PCA Vs FCA In Real Estate: What’s The Difference? 

If you own, manage, rent, or invest in commercial real estate, you already know the importance of condition assessments. Moreover, you may have got such assessments at some point in time or might be preparing for one.  

Ultimately, the only way you can ensure that your properties are up to standards is by regularly evaluating their existing condition. 

But if there’s one common confusion that almost every stakeholder has, it is about PCA and FCA reports. In fact, people even mistake a PCA real estate report and an FCA audit report as indeed the same. 

For starters, let me tell you that both PCA and FCA assessments have different scopes and purposes. 

So, what exactly are the differences between PCA vs FCA? 

Well, read on as I’ve discussed it in detail, along with my own industrial building inspector insights. 

PCA vs FCA: What are the differences? 

Now that you know both PCA and FCA are different from one another, you might well be wondering how exactly these building assessments are different. 

After all, property owners and managers use these two terms almost interchangeably. Not to mention, PCA and FCA both assess a building’s major systems to determine their standards, functionality, and maintenance requirements. 

You see, despite all the similarities, there’s a clear difference in the intent behind both these assessments. 

For instance, its the building owners or managers who mostly seek a PCA report to understand their due diligence needs.

But that’s not the case with an FCA audit which is mostly sought by potential investors who want to establish a facility’s remaining useful life. 

Also, when it comes to an FCA vs PCA report sheet, you’ll find differences in their coverage and validity, among others. 

Now, there’s more to the FCA PCA differences. And to help you understand better, I’ve explained both the assessments and their scope separately. 

So, let’s have a look. 

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What is a PCA in real estate?

First things first, PCA stands for property condition assessment and is part of the due diligence inspections for commercial real estate. 

Herein, qualified professionals like licensed engineers, contractors, and architects carry out detailed examinations of your property’s vital components as per the ASTM E2018 Standard Guide. This involves a visual assessment of the property’s structure, mechanical and electrical systems, roofing, etc., to identify and locate potential problems. 

For instance, there might be some hidden issues affecting your building’s safety, performance, or overall service life. And these are exactly what a PCA inspection will uncover. 

Also, at the end of the assessment, you’ll receive a PCA report sheet highlighting the condition of your building as well as details of required improvements. 

Who needs a PCA? 

As I said earlier, a PCA real estate inspection is part of commercial property due diligence. Meaning if you’re the owner or manager of one such property, you’ll need an assessment on a regular basis. 

In fact, you might require a PCA every time you’re about to undertake routine maintenance or repairs. 

Apart from that, PCA is also considered an essential exercise before real estate transactions. This includes property sales or leases wherein buyers, tenants, or even investors may seek an assessment report. 

Moreover, lenders might also ask for a PCA report sheet before issuing a loan or renewing one. And that’s because lenders want to finance only such properties that are safe and up to standards, making retail building condition survey a prerequisite. 

What is the scope of a PCA? 

When we talk about the differences between PCA and FCA, you’ll see the most important distinctions in the scope or coverage of both assessments. 

For instance, while an FCA audit is all about establishing the remaining longevity and essential capital investment into a property, that isn’t something that a PCA goes into. 

Instead, you can expect a property condition assessment to cover the following: 

  • Structure and foundation 
  • Basement and crawlspace
  • Roofing 
  • Walls and windows 
  • All mechanical and electrical components 
  • HVAC systems
  • Plumbing and drainage  
  • Wood decks and balconies (as per Florida balcony inspection requirements)
  • Accessibility to the parking and sidewalks (for ADA requirements)
  • Life-saving systems such (fire fighting equipment, alarm systems, etc.)
  • Exterior components, fixtures, etc.

As you can see, all these systems have to do with your building’s existing safety and overall maintenance requirements. And to that end, a PCA will help you know the nitty-gritty of the same. 

What is a PCA real estate report? 

A PCA report sheet is simply the findings of the assessment prepared by the PCA inspection professionals. And based on overall building safety and well-being priorities, this is divided into two categories, namely: 

  1. Immediate repairs table: It lists all the critical areas that need immediate maintenance or repairs, such as fire safety systems, deck or balcony safety lapses, etc. Also, it provides an estimated cost that you’ll incur to undertake this essential upkeep. 
  2. Replacement reserve table: This list is all about the long-term investments that you’ll need to make in building maintenance in order to increase its useful life. 

Wondering what’s more to a property condition assessment report? 

You can go through my blog – Real Estate Condition Report

What is an FCA in real estate? 

Now that you’re thoroughly acquainted with PCA real estate assessments let’s talk about an FCA or facility condition assessment. 

As the name suggests, an FCA audit involves an in-depth condition assessment of either one or multiple facilities at the same time. And this includes anywhere from industries to warehouses to healthcare centers to educational institutes and more. 

Not to mention, an FCA is also carried out for facilities owned by the government. 

