Since many home inspectors do not perform commercial building inspections, adding commercial inspections to your repertoire is a great way to expand your business. But before you get started, you should understand that there are major differences between home and commercial building inspections.
Commercial Building Inspections vs. Home Inspections Overview
Commercial building inspections are considered a niche within the home inspection industry. Therefore, it is important to learn the difference between home and commercial inspections before you add the service to your business. Commercial building inspections are typically more complicated than home inspections, which creates more risk for the inspector. A home inspector follows Standards of Practice whereas the commercial inspector follows the Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process developed by ASTM. Fees may be larger for commercial building inspections and are often more time-consuming to perform.
Can a Home Inspector Inspect Commercial Buildings?
A home inspector can perform commercial building inspections, but there are additional skills and specialized knowledge needed for commercial inspections due to the degree of variation in commercial buildings. While homes can be different, the degree of variation pales compared to that with commercial buildings. Commercial buildings differ greatly in size, shape, features, utility systems, and materials depending on the type of business they are meant to serve.
What do Commercial Building Inspectors Look for?
Commercial building inspections are primarily focused on the structural integrity of the building, but that can encompass many things. A commercial building inspector will check the walls, roof, and floor of the building for evidence of moisture (including mold, water stains, improper drainage and standing water) as well as damage and pests. Assessing plumbing and electrical may be performed by the commercial building inspector or it can be performed by a specialist.
How much Should a Commercial Building Inspection Cost?
The cost of a commercial building inspection generally ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It is often based on the square footage of the building or can be a flat fee. Additionally, the cost of the commercial inspection will depend on whether the heating, electrical, and plumbing are included in the scope of the inspection.
What is Involved in a Commercial Roof Inspection?
A commercial roof inspection is generally part of a commercial building inspection, but also can be a standalone service. It includes:
- Examining the surface of the roof for breakage, leaks, evidence of pests, and standing water
- Looking at the ceiling and walls inside of the building for water stains or mold that might indicate a leak in the roof
- Reviewing the flashing, skylights, vents, and HVAC to make sure they are undamaged and properly sealed
- Ensuring that drainage systems and gutters are unobstructed and functioning properly
Do Commercial Inspections Bring Larger Fees?
Commercial building inspections generally bring larger fees than traditional home inspections. Performing commercial building inspections can improve your inspection skills and grow your business dramatically by adding a new network of clients seeking services.
Can you Get More Referrals from Commercial Building Inspections?
One of the greatest benefits of expanding your business to include commercial building inspections is that performing them well can lead to many jobs in the future. A single homeowner is unlikely to purchase another home in the near future and may refer you to their family and friends, but a business owner may need additional inspection services for other properties or specialty services for the same property. Business owners are also more likely to be part of a network which can lead to a larger number of referrals.
What Types of Properties can be Inspected with Commercial Coverage?
Commercial building inspection coverage offers protection on inspections of commercial properties defined as any building greater than a 4 family dwelling and less that 100,000 square feet. Buildings greater than 100,000 square feet are not covered under this policy.
Choose Elite for Your Commercial Building Inspection Coverage
Elite has earned a reputation for superior home inspection coverage over its 13 years of operation and half a million homes inspected. The difference between Elite and other carriers is that we have our own captive carrier dedicated to home inspections and have pioneered an approach which protects home inspectors before and after inspections. Our legal team and risk management services help you avoid and mitigate claims, keeping your costs lower and protecting your business over time. This comprehensive approach is even more critical with commercial building inspections, and you can trust us to help you succeed in this complicated niche of the industry. Contact EliteMGA to learn more about how we can help your business.