A Complete Commercial Building Inspection Checklist For 2024

By - Chris Barnard
Last Updated - May 6th, 2024 11:42 AM

As an owner or manager of a commercial property, you’ll agree when I say that building inspections are the single most important factor that can make or break your business. However, in the absence of a commercial building inspection checklist, even an all-out inspection is as good as no inspection at all. 

Why do I say so, you might wonder? 

Well, getting an inspection alone can’t guarantee that you’ve indeed completed your due diligence. As such, it is equally important to ensure your commercial property inspectors are examining every nook and cranny as per applicable standards. 

Now, this is where a standard building inspection checklist comes in handy. Think of it as a guide or handbook detailing what needs to be inspected. 

In this blog, I’ve created a detailed checklist for commercial building inspectors, along with my own building inspector insights. 

So, read on and acquaint yourself with what needs to be inspected and why. Also, bookmark this blog for your reference before an inspection. 

What is a commercial building inspection checklist? 

Before I detail the checklist, let’s first understand what a building inspection checklist is. 

At its very basic, a commercial building inspections checklist is a list of all such building components that need to be examined during an inspection. 

Here’s a sample commercial inspection checklist for your reference: 

sample-commercialbuilding inspection checklist

As you can see, the checklist details the nitty gritty of all such items that are essential to keep the property up to the mark. Moreover, there are checkboxes along with each item with options yes or no, as well as a column for inspector’s comments. 

Now, commercial real estate inspectors will use one such checklist while inspecting your building. Herein, they’ll assess each item and check the boxes accordingly. 

For instance, an inspector will examine the disabled spots in the parking area and check whether they meet ADA norms. And if they do, they’ll check the yes box. 

Similarly, if the inspector thinks some improvements are necessary, they’ll note their opinion in the comment box. 

Why do you need an inspection checklist? 

As I said, a building inspection checklist for commercial properties is primarily used by inspectors or inspection firms. 

So, you might well be curious why you need a checklist as the building owner or manager. 

The answer is quite obvious: You want your inspector to assess all the essential building components for complete due diligence. And to that end, it is important you’re aware of what is supposed to be inspected during a property inspection.

Apart from that, a property inspection checklist will also help you keep an eye on vital systems on a regular basis by yourself. Although this isn’t a substitute for professional full-service inspections, it goes a long way to complement periodic inspections. 

Furthermore, an inspection checklist can also assist landlords and tenants develop clarity on the building’s existing condition, thus helping them navigate the pros and cons of triple net lease

Commercial building inspection checklist: Here’s what it covers 

Most of the commercial inspection checklists that you’ll come across are basic templates containing a list of inspection items. And while they’re authentic checklists used by building inspectors, you won’t find a detailed explanation of how each component is inspected.

So, to give you a complete picture of each of the checklist items, I’ve created the most detailed free commercial building inspection checklist. 

#1. Foundation and structure 

The first item on any commercial property assessment checklist is the building’s foundation and structure. And it’s for obvious reasons since these two components are key to ensuring your building stands strong and safe for its entire estimated service life. 

In fact, the foundation is the most important system on which the entire building stands. So, any standard inspection checklist starts with the foundation where inspectors assess its condition and look for signs of visual defects. 

This is followed by the structure which consists of columns, slabs, walls, roofs, etc. It is the outer frame of your building responsible for overall strength and longevity, and thus, is a high-priority item on the checklist. 

#2. Roofing 

Your building’s roofing is quite essential when it comes to safety and well-being. So it isn’t surprising why it comes second on a commercial property inspection checklist. 

Talking about the roofing inspection itself, it involves an examination of two main areas, namely the roof surface and drainage. 

Firstly, the checklist recommends an assessment of the roof surface. Here, inspectors look for potential defects visible on the outer surface. 

This is followed by an analysis of the roof’s drainage, which is essentially meant to ensure that water drains easily and there’s no waterlogging on the surface. 

Read further: What Do Building Inspectors Look For In Commercial Properties?

#3. Doors and windows 

Next up on a commercial property inspection checklist are the doors and windows.