Talking about the facility assessment itself, it involves an examination of the facility’s physical infrastructure such as major systems. 

Sounds similar to a PCA, doesn’t it? 

Well, there’s much more to FCA audits and reports. 

You see, apart from analyzing the facility’s overall physical condition, an FCA also covers its operational components. 

Furthermore, engineers conducting an FCA also evaluate the maintenance best practices being followed within the facility. This, in turn, allows them to identify the shortcomings and suggest improvements. 

Coming to the facility condition assessment template, this is different from a PCA too. That’s because unlike visual-only PCA examinations, an FCA involves a host of methods including on-site assessments, performance tests of various systems, facility’s past data analysis, and more.

Who needs an FCA? 

An FCA is primarily sought by facility owners and managers, as well as asset managers in charge of multiple facilities. 

You see, not only do FCA audit reports allow the above stakeholders to evaluate the existing condition report of their facilities, but they also help make essential investment decisions. 

For instance, from investment planning and budgeting to setting short and long-term investment goals based on priority items, an FCA can help you do it all.

Also, if you’re a buyer or investor looking to acquire or invest in a facility, an FCA audit report can also serve pre-purchase due diligence purposes. After all, FCAs are much more detailed than a PCA report sheet. 

Not to mention, FCA reports even come in handy if you’re seeking to finance or refinance your facility. 

What is the scope of an FCA audit?

While you can expect an FCA to cover all the physical condition aspects of a facility, unlike a PCA real estate analysis, it isn’t confined to that. 

So, what are the additional areas that an FCA covers? 

Here’s a complete list of items that a standard facility condition assessment looks into: 

  • Deficiencies in the facility’s systems 
  • Remaining useful life of the facility’s systems
  • Maintenance checklist items (both routine and deferred) 
  • Replacement needs, along with the estimated capital requirement 
  • Repair needs based on priority (high to low) 
  • Whether or not the facility complies with the original design and intended use
  • Current Replacement Value (CRV)
  • Facility Condition Index (FCI)

What’s more to an FCA audit? 

Well, I’ve detailed it all in my blog – Facility Condition Assessment Checklist

What is an FCA audit report? 

Like a PCA report sheet, an FCA audit report is also the most important part of the entire assessment procedure. 

In fact, FCA reports are meant for more than just data delivery; they serve as the basis for important decision-making. You can think of it as a crucial working document that helps decide everything from regular maintenance costs to big ticket capital expenses. 

Moreover, unlike a PCA report that is only prepared once and has a year-long validity, an FCA is updated on a regular basis. And that means one thing: The FCA data is always the latest and up-to-date. 

You might also want to read – What Do Building Inspectors Look For In Commercial Properties?

Wrapping up the PCA vs FCA differences

By now, it’s pretty clear how both PCA and FCA are completely different in terms of their intent, coverage, and scope. 

For instance, if you’re a property owner looking to undertake routine maintenance, a PCA report sheet could do. 

However, I can’t say the same for facility owners who, apart from maintenance, also want to plan short and long-term property upkeep expenses. That’s because you’ll need a way more thorough and current assessment like the FCA for one such expenditure planning. 

Looking to undertake one of these commercial property assessments? 

You can reach out to us and receive a free assessment cost estimate

At FCBI, we are a team of seasoned building inspectors with an experience spanning over two decades. And we’ve got all your property assessments needs covered on a budget. 

Have you read: Pros And Cons Of Triple Net Lease In Real Estate.

A Complete Property Condition Assessment Cost Breakdown

A property condition assessment is essential for all commercial buildings, notwithstanding their size, age, or location. 

In fact, whether you’re an existing owner, building manager, potential buyer, or tenant, you do need these assessments. After all, a PCA is the only way you can gain thorough insights into a building’s condition and take steps to safeguard your investment. 

But before you go about a building assessment, you might have one big question on your mind: How much will a property condition assessment cost? 

And you aren’t the only one with this question. As a building inspector, I am asked this question by just about everyone looking to obtain a property condition assessment report. 

This is exactly why I’ve detailed a complete breakdown of condition assessment costs. So read on and find out exactly how much it will cost you. 

How much will a property condition assessment cost you? 

A property condition assessment and report can cost you in the range of $1250 and $2500. 

But it goes without saying that this is just an average assessment cost, and the actual cost you incur can vary. 

For instance, if you want a PCA report for a standard single or double storey commercial building in Florida, you can expect to pay in the above range. Nevertheless, a condition assessment for a large multistoried building can cost you an upward of $10,000. 

You see, commercial property inspectors like myself will provide you with a personalized assessment quote. And the amount we quote you will depend on various factors such as your building’s location, size, age, etc. 

Now, if you’re wondering how these factors affect the cost of PCA, I’ve detailed it all. So, let’s have a look.

You might also want to read – What Is A Property Condition Assessment Report

Get A Complete Property Condition Assessment Report Now!

