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Industrial Inspection


MelB
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I am doing my first large industrial building on Monday morning. I've done about 600 home inspections, and a couple dozen commercial/industrial buildings but nothing on this scale yet. It is an 80,000sf building, with drive in docks and all. Is there anything different about this size building? I would think that it is going to be the same as the other 3-12k sf buildings that I have done in the past, but I wanted to check with all of you before I go out there. What kind of price would you quote on this, with five a/c's, eight furnaces, Cinderblock construction, flat roof, 15k office space, six bathrooms, and four drive in docks? I have been asked to completely exclude the electrical system, as they have already gone over it with an electrician. Thanks for your help guys, I appreciate any input.

Mel

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Originally posted by MelB

I am doing my first large industrial building on Monday morning. I've done about 600 home inspections, and a couple dozen commercial/industrial buildings but nothing on this scale yet. It is an 80,000sf building, with drive in docks and all. Is there anything different about this size building? I would think that it is going to be the same as the other 3-12k sf buildings that I have done in the past, but I wanted to check with all of you before I go out there. What kind of price would you quote on this, with five a/c's, eight furnaces, Cinderblock construction, flat roof, 15k office space, six bathrooms, and four drive in docks? I have been asked to completely exclude the electrical system, as they have already gone over it with an electrician. Thanks for your help guys, I appreciate any input.

Mel

My advice:

  • Don't be intimidated by the size. It's mostly air.
  • Quote an hourly fee with a cap.
  • Consider subcontracting the AC/furnace inspections unless you're particularly proficient in that area.
  • Stop calling them cinderblocks.
  • Look carefully at the roof. If there's a lot of money at stake, you'll find it up there.
  • Recommend, or offer to subcontract, a level II environmental site assessment.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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What Jim said. I did pretty much what he described on a 15,000 sq. foot building last month and it turned out really well. A dear friend, who's a master HVAC contractor checked out the two roof-top heating/cooling units. They were custom designed and cost 75K apiece. He called the manufacturer, whose rep turned out to be tremendously helpful, but who wouldn't talk to my friend without first calling the state licensing board to make certain he was legit. Also, lift up as many lay-in ceiling panels as you can, if applicable. I was amazed by the shoddy electrical work and leaking drains I discovered.

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I suggest that you team up with someone that does commercial inspections regularly. Offer to share the fee and learn. Consider it tuition.

How old is the building? Do you have to verify things such as fire rated separations and handicap access compliance?

You should consider recommending an infrared scan of the roof.

Bigger buildings=bigger costs to repair problems= more exposure. Does your liability insurance cover you for this inspection? Many home inspection insurance policies exclude this type of inspection.

When we inspect a large commercial building we submit a written proposal that defines the scope of work, fee schedule for various services, and define what is not included.

Make sure that you have a solid agreement about the scope of your services. For example, are you going to check loading dock levelers?

Hope this helps.

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We use the ASTM E2018 guide for PCA's, but with more in depth systems inspections than the "walk through survey". We also back off of the interviews and document reviews and put more value in evaluating actual conditions.

We use a team of our most experienced inspectors that have very specific training and experience with commercial/industrial structures, OSHA requirements, ADA accessibility guidelines, industrial HVAC and electrical. With 3 inspectors, we can usually finish the on-site work in one day. Even though I had a prior career in facilities management and completed well over 10,000 inspections, I wouldn't consider an industrial building on my own.

The most recent was 110,000sf (3rd time we've inspected this building). 3 inspectors for the day at $1450 per inspector.

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