Making recommendations: Residential VS Commercial

Do you make fewer or different recommendations in commercial reports? For example if you find a recessed ceiling light with intermittent shut off, in a residential report, most of us would recommend a qualified electrical contractor. Certain kinds of commercial properties, like major hotels, might have maintenance crews qualified to deal with such situations. A commercial client is also more likely than a residential client to be knowledgeable enough so that the recommendation isn’t necessary.

So in general, do you limit reporting on what you find and leave the action up to the client?


I just comment on my findings .

I follow the ASTM E2018-15 PCA standard. I don’t call out a bad ballast in the 63rd floor stairwell with a recommendation to get an electrician. During the walk through, however, I would have the conversation with the building engineer as to what kind of maintenance program they have in place for ballast replacements. I would literally stop right there under the bad ballast, and not start walking again until I was satisfied I knew for sure who does their electrical maintenance, have they converted to new ballasts, what their schedules are, etc, etc. I would then report all of that in the narrative of my report. The client wants a professional eye on how the building is maintained, on top of current condition and where everything is in the life cycle. Including a line item about a bad ballast in the 63rd floor stairwell, but missing a potential issue with their maintenance practices, fails to meet the standard on reporting material deferred maintenance items. That extends to a large system like a roof. You can report on deteriorated EPDM repair patches, but if you miss or don’t discuss that the current owner doesn’t do annual maintenance, and all his maintenance guy does for EPDM membrane leaks is use a tube of silicone, then you’re not meeting the standard.


“qualified electrical contractor”, I have posted comments concerning using the term “qualified electrical contractor” in the past and tried to make sense of what the terms means. An Inspector from Oklahoma used the term “qualified electrician” in his report in a law suite. Today in downtown Houston, the other lawyer ate his lunch in the deposition, saying you recommended a “qualified electrician”, give me a definition and how does a normal home owner know if an electrician is a qualified electrician. The inspector’s could not give a half decent answer, the inspector is a top expert witness in his field. The inspector told me that in 40 years as an expert witness he was never asked that question, he was embarrassed. Choose your wording carefully. A better term would have been a “licensed electrician with X amount of years experience in a particular field.”

In all my years of building as a Project Superintendent, I have seen many licensed contractors that were not qualified. Just because they have a licensed does not make them qualified at all. My son is a Physical therapist on the road and he comes across patients that had knee surgeries that were completely botch and had to be done again by qualified surgeons.
Same goes for contractors of any trade. The license does not make them qualified.

Some contractors have been through extensive training and evaluation to be able to qualify for their role as a contractor where they will be capable of handling long-term complex projects. The contractor is now able to make multiple decisions, draw reason, and come to reliable conclusions. This confirmation gives relief to the clients that the contractor is competent and confident that they can finish the client’s work in a very fine format.
As with Doctors, contractors that have the proper training with a grade of an A or a B, is much more qualified to do the work compared to a Doctor or contractor with a grade of a C or a C- , but still got his licensed.
So how do you find a qualified Contractor, by research, qualifications and word of mouth.
I have come across licensed contractors that I would not accept their work and gone to their employer to have them replaced. This is a group of people that are book smart and give them all the experience in the world, still don’t care and is reflected in the work they do.

So yes there is a difference between a qualified electrician and a licensed electrician. And that applies to all the trades, not just that one above.
I would be more than happy to explain that in a lawsuit.
So many scenarios I can think of to explain the difference.

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Thread drift. This thread is not about what “qualified” means or whether to use it or a different term. It’s about the degree to which you make recommendations in commercial VS residential reports. Please read original post.