Now, while they might not sound as important, at least in terms of building and occupant safety, your doors and windows do play a significant role here. 

How, you might wonder? 

Well, first, if the doors and windows are not closing in or opening out properly, it can be a sign of a major structural fault. So, this small-looking defect could mean your building’s structural integrity is at stake. 

This, in turn, will call for a closer assessment of the building’s structural systems as well as urgent repairs if required. 

Structural issues apart, functional windows and doors are also essential for occupants’ safety, and thus a high-priority item on the checklist. 

#4. HVAC systems

You’ll agree when I say that HVAC systems are the most important components when it comes to maintaining optimum air quality in your building. And this is exactly why you’ll find HVACs among essential commercial building inspections checklist items. 

Talking about the HVAC inspection, it involves a close-up analysis of how every individual HVAC component is functioning. 

For instance, whether or not the heating systems, air purifiers, ventilation shafts, etc. are functioning optimally will all be analyzed. 

You can expect your building inspector to follow a commercial building electrical inspection checklist while examining the HVACs. If not, I suggest you ask them to follow one such standard checklist.

#5. Walls and plumbing 

A checklist for commercial building inspection is incomplete without the two most vital components i.e., walls and plumbing. 

To begin with, a wall inspection on the checklist involves both outer and inner walls. Herein, your property inspector will look for signs for visible defects such as cracks, caulking or sagging paint, seepage, mold, and more. 

Coming to plumbing inspection, it is all about checking for leakages, broken or corroded pipes, dripping faucets, reduced water pressure, etc. 

You see, faulty plumbing can damage your property big time by damaging walls, foundations, and other vital systems. So you should make sure the building inspector examines the plumbing up close. 

#6. Balcony and deck 

Balconies, decks, and patios are a common sight in a lot of commercial buildings. So, to ensure overall building safety, inspection checklists include these components as well. 

Moreover, if your building is higher than three stories or is used as a hotel or vacation rental, it is also mandatory to get a balcony DBPR hr 7020 inspection

Talking about the inspection, it will assess everything from balcony and deck surface to railings to fasteners, and more. 

Note: a deck or balcony inspection will follow a separate specialized checklist. You can read my blog on Balcony Inspection Checklist to know what it covers. 

#7. Basement and crawlspace 

It is often in neglected areas like basements and crawlspaces in a building that you find defects. So no wonder why a commercial inspection checklist recommends assessing these areas. 

You see, from major cracks to seepage to water logging, there could be just about any problem lurking in these corners. As such, examining these spaces is important for building safety and longevity. 

#8. Fire protection systems 

While all buildings need a robust fire safety system notwithstanding their type, it is even more important for commercial buildings. 

So, a checklist inspection will examine crucial fire safety components such as alarms, sprinklers, pipes, etc. 

#9. Parking and walkways (for ADA compliance) 

Assessment for ADA compliance is an important part of commercial inspections, something the checklist mentions as well. 

Here, inspectors will check whether or not your property is accessible by disabled individuals as per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

To sum up 

As you can see, a commercial building inspection checklist is a comprehensive document covering each and every component essential for your building’s safety. 

Moreover, the checklist covers even such areas that are often overlooked. 

For instance, ADA compliance in parking spaces is something we are all aware of but might overlook, albeit unintentionally. 

So, by having an overview of an inspection checklist, you can ensure you fulfill your due diligence requirements. 

Looking for building inspectors to conduct one such commercial building checklist inspection? 

You can get in touch with us and receive a free inspection quote

At FCBI, we are a seasoned commercial building inspection team with experience spanning over two decades. And we’ve got all your inspection requirements covered on a budget.

You can also read: Apartment Building Inspection: An All-inclusive Guide (2024)

Chris Barnard

Hi there! I am Chris Barnard, a licensed building inspector and the founder of Florida Commercial Building Inspectors. With over two decades in the inspection industry, I’ve delivered thousands of commercial and residential inspections across various states. During all these years, I’ve developed detailed insights on the ins and outs of building inspections, something I look forward to sharing with you through my blogs.

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