Our property condition assessments adhere to ASTM E-2018 standards and detect hidden problems quickly and efficiently. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ to safeguard your investment on a budget.

What factors determine the cost of property condition assessment? 

The cost of assessing your property’s existing condition depends on various factors. And not all of these factors have to do with your building alone. 

For instance, while the size of your commercial property is an essential cost determinant, the expertise of your building inspector is also a factor at play. 

Similarly, the availability of building documents, its past assessment history, etc., will also influence the assessment cost. 

All in all, here are the factors that will decide how much you pay for a property condition assessment:

#1. The size of your property 

If there’s one most important factor that’ll drive the cost of PCA up or down, it is the size of your property. 

You see, most commercial inspectors quote you on the basis of the total square footage they inspect. So, the larger the square footage, the more you can expect to pay for a property assessment. 

For instance, let’s suppose I have a fixed charge of $0.15 to inspect your property per square foot. 

Now, if you own an office space spanning a total area of 10,000 square feet, I’ll charge you $1500 for a property condition assessment. 

However, if you own a retail store that’s 30,000 square feet in size, this cost will go up to $4500. 

Read further: A Complete Commercial Building Inspection Checklist For 2024

#2. Your building type 

Another important factor that decides the cost of property assessments is the type of commercial building. That’s because inspectors like myself determine their per square footage charges based on the building type. 

For instance, let’s say I’ve to inspect two buildings sized 25,000 square feet each. Here, while the first building is an office space, the other building is a warehousing facility. 

So, the fact that warehouses are less complex to inspect than office spaces means that my per-square footage charges will be lower, too. 

Going by the present industry norms, you can expect a per-square-foot cost of $0.10 for warehouse assessment. This is $0.05 lower than the standard $0.15 that inspectors like me will charge you for assessing the office building. 

Meaning that while the 25,000 square feet office assessment will cost you $3750, a similar sized warehouse will cost you $2500. 

Bonus: A property condition assessment is different from a facility condition assessment. And that means the above cost breakdown will not be applicable if you’re looking to get an FCA.

Wondering what are the differences between a PCA and an FCA?

You can read my blog – PCA Vs FCA Assessments In Commercial Real Estate.

#3. The age of your building 

Picture this: A 50,000 square feet newly constructed commercial property’s assessment can cost you up to 25 percent less than a 50-year-old building of the same size. 

Sounds strange, right? 

But this is true. And this happens because of the following reasons: 

  1. Inspectors need to assess historical building records, which include all relevant documents right from the time the building was constructed. 

Now, there’s a good chance that a 50 year old building will have some of these documents missing. And although it’s possible to find the essential information, it adds up time and increases inspection cost. 

  1. The older the building is, the more documents inspectors will need to examine. This will inevitably increase the cost of assessment. 

#4. Your property’s location 

The location of your property will also influence the overall property condition assessment cost. After all, a building located at an easily accessible location will cost less to assess compared to one at a far off location. 

You see, this has to do with the additional time and resources that an inspector will spend reaching your property.

For instance, if an inspector has to drive a hundred miles for a couple of hours to reach your property, they will charge you extra. 

#5. The inspector’s experience and qualifications 

As a rule of thumb, a more qualified and seasoned building inspector will quote you more than a newbie. 

For instance, while it is a prerequisite for all inspectors to carry a state-specific license, those who are certified by InterNACHI and NACBI, among others, might charge you accordingly. 

This is because certifications and experience matters a lot for property condition assessments. Simply speaking, the more your inspector’s experience the higher the assessment quality you can expect. 

In the same way, the assessment standards that your inspector follows will also determine the pricing. 

For instance, ASTM E2018 standards are the highest property condition assessment standards in the country. So, if your inspector is qualified enough to follow these standards, you can expect to pay slightly higher. 

You might also want to read – How Much Does A Commercial Building Inspection Cost

To wrap up 

As you can see, the cost of building condition assessment cost isn’t fixed and varies for different properties. 

In fact, even if two buildings are of the same size, it is possible that the cost of assessment will vary if the buildings are used for different purposes. 

I hope I was able to provide you with a clear pickete of property condition assessment cost with this pricing breakdown. 

Not sure how much a property condition assessment and report will cost you? 

Get in touch with us and receive a free quote!

With multiple certifications and highly seasoned commercial building inspectors on-board, we have also got your property condition assessment requirements covered.

Have you read: How Much Does A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Cost?

What Is A Condition Report & Why Do Properties Need One?

Commercial properties have always remained the hot sellers in the real estate industry. So much so that despite all market downturns, the number of commercial buildings has increased by over 6% since 2012. 

Statistics apart, the never-ending demand for office and retail spaces, warehouses, etc., among both buyers and tenants, speaks to this fact. 

However, while prospective owners and renters are clear about the kind of building they need, there’s one question that always exists. And that is, ‘What is a property condition report, and why do I need one?’

