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A home inspector equals a commercial property inspector? Think again

Jack Werner.  File Photo
Jack Werner. File Photo

By Jack L. Werner, Ph.D., A To Z Construction

The basics are there, but you wouldn’t build a skyscraper on a house foundation.
Sure, a few very small commercial jobs are basically home inspections. The condo office complex would be an example. As size and complexity change, home inspection training isn’t sufficient to do the job.

The roof is usually the single most expensive component. It may be a built-up roof (BUR) aka the hot tar and gravel system, a metal panel roof system, a two-ply modified bitumen torch down rubber roof system, a single ply membrane (TPO, EPDM, or PVC system), or a spray polyurethane foam-based system. Inspectors do not learn how to properly inspect these systems by inspecting residential roofs. The only professional training and certification for commercial roofing that I am aware of is the HAAG Engineering certification.  A to Z Inspections has this certification.

Chillers, fire suppression systems, structural steel/I-beams, huge electrical panels, cranes, walk-in freezers, well and septic, large swimming pools, elevators—these areas are not part of the standard experience or training for home inspectors. There is a vast difference in knowledge, experience, and education needed to properly perform a commercial property inspection. All inspectors hired by A to Z have the four-hour on-line “Commercial Inspector Certification” from InterNACHI, but that is wholly insufficient for serious commercial inspections.

A to Z Inspections – as a serious, competent commercial property inspection company – brings to the job:
•   Property Condition Assessment (ASTM-E2018) certification
•   HAAG Engineering certification for commercial roofing
•   Construction Degree from OSU
•   EPA Certification in Waste Water Treatment Systems
•   Thermography Certification
•   Experience

A to Z has inspected office buildings, shopping centers, apartment complexes, refrigerated warehouses, mini-storage facilities, build-outs, car dealerships, metal bus barns, manufacturing plants, distributions centers, and multi-story hotels.
Look for these three things when securing a commercial inspection:
•   Credentials – Certifications, training, degrees
•   Experience with commercial inspections
•   Ability and willingness to bring in experts – elevator company, commercial electrician, large generator technician, commercial roofer, fire suppression systems company, plumber

NOTE: This is adapted from Werner’s monthly column for the July 2018 print edition of The City Sentinel newspaper.

Jack L. Werner, Ph.D., owns A to Z Inspections and can be reached at 405/412-7861 or [email protected]. A to Z Inspections performs commercial and residential inspections. Learn more at Jack has a construction degree from OSU and was Oklahoma’s first designated Master Inspector. He teaches inspections as well as courses for the Oklahoma State Home Builders. The National Association of Home Builders named him a Master Instructor in 2017.

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