checklist?

2 Replies


Having a new guy come in and do an inspection on a potential purchase of a 10 unit apartment building with retail storefronts (including a restaurant). Building is close to 100 years old.

What would be critical in your checklist of things to look for and inspect thoroughly?

Find an engineering firm that does inspections! 100 year old building? Structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing inspections. Health code compliance, look at the last health inspection. Is everything compliant to code? Check utility consumption. You probably want to look at every square foot from the roof down. It's good you asked, but asking means you probably aren't really qualified to inspect it, so get with those who are. I suggest you do the financial due diligence and offer a deal subject to inspections assume all is good. If you're getting financing, such inspections will be required I'm sure. :)

@Reginald Marquardt

Bill is spot on. Engage an engineering firm as part of your diligence. We use a building inspector who does both commercial and residential (he's a structural engineer) for the initial crawl-through to create a list of potential problems. We then bring in specialized engineering expertise.

You will most probably need to have a Phase I Environmental Assessment performed {unless the owner has one that is recent, s/he is willing to share} both as a lender requirement and for your own peace of mind.

When budgeting for this, we allow $200 - $500 per unit for the cost of diligence depending on the building. On a 100 year old mixed-use building with 12-14 units (10 residential, 2-4 commercial ... including a restaurant), we'd probably allocate $6000 for initial diligence ... usually, you will spend less than this amount.