You see, a property condition assessment report is an important document highlighting the existing state of your building and provides you with complete clarity before you commit to a deal. 

Not to mention this document also comes in handy for sellers and lessors and helps them secure a better agreement. 

Now, if you’re wondering what’s more to these reports and how you can benefit from them, I’ve compiled everything about condition reports in the blog. Also, as a commercial property inspection consultant, I’ve included my expert tips that you can use to make the most out of these reports. 

So, jump right in and learn more. 

What is a condition report? 

Condition reports are documents that detail the findings of a commercial real-estate inspection. This includes details of the building’s physical condition, such as visible defects and damages, maintenance and repair needs, etc. 

Also, the report can provide you insights about upcoming expenses on building upkeep and your potential financial liabilities in the future. 

Now, these reports are created after the commercial building inspection or property condition assessment is complete. So, before we get into the nitty gritty of condition reports, let’s first understand condition assessments. 

What is a property condition assessment (PCA)? 

A property condition assessment or PCA is the formal term for commercial property inspection, which examines the vital systems and components of a commercial building. These inspections are carried out by licensed inspectors as per ASTM E2018 standards and include a walk-through assessment of your property. 

For instance, a typical property condition assessment will examine your building’s structure, walls and roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, HVACs, etc., to name a few. 

What is a property condition assessment report (PCA report)?

As we discussed earlier, a property condition report, or PCR, is released after the completion of condition assessments and includes the findings of the inspection.  

For instance, if a building has defects such as structural faults, broken plumbing, electrical failures, etc., these reports will highlight them. Similarly, a PCR will also specify looming problems and the potential damages they can cause in the future. 

In short, a thorough report allows you to undertake preventive measures and carry out essential repairs in time. 

Get A Complete Property Condition Assessment Report Now!

Our property condition assessments adhere to ASTM E-2018 standards and detect hidden problems quickly and efficiently. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ to safeguard your investment and ensure compliance with safety standards.

Why is a property condition assessment report so important?

A condition report, also called the real estate condition report, is considered the gold standard for evaluating a commercial building’s existing state. And for good reasons, since it details every aspect of the property’s major components.

In fact, whether you’re an owner, buyer, or tenant, these reports serve as a credible document to understand the property’s condition before you plan on the next steps. 

For instance, condition reports are usually required while leasing out a property. Herein, the report will list the condition of everything from walls to doors to windows to electrical appliances and more. 

Now, by signing on this report, both owner and tenant acknowledge the present state of the property. Also, they agree to their individual liabilities regarding required maintenance and upkeep. 

Similarly, if you’re buying a property, a condition assessment report will let you know if the property is worth investing in. For instance, if a building has pending repairs, you’ll know when and how much you might have to spend on them down the road. 

Furthermore, these reports serve as an important guide in general for building owners and managers to maintain the property. 

In short, from sale/lease negotiations to risk mitigation to due diligence to maintenance planning, a PCA report is essential for everything and for all stakeholders.

did-you-know

Wondering how much it costs to obtain a property condition assessment report? 

You can go through our blog – How Much Does A Commercial Building Inspection Cost?

When is a property condition assessment report required? 

A property condition assessment report is, without doubt, the single most important document for any commercial structure. As such, it is required every time you need to know the condition of a building or any of its components. 

For instance, you’ll require an assessment report to prepare a maintenance checklist and schedule building maintenance. 

In all, there are three situations when these reports are crucial, namely, sale, lease, and periodic maintenance of a building. So, let’s have a closer look and see why you’ll need them in these scenarios. 

#1. While buying or selling a property 

A building inspection and a condition assessment report thereafter are prerequisites during the sale of any commercial property. 

In fact, a majority of real-estate buyers even include a due diligence clause in their purchase agreement. This allows them to get a third-party report before they buy the property. 

So, you might be curious why a property conditions report is so crucial during the sale process. 

You see, as a buyer or seller, this report will provide you with complete clarity regarding the property’s present condition. And this ensures you can engage in reasonable negotiations and arrive at a fair deal. 

Not to mention, depending on the report’s findings, you can also decide if you want to buy the property or not. 

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? 

Here are some benefits of condition reports for both buyers and sellers: 

Benefits of condition reports for buyers 

If you’re a buyer, a condition assessment report can put you in an advantageous position. 

How, you might wonder? 

As we just discussed, the due diligence clause allows you to get a third-party assessment report before you finalize the deal and make the payment. 

For starters, this allows you to determine the worth of the property based on its existing condition. You see, notwithstanding the amount quoted to you, the actual worth of a property can be way lower. 

Furthermore, the report will let you know where the problem areas are and how big a liability they can become in the future.

Finally, condition reports protect your investment by allowing you to have fair price negotiations with the seller or even walk out of the deal. 

