What is a Building Condition Assessment and When do You Need One?

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You may have heard about a Building Condition Assessment before, and maybe even had a vague notion about what it was, without actually understanding what was involved. Its name really is indicative of the process, and it’s done much more frequently on commercial buildings than it would be on a residential property. If the same kind of review and inspection were to be carried out on someone’s home, it would simply be considered a home inspection.

However, a Building Condition Assessment is a much more involved kind of review, generally carried out by professional inspectors who know what to look for, and who understand the value of all aspects of a given property.

What is a Building Condition Assessment?

A Building Condition Assessment, or BCA, is comprised of a review and a thorough inspection on the state of any commercial building’s structural status and its systems, and the findings of this assessment are generally included in a report which is of interest to a number of individuals. It is very similar to a home inspection, except that it provides much more detailed information, because of the nature and complexity of commercial facilities.

Given the fact that a great many more people are generally dependent on a commercial building for some kind of service or shelter, any kind of review or inspection of the facility must be more thorough and more in-depth in its analysis. In some cases, the building condition assessment is performed on a standalone basis, and at other times it’s part of a larger effort known as a Property Condition Assessment, or PCA.

Whenever a BCA is conducted, it will include a thorough inspection of all structural components, including windows, doors, roofs, floors, and all the walls of the building. Next, it will take in all the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems, so as to determine the condition of these important building systems. Then it will move on to a review of interior and exterior components, including all fixtures and finishes.

When all this has been completely reviewed and considered, a report will be compiled that includes a summary of each building component status, an identification of any deficiencies which exist in each area, and a chart which details costs that will be necessary to remedy any of those deficiencies identified. The whole point of conducting a Building Condition Assessment is to allow building managers, owners, and possible buyers, to estimate the cost of ownership, and to anticipate the likely extent of any maintenance which will be necessary for the building.

How is This Different from a Facility Condition Assessment?

While a BCA may sound very similar to a Facility Condition Assessment, or FCA, the two serve very different purposes, and involve different types of inspections. While an FCA may be somewhat similar to a BCA, it is generally prepared for managers or owners of real estate portfolios so as to help them understand the physical condition and value of their properties, and so they can also be maintained adequately.

When owners and managers have this kind of information, they will better be able to prioritize resources needed by those properties, and develop capital budgets for carrying out whatever maintenance or repairs are necessary. In some cases, FCA’s are also used as documentation when additional funding is needed for a property. In such cases, the FCA would be presented to potential lenders as clear evidence of the building status, as well as its current market value.

When is One Required?

A Building Condition Assessment is often necessary as a requirement before approval on any kind of commercial property loan, by the bank which is issuing the approval. This assessment provides valuable information to both the bank and the owner about how much it will actually cost to own the property, and it frequently serves as the basis for negotiating the eventual price for the building.

When a BCA turns up significant issues, it’s very likely that a buyer will back out of the transaction and relinquish any interest. It’s also possible that the bank would not approve the loan if significant deficiencies were found after conducting a BCA. While this is one of the primary times that a BCA would be needed, it is by no means the only case where one is carried out.

For example, you might also want to conduct a BCA when you’re trying to figure out whether to sell, renovate, or demolish a particular building. When you’re trying to allocate resources among several properties in your portfolio, you may want an accurate assessment of a given building. It might also be necessary to conduct a BCA simply to assess the property value of one of your holdings, or to forecast and budget for all types of maintenance expenses which are anticipated with regard to the building.

Many building owners regularly schedule BCA’s for their buildings, just to stay on top of maintenance and maintenance costs. This ensures that no major issues will develop in between inspections, so that major repairs become necessary. It also allows any tenants or occupants of the building to have confidence that the building is safe and will provide good service for the foreseeable future.

Schedule Your Building Condition Assessment

When it’s necessary to have either a BCA or an FCA conducted on some property that you own or manage, the best people to contact would be Harper Brawner, LLC, a leading structural waterproofing consultant. With experienced property inspectors on staff, our organization can provide you with a thorough inspection and review of every system in your building, as well as its current status and value. You’ll also get a listing of all areas which require attention and maintenance, and the projected cost of all these issues. Contact us today so that you can have an inspection of your valuable property asset, and gain a complete understanding of its status.

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