Whether you’re running a small business or a multinational corporation, you’ll definitely need space to house your operation. You just can’t run the business in a place that’s already run-down. As you’re about to lease or invest in a desired commercial space, you have to make sure that the building works for you and your objectives.

Iln this case, doing building checks yourself can put you in an advantageous position. Not only will you be able to uncover structural issues, damaged fixtures, or anything that may need immediate attention, you can use your discovery to bargain for a more favourable asking price. Of course, you need to commission a building inspection report from a licensed building inspector to give you better leverage come negotiation time.

What Building Areas to Inspect

As you’re about to do an ocular inspection of the premises, it’s important to keep an eye on these critical details.


See if the areas near exits are cleared from any form of obstruction. It’s worth emphasising that exit areas ought to be cleared so tenants and staff can flee from the building in case of a major disaster or emergency. While you inspect these areas, check if the exit lights are operational or clearly visible. It can be a lifesaver in emergency cases when there is limited visibility.

Aisles, corridors, hallways, stairs

These parts of the building or office have to be free from any physical obstruction as it’ll keep people from entering or exiting the place. But if there seems to be amenities standing in the way of these parts, request from the property manager or owner to have the stuff (i.e. furniture pieces) moved to a more suitable area.

Electrical components

Be on the lookout for tripping hazards. Take note of any “home-made” electrical work like electrical cords getting tied together as this won’t be good for maintaining their integrity. As you inspect electrical cords, try to see if all the sockets you see are functional and have a cover plate included. In addition, see if all electrical panel boxes have a clearance of 36 inches around them to ensure the safety of the technician who will work on them. Also, it’d be wise to see the state of electrical and mechanical rooms and find out if they’re utilised for their purpose. They shouldn’t be used as an extra space for storage so there shouldn’t be an excess of chairs, tables, or furniture in them.

Fire safety

Walk around and see if nothing is placed 18 inches from any sprinkler head. Any obstruction to such features will only defeat their purpose. Of course, this can prove to be a costly oversight in case of fire emergencies. Look for fire doors and see if they’re closed. These emergency doors often lead to an alternative staircase and should only be propped open to lead building occupants to a safer exit from the premises. Of course, fire extinguishers have to be accessible and their location clearly indicated through signage. Ask for proof that they’ve been regularly inspected, too.


See if the office spaces and public areas are kept orderly and sanitised at the time of the ocular inspection. Check if there aren’t too many chairs crammed in a single room, too. Try to observe power and data cables if they’re not cluttered. It goes without saying that you have to evaluate the capacity and state of the prospect building or office space.

Hazardous Materials

For any chemicals stored in the commercial premises, make sure they’re labelled appropriately. Have any chemical containers without labels removed from the property to avoid accidents later on. In addition, ask about the building policy on open flame products or devices and the specific requirements should such materials be used.

Asking Help from a Commercial Building Inspector

While doing your own ocular inspections helps, a better way is to leave the property assessment to those with trained eyes. For one, getting building inspectors will help you pay more attention to other logistical concerns involved in relocating business assets. Plus, they can furnish the legal document you need to be able to negotiate a deal with the building owners or property managers.

Before you engage the services of a licensed property inspector, however, you’ll have to ask about a few crucial details about the building inspection itself.

Critical Details in a Commercial Inspection

Of course, you’ll have to ask a building inspector about his or her credentials and qualifications before you commission the person to assess an office building. In addition, try to pick his or her brain on these important concerns.

Recommended Property Inspections

For the most part, the inspection team will likely throw you a couple of questions over the phone or email about the property to be inspected and what your business needs are. Your answer to the question will establish the brief and scope of the work they’ll do. At the same time, the information you give will help the company estimate the travel time, the time spent on-site, and the type of assessment the inspectors will do as what the report requires.

In the end, understanding your requirements can help the inspector recommend the kind of inspection that has to be done.

On-Site Inspection

Some may claim that pre-purchase building inspections just take an hour to finish and that may be far from the truth. In reality, the length of time it takes to assess a commercial building depends on factors including size and method of construction, the use and type of the building, its age, overall condition, and the occupancy in the property.

With all these variables in play, it’s best to know straight from the inspector about how long he or she will take to do an on-site inspection.

Final Report

Although some reports may take two to three days to prepare before they get sent to clients, many building inspection companies can send one on the same day or within 24 hours from the on-site inspection. That’s mostly thanks to modern reporting software and handheld devices. As a matter of fact, some seasoned inspectors email the report at the end of the actual inspection.

As promising as this may sound, you should ask a prospect building inspector how long until you receive the assessment report. The sooner they can send the document, the more time you get to read the report in full.

Complete the Commercial Building Inspection Checklist with Professional Help

It’s absolutely admirable seeing business investors spare an hour or two off their busy schedules to do an ocular inspection of a prospect corporate building. To make the most of the initial observation, however, commissioning a commercial building inspector to properly and thoroughly assess the place is a must.

When you need one such professional to help you know about the commercial property you’re about to rent or buy, give our experienced team a call today!