Benefits of condition reports for sellers 

Many property owners who are looking to sell believe an assessment report can hurt their deal or sale prospects. 

But is it true? 

Well, if you’ve kept your building in good shape, a conditions report can actually be beneficial for you. That’s because a clear documentation of optimal systems and components will put the valuation of your building much higher. 

Also, the fact that these reports are neutral means potential buyers can’t make challenging claims regarding the property’s value. 

Meaning not only can you quote a higher price for your property but also have an upper hand in sale negotiations. 

You might also want to read – Pre Purchase Building Inspection: What To Know Before Buying.

#2. While leasing a property 

Apart from sales, building condition reports are also essential during the lease process. That’s because these reports provide a clear picture of the property to both the owner and tenant. 

For instance, whether you’re a lessor or a lessee, a conditions report can be the basis for agreeing on the present condition of the property before finalizing the lease agreement. Also, when it comes to property maintenance, it’ll let you know about your liabilities. 

As a result, you can avoid potential conflicts during or after the lease period. 

In case you’re wondering about the benefits of condition assessment while leasing, here are some: 

Benefits of condition reports for tenants 

For tenants, a conditions report is an important safeguard before entering a lease agreement. 

How? 

You see, a property can have plenty of defects and pending repairs when you’re renting it. In fact, there’s a good chance that these issues will become larger and expensive problems in the future. 

Now, a condition assessment report will highlight these problems to both you and the owner. Also, it will ensure the owner assumes responsibility for the existing problems and that the owner can’t hold you liable for them. 

Simply put, you can steer clear of unwarranted liabilities towards the leased property. 

Benefits of condition reports for owners 

Like tenants, condition reports are also beneficial for property owners. And that’s for an obvious reason, i.e., you should not be liable beyond your maintenance liabilities. 

The idea is simple: While you’ll assume your responsibilities towards existing defects and undertake required repairs, any further wear and tear during the lease period will be the tenant’s liability. 

In a nutshell, it’s a win-win for both the tenant and the owner, who know their individual liabilities. 

Have you rented an apartment and are curious about mid-lease NNN inspections by the landlord? 

If yes, you can go through our blog – Apartment Building Inspection: An All-inclusive Guide (2024).

#3. During regular intervals 

Even if you’re not looking to sell or lease your property, you still need a property condition assessment report. That’s because, as a building owner or manager, it is your responsibility to keep the property in an optimal condition. 

So, by getting a property condition assessment and a subsequent report at regular intervals, you can determine what needs to be maintained, repaired, or replaced. 

For instance, I always suggest building owners obtain a condition report every 3-5 years as it ensures your property is well maintained at a minimal cost. 

pro-tip

Bonus: Lenders also seek PCA reports

Did you know that property condition assessment reports are an essential part of real estate lending? 

You see, more often than not, lenders ask for a PCA report before financing a commercial building. That’s because they want to make sure the property is up to standards and meets their lending requirements. 

In fact, no lender will be willing to invest in a building with failing systems and components. After all, in an event of foreclosure they won’t be able to recover their investment from one such building. 

Property condition assessment report: Frequently asked questions 

Who prepares a PCA report?

A condition assessment report is prepared by a licensed commercial building inspector who also conducts the property assessment. 

For instance, if you own a building in Florida, only licensed Florida commercial inspectors can carry out the assessment and prepare conditions report for you. And it can be anyone from a general contractor to an engineer to an architect. 

What does a property condition report include? 

A building condition report provides you with information about the existing condition of the following components of your building: 

  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems
  • Plumbing 
  • Electrical and mechanical components 
  • Roofing 
  • Doors and windows
  • Exterior elements
  • Parking lots and sidewalks
  • Deck, patio, and balcony inspection report
  • Basement
  • Foundation 
  • Crawlspace 
  • Life-safety components like fire safety equipment 

You see, these are the components that a building inspector will cover during a property condition assessment. So you can expect to gain detailed insights about these components from a PCA report.

Note: A property condition assessment report is different from a facility condition assessment report, notwithstanding the similarities between their names.

Curious about what those differences are and how a PCA report is unique?

You can go through my blog on PCA Vs FCA In Commercial Real Estate.

How long does the report preparation take? 

Building inspectors usually take between 2 and 3 working days after completing the property assessment to prepare condition reports.

pro-tip

You might also want to read – Balcony Inspection Checklist: All That You Need To Know.

Get A Complete Property Condition Assessment Report Now!

Our property condition assessments adhere to ASTM E-2018 standards and detect hidden problems quickly and efficiently. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ to safeguard your investment and ensure compliance with safety standards.

Conclusion 

When it comes to keeping your commercial property in optimal condition, a condition report is the most important document. 

Property maintenance apart, condition reports are crucial for property buyers and sellers during the sale. Not to mention, these reports are also the basis of lease agreements among owners and tenants. 

