Residential vs. Commercial - What's The Difference?

Originally Posted By: Daniel Koerner
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Hello,


I'm new to the board and am just starting out on my quest to become a home inspector, so please forgive me if this question has been addressed a thousand times.

Could someone explain to me what the differences are between doing commercial inspections and residential inspections?

Can you make more money doing commercial inspections? Is there more risk involved (followed by more insurance overhead)?

What additional training would one need above and beyond your standard "i-just-got-certified" home inspector training, if any?

To put it simply, can someone who just got certified as a home inspector immediately begin doing commercial and residential inspections?

Thanks for your help,
- Dan


Originally Posted By: rbracklow
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Daniel,


Let me try and explain the difference. Commercial as the name implies covers more of a systems and code required inspection. You have to know ADA, American Disabilities Act, extensive electrical and HVAC knowledge. You have to have a good knowledge of concrete, such as tilt up, pre-stressed concrete,etc. as well as metal structures. On larger structures, multiple floors, etc. you have to have a basic knowledge of elevator systems, hydraulic, cable, etc. Here in California you have to know Seismic ratings, retrofit, etc.

Yes there is quite a bit more knowledge required, and as well you can charge more money. I have done them for years, and enjoy doing them, most of the time. Depending on the size, it has taken me, 28 days to fully inspect one high-rise structure.

I hope that helps.

Ron.


--
The highest compliment my clients can give me, is the referral of their Friends, Family and Business Associates!

NorCal NACHI Chapter Founder and Chairman.

Originally Posted By: loconnor
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Ron


Would you use other personell to cover the specific
areas of their specialty. (i.e.: HVAC Commercial
Tech or engineer, etc)?

I can't see doing a good size Commercial building alone?


--
Larry
Western Michigan NACHI Chapter
http://www.w-michigan-nachi.org

"We confide in our strength
without boasting of it.
We respect that of others
without fearing it"
Thomas Jefferson

Originally Posted By: rbracklow
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Larry,


Of course you could use additional, or expert sources, which of course would cut into your fee.

The industry understands that large buildings take a long time to inspect. On multiple floor buildings, you take one floor at a time, and they usually go pretty quick. Usually 2 to 4 a day depending on bathrooms, square footage, equipment rooms, etc. The equipment rooms take quite a while, since you want to be very careful with chillers, package units, compressors, boilers, hydraulic systems, 3 phase electrical systems and control systems, etc. Some of these HVAC systems, especially the VAV systems can be quite complex. If there are emergency power generators, they too take time to operate and inspect.

The problem with farming things out, they charge as much as you do, and there is little residual money left.

Good luck.

Ron.


--
The highest compliment my clients can give me, is the referral of their Friends, Family and Business Associates!

NorCal NACHI Chapter Founder and Chairman.

Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Daniel,


Other than just the knowledge required (as Ron showed is a bunch) your E&O insurance will usually cover only up to a four unit residential dwelling.


Originally Posted By: rpierson
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I bring along a licensed electrician on fourplex’s and larger jobs. It allows me not only to finish faster, but really creates a nice professional image. Costs me a $100 for a few hours, not bad considering I get $450+ for a fourplex.


Originally Posted By: Chris Butler
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Blaine,


the beauty of the policy you have with FREA, it covers you up to 75 units under your residential designation. The limits of 4,6 and 8 units are with the “other companies” or a limitation within your state. So you can technically inspect up to a 75 unit apartment building.


If you do get commercially certified you can do up to a 20 acre building or site with multiple buildings - oh, and by the way at no extra premium.


Might take you awhile but like Ron indicated, bring along the specialists also, and yes you will make way more money and less headaches as well - not dealing with John and Jane Homeowner who have an emotional attachment to the home you inspect vs. Ken Property Owner who bought the property as in investment or for his widget business and understands paying $2,000 - $10,000 for an inspection is the norm for commercial and would worry if you charged anything less.


Just my thoughts based on what I see everyday.


Sincerely,



Chris Butler


(former) Director of Membership @ FREA

Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Chris,


Notice that I didn't say MY E&O insurance. That is yet another reason I always tell prospective inspectors to check with FREA. My policy before I joined FREA was up to 4 units only, hence one more reason for the switch. ![icon_biggrin.gif](upload://iKNGSw3qcRIEmXySa8gItY6Gczg.gif)