When you’re in charge of looking after the safety and maintenance of a commercial property, it can be hard to understand your responsibilities, especially when you aren’t in the building game. And it’s not just your legal responsibilities you should be thinking about. Just because certain inspections aren’t required by law, it doesn’t mean they’re not important. But with so many options out there, it can often be blinding and people choose to do nothing because they simply don’t know where to start.
Often too, businesses simply rent the space in which they do business, so they immediately think that building maintenance is down to the landlord. And whilst that can be true, there are still some types of inspection services which are your responsibilities. We have a video coming up that specifically looks at the inspection services that fall under both owner and tenant responsibilities, but for now, here’s a run-down of the top 5 inspections that businesses who own buildings really should know about.
So, let’s begin at the very start of your commercial property’s life – the first type of inspection service you need to know about is a defect inspection. Now, this won’t apply to all businesses. If you’re buying an existing building rather than having one purpose-built, a defect inspection is probably not something that will be on your agenda, but it is an absolute must for those accepting a new building fresh from the builder.
You are probably aware of a number of issues and news stories about relatively new buildings being evacuated due to structural issues. Now, whilst we can’t speculate on the exact cause of these issues, with builders being able to sign off on their own completed buildings, it can lead to shoddy workmanship and defects being overlooked.
This is where third party defect inspections can be an absolute godsend. And there are three reasons you might consider one.
Number one: you feel like there are issues in your building but you’re not quite sure if you’re right or how to even approach it with the builder.
Number two: you can’t actually see any issues with your building but just want an unbiased opinion before you accept the property.
Number three: for dispute resolution. If you feel like there are issues, and your builder does not, an independent inspection will tell you who’s right!
So, before you get too excited that your project is complete, make sure you get it checked!
Now, even if you haven’t bought a building from new or had it custom-built, if the premises is less than 7 years old, you can still have a kind of defect inspection done, but that comes in the form of the second inspection type on our list – Builder’s Warranty Inspections.
For 7 years after being built, most property issues, which don’t fall under the general wear and tear umbrella, are covered by the Builder’s warranty. Simply put, the builder is responsible for fixing such issues at no cost to you providing you file a claim before the warranty period expires.
Many people are aware of this law and know that they will be protected if any issues arise in their property during this period. But what you might not know is that you can actually have your property inspected to highlight any issues before they become your problem instead of the builder’s.
You don’t even need to have identified any issues yourself or even suspect them, but having an inspection done anyway will give you peace of mind that you’re not allowing the builder’s warranty to lapse before knowing for sure whether there are any issues.
This is a big one for commercial and residential properties alike so we’ll be circling back to this one in another video. Make sure you subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss it.
Now from new buildings to old. Our third type of property inspection is the dreaded asbestos inspection.
Did you know that if your building was built prior to 2003, it could have asbestos in it. And if it does, it’s your responsibility to know and eliminate or manage its exposure to anyone who enters your property.
Generally speaking, asbestos inspections should be carried out on every single commercial building to help identify possible hazards, so if your building hasn’t had its inspection, you should organise that right away.
That said, many businesses do not opt to just have an asbestos inspection carried out without cause. They often only occur before building work is carried out. Sometimes, no inspection is carried out at all, and asbestos is identified during maintenance or renovations. But that’s a pretty big no-no!
As a commercial building owner, you have an obligation to identify all asbestos containing material and obtain an asbestos inspection report. Then, you must develop an asbestos register, even if your property does not have any asbestos present. If asbestos is found though, you must also develop an Asbestos Management Plan.
Again, asbestos inspections, management and removal is a big beast to understand so watch out for a full video on that soon.
Next up, is pre-purchase inspections. If you’re just about to buy a commercial property, it’s important to make sure you don’t sign on the dotted line before the premises undergoes a pre-purchase inspection.
You’ve probably heard about pre-purchase inspections from a residential standpoint, but they are almost more important when it comes to buying commercial property because you’ve got much more to consider.
With a commercial property pre-purchase inspection, you have all the things that residential inspections cover – like general condition, structural damage etc – but you also have additional things such as commercial compliance and safety too.
A commercial property pre-purchase inspection will not only show you the state of the condition of the building but also show you the areas you’ll need to repair before you can allow anyone to step foot on the property. It is your responsibility to keep staff and visitors safe whilst on your premises so you have a duty of care to be absolutely sure your property meets adequate safety standards.
And finally, the final inspection on our list is quite frankly our favourite! It doesn’t matter if your property is new or old, whether you’re just about to buy or you’ve owned it for years, this gem of an inspection, is such an incredible option for business owners in a multitude of ways.
So, what is it? It’s the property condition inspection, of course!
The idea behind a property condition inspection is that you will get a complete look at the property from a maintenance standpoint. A comprehensive inspection of this kind shows you things like
The best thing about property condition inspections is that they help you budget. By understanding the condition of your property, you won’t end up with any nasty shocks in months or years to come because you’ve been able to fix issues early or you’ve been able to add repairs into your annual budget.
Property condition reports also give you peace of mind that you’re meeting your responsibilities to keep people safe whilst they’re on your premises. If someone is injured on your property, you know that you have put measures in place to mitigate it and so your due diligence should not come into question.
So, there you have it, those are the top five inspections that you need to think about if you own a commercial property. The next video is all about property inspections that apply to both owners and tenants of commercial buildings, so if you watched this video, you definitely need to watch that one!