As such, I can’t overstate the importance of obtaining a condition report. 

Looking to get a property condition assessment and obtain a report? 

You can get in touch with us!

At FCBI, we’re seasoned commercial property inspectors with over two decades of experience and renowned certifications of excellence. So, whatever your assessment and report requirements are, our commercial building inspection services have got your back. 

Read further: Warehouse Inspection Checklist: 12 Things To Inspect For Safety

Facility Condition Assessment Checklist: A Complete Guide

Your buildings are the heart of your operations, and over time, these buildings and their systems age, requiring assessment, maintenance, and renewal.

As per the study by SMR Research Corporation the average age of U.S. buildings is already clocking in at 53 years. So, keeping them in great condition is one of the major tasks of owners and facility managers.

And to do that, they rely on facilities condition assessment (FCA). 

You see, an FCA gives you a lowdown on where your assets are at in their operational life. This info is gold since it helps you make informed, budget-friendly decisions to keep your building going strong.

But before you get started, you first need a facility condition assessment checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything, which is what we will discuss in the article.

I will also answer the most asked questions about FCA: what it means, why it’s important, and, most importantly, how you can conduct a successful one.

What is Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA)?

An FCA is simply a process that analyzes the physical condition and functionality of a facility and its assets to make sure it is safe for operation.

It is also known as capital need assessment, backlog study, building condition audit, or building condition assessment.

FCA is typically conducted by facility condition assessment companies consisting building inspectors who can be architects, engineers, and skilled trade technicians. For building condition assessment, these experts consider various factors, such as the age of your building, its design, the material used, its assets, etc.

Book A Facility Condition Assessment Today!

We conduct facility condition assessments as per ASTM E-2018 standards and detect the smallest of problems lurking in your facility. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ to get an assessment and maintain your facility in top shape.

What are the benefits of FCA?

A FCA gives you 4 major benefits:

1. It helps you review the assets and systems of the facility

2. It assesses the extent to which the facility caters to occupants’ needs

3. It identifies the root causes of deterioration of the building

4. It determines the replacement value of the facility.

FCA checks the condition of your facility’s critical assets, such as the roof, machinery, plumbing, structure, and lights. It predicts each asset’s lifespan and estimates the costs and timelines for fixing or replacing them. The assessment also looks at any overdue maintenance and suggests improvements. 

That’s not all, as it also helps you plan your budget and ensures the facility meets all essential standards.

In simple words, FCA gives a clear picture of what needs attention and how much it might cost to keep things running smoothly.

But is an FCA really that important?

Now, conducting an FCA might seem like extra work, but it is essential for keeping tabs on your building’s health and long-term performance. 

Without it, budgeting relies on guesswork. 

As we have already mentioned, it helps you estimate reinvestment costs and guide your decisions on restoring, replacing, or maintaining assets. It uses data to prioritize projects for maintenance, repair, or renewal. 

The result? 

An accurate view of your building’s health so you can target investments and meet stakeholder goals.

did-you-know

Facility Condition Assessment Checklist

FCA relies on a well-planned approach and a series of tasks.

For a successful FCA, you can use our detailed facility condition assessment checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Note: You (facility owner/manager) should provide all the essential information to the consulting team before initiating a building condition audit.

1. Exterior Building Elements

  • Roofing system
  • Exterior walls
  • Windows and doors
  • Foundation and structure
  • Exterior finishes (paint, siding, etc.)

2. Interior Building Elements

  • Floors and floor coverings
  • Walls and wall coverings
  • Ceilings
  • Interior finishes (paint, trim, etc.)
  • Stairs and elevators

3. Structural Components

  • Beams and columns
  • Floors and ceilings
  • Stairs and handrails
  • Structural integrity

4. Mechanical Systems

  • HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning)
  • Plumbing systems (pipes, leaks, fixtures)
  • Electrical systems (wiring, panels, outlets)
  • Fire protection systems
  • Elevators and escalators

5. Life Safety and Security

  • Fire detection and suppression systems (Fire extinguishers, Sprinkler systems)
  • Emergency exits and lighting
  • Security systems (alarms, cameras, access control)

6. Lighting

  • Interior lighting fixtures
  • Exterior lighting fixtures

7. Site and Grounds

  • Parking lot conditions (potholes, drainage)
  • Landscaping
  • Sidewalks and pathways
  • Fencing and gates

8. Accessibility

  • ADA compliance
  • Handicap-accessible ramps and entrances
  • Elevator accessibility

8. Environmental and Regulatory Compliance

  • Hazardous materials assessment
  • Adherence to local building standards
  • Environmental impact assessment

You might also want to read – Balcony Inspection Checklist: All That You Need To Know.

10. Space Utilization

  • Office and workspace layout
  • Storage areas
  • Common areas

11. Technology and Communication Systems

  • IT Infrastructure
  • Communication systems (phone lines, data cabling)

12. Energy Efficiency

  • Insulation and energy-efficient windows
  • Lighting efficiency
  • HVAC system efficiency

13. Maintenance and Housekeeping

  • Cleaning and janitorial services
  • Routine maintenance practices
  • Record-keeping for repairs and maintenance

14. Documentation and Record-Keeping

  • As-built drawings and blueprints
  • Maintenance logs and records
  • Warranties and equipment manuals

15. Budget and Cost Analysis

  • Cost estimates for necessary repairs and maintenance
  • Long-term budget planning

16. Future Capital Improvement Needs

  • Identification of potential future upgrades or renovations

17. Safety Protocols

  • Emergency response plans
  • First aid stations and equipment

18. General Observations and Recommendations

  • Any other general observations and recommendations for improvement

Read further: A Complete Commercial Building Inspection Checklist For 2024

Who needs a facilities condition assessment?

Simply put, anyone responsible for a building’s upkeep, especially commercial property owners, should consider a FCA. Not to mention, many commercial properties are legally required to have regular FCAs.

If you own or oversee commercial properties like offices, schools, hospitals, government facilities, retail spaces, manufacturing plants, or storage warehouses, an FCA is surely beneficial for you. 

It’s a practical tool for various types of real estate investments, including rental properties and commercial assets.

You can also read – Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Checklist

Why do you need FCA?

1. It helps you prepare for upcoming expenses.

The goal of an FCA is to let the owners understand the current condition of their facilities and how suitable they are to meet the needs of their operations in the upcoming years.

The data you get from FCA gives you a deeper understanding of the physical condition and value of your building’s assets. It helps determine the likelihood of encountering issues with the physical assets.

And when you encounter these issues, you need capital to address them. FCA helps you prepare your funds in advance for the repair, renewal, or replacement of the building in the coming years.

2. Decide on the priority for maintenance or renewal of items.

In managing buildings, it’s crucial to prioritize items for maintenance based on their current condition, and an FCA helps you with this. 

AssetLocationConditionDescriptionRecommendationCostUrgency
RoofingMain buildingFairSome cracks and leaks were observedRepair and seal$10,000High
HVACMain buildingGoodNo major issues detectedMaintain and clean$1,000Low
PlumbingMain buildingPoorSeveral pipes corroded and leakingReplace and upgrade$15,000High
ElectricalMain buildingGoodNo major issues detectedMaintain and inspect$1,000Low
LightingMain buildingFairSome fixtures are broken or flickeringReplace and upgrade$5,000Medium

It evaluates assets, putting urgent tasks fixing security systems at the top of the list. It also clarifies which assets are critical and which are secondary.

3. Carry out preventive maintenance as needed.

An FCA keeps your assets well-maintained, lowering the chances of breakdowns and reducing downtime. It helps you prioritize preventive maintenance, as we discussed earlier, by showing the health of all assets. This allows for more efficient scheduling, cutting overtime costs.

4. Strive for the net-zero target.

Researchers have stated that to prevent severe climate impacts, carbon emissions must decrease by half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. 

Many countries are dedicated to transitioning to a net-zero emissions economy because simply reducing emissions is insufficient. 

An FCA provides you with essential information for making energy-efficient improvements and working toward net-zero goals by gradually reducing the carbon footprint in your facility.

pro-tip

6-Step Facility Condition Assessment Process

Step 1 – Plan and prepare for the assessment

In the planning phase, start by establishing your goals and the scope of the assessment. Decide which parts of the place you want assessed, like the building structure, machines, electrical systems, and design features.

Step 2 – A thorough visual inspection

With a facility condition assessment checklist handy, engineers conduct a thorough visual building inspection of both the exterior and interior of the facility. They look for evident signs of damage, deterioration, wear, and potential safety hazards and document visible deficiencies, such as cracks, leaks, corrosion, or malfunctioning equipment. To support their findings, they attach photographs or videos for comprehensive documentation.

Step 3 – Review relevant documentation

In this phase, experts collect and review existing documentation related to the facility, including maintenance records, repair history, architectural plans, and equipment manuals. This information offers them valuable insights into past maintenance practices, known issues, and warranty details.

Step 4 – Systems and components assessment

Technicians evaluate the condition and performance of various systems and components within the facility. They use testing and measurements to assess the functionality of HVAC systems, electrical circuits, plumbing systems, and structural integrity.

Step 5 – Data analysis and report generation

In this phase, your commercial building inspector will analyze the gathered data and present it in a comprehensive report. This report clearly highlights identified deficiencies, prioritizes maintenance needs, and estimates costs for repairs or replacements. It also provides concise recommendations for addressing identified issues.

The report includes supporting documentation, such as photographs, sketches, or diagrams, to be easily understandable.

Step 6 – Follow-up and action plan

In the end, they communicate the findings and recommendations to you or any relevant stakeholders. They also collaborate to develop an action plan based on the assessment results. 

You should prioritize and schedule maintenance activities, allocate resources, and establish a tracking mechanism to ensure that identified issues are resolved in a timely manner.

What is Included in a Building Assessment Report?

A typical building assessment report includes these 7 components:

1. Executive Summary: A quick overview highlighting the assessment’s scope, key findings, and main recommendations.

2. Introduction: Brief insights into the building, its systems, and the purpose and scope of the assessment.

3. Assessment Methodology: Describes how the assessment was done, including inspection methods and data analysis.

4. Findings: Key discoveries, pointing out problems or deficiencies in the building’s systems and components.

5. Recommendations: Suggestions for addressing identified issues, whether it’s repairs, upgrades, or changes to the maintenance program.

6. Conclusion: Summing up the main findings and recommendations, providing an overall assessment of the building’s condition.

7. Appendices: Extra info from the assessment, like photos, diagrams, or test results.

You might also want to read – What Is A Property Condition Assessment Report?

How Often Should You Get FCA Done?

In general, we recommend that you get a building condition audit conducted once every 3-5 years.

However, the frequency of FCA is highly influenced by the type, age, usage intensity, and budget constraints of the facility.

In other words, it depends on your specific facility and your needs.

That being said, the general guideline suggests that you should get FCA conducted at least once every 5-10 years or more frequently if your facility is showing signs of wear and tear or if there is a change in its usage intensity.

For example, facilities with high use, like schools or hospitals, may require more frequent assessments than less-utilized ones, such as warehouses.

Facility Condition vs. Property Condition Assessment

People often mix up facility condition assessment and property condition assessment, thinking they are the same thing.

These terms may sound alike, but they have different roles.

A property condition assessment (PCA) is usually done during the due diligence process when a property changes hands. Lenders may require it before approving a loan, and investors or buyers may request the assessment before making a purchase. 

It gives a snapshot of the building and its contents at a specific moment, outlining the general costs for fixing existing issues and maintaining the property.

On the other hand, an FCA is all about long-term planning. With the help of a facility condition assessment checklist, you examine each piece of equipment, giving specific data on future repairs, maintenance, and replacements. This helps in making accurate predictions about capital expenses and maintenance costs over time.

Want to learn more about the differences between PCA and FCA?

You can go through my blog – PCA Vs FCA In Real Estate: What’s The Difference

What is the Facilities Condition Index (FCI)?

​​The facilities condition index, or FCI in short, is a numerical value that reflects the overall condition of a building.

FCI=[(Total Renewal/Repair Costs)/ Estimated Replacement Value]*100

The resultant FCI is then divided into 4 categories: Good, Fair, Poor, and Critical.

Imagine you’ve spent $100,000 on your renewal/repair costs, and if you had to replace everything, it would cost you an estimated $1,000,000 (that’s the replacement value).

Based on this, the FCI of the building would be:

FCI=($100,000/$1,000,000)*100

FCI=10%

Now, imagine your facility with renewal/repair costs of $700,000 and an estimated replacement value of $1,000,000. 

In this case, the FCI would be:

FCI=($700,000/$1,000,000)*100

FCI=70%

Here, 70% FCI deficiency, which means that the building’s condition is critical and requires extensive repairs and replacements. 

Note: Keep in mind that different business groups may have distinct average rates, which gives us the versatility of FCI as a comparative measure in facility management.

Looking to lease a facility under a triple net lease agreement?

If yes, then do read my blog on the pros and cons of triple net lease and know what you can expect.

Key Takeaways

  • FCA is conducted by inspectors who can be architects, engineers, or skilled trade technicians.
  • FCA analyzes the physical condition and functionality of a facility to make sure it is safe for operation.
  • Our facility condition assessment checklist helps you plan a well-planned approach for a successful FCA.
  • FCA checks assets and systems, identifies building deterioration causes, and determines replacement value.
  • It makes sure that occupants’ needs are met
  • FCI indicates the condition of a facility after an assessment.
  • You should get FCA conducted at least once every 3-5 years. 

Book A Facility Condition Assessment Today!

We conduct facility condition assessments as per ASTM E-2018 standards and detect the smallest of problems lurking in your facility. Click ‘Inspect My Property’ to get an assessment and maintain your facility in top shape.

You might also want to read – Apartment Building Inspection: An All-inclusive Guide (2024).

We Are Here To Help

We at Florida Commercial Building Inspectors (FCBI), have been providing facility condition assessment services for the past two decades, ensuring the safety of thousands of lives.

More than talking about us, we would like to know more about your needs.

Reach out to us and let us talk about your needs in detail, and based on that, we will give you a quote for the facility condition assessment services that you need.

You can also find our commercial building inspectors in JacksonvilleMelbourneOrlandoSt AugustinePalm CoastDaytona BeachPort OrangeSawgrass, and more.

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