The Joy of Commercial Inspections by Dr. Keith Swift.

Has Keith been reading my posts or my mind?

Forgive me. I haven’t read your posts. What am I missing?


You would not be missing anything, I keep telling inspectors by limiting your inspections to residential, they are missing a very lucrative market.

You’re absoultely right. I was concerned that people might think that I was hyping software. However, if I could start over again, I would never do a residential inspection.


For a while I thought there was something wrong with me…

There are no SOP’s to follow except what are clearly stated in your contract.

I have never had anyone question whether an item or component needed repair, especially Realtors, which I’m not very fond of, Residential anyway. I have licensed contractors working for me giving unbiased third party evaluations of the various systems and components, with my team I enjoy what I do, and get paid well for doing it.

With an exception, I have yet to find a Commercial Realtor that didn’t care about their client in my opinion, and I have become good friends with numerous ones in different states through the years. They are a different breed of people, very thorough, and concise, I like those traits.

I have been doing Commercial Property inspections for over twenty years and the biggest mistake I made was doing residential inspections.

I share your views, and wish you well.

An individual who works for me which is not a member of this association uses the Porter Valley software, I have too say, it’s the best there is for Commercial inspections…:wink: And I’m not hyping it up either…

I have to agree.


The best standard for a commercial building inspection related to a free hold purchase is the ASTM standard. ASTM E 2018 deals exclusively with property condition assessments. A “PCA” is a commercial building inspection. I am sure it covered somewhere on the message board and am sure that most of the inspectors are already aware of this standard.

It covers every aspect of the inspection process and includes definitions of key terms similar to any standard. For example, what does readily accessible mean, easily accessible, physical deficiencies, useful life expectancies, document reviews, dismantling, code issues etc. etc. It even has a structured report system layout for you to follow.

The objective of this ASTM was to standardize the approach to commercial inspections and provide a minimum base line for everyone to follow. In essence the standard is a great PIA and should be referred to on your commercial inspection proposal, acceptance of proposal form and inspection report.

You will find though that most clients are not willing to spend the money for a full PCA. You will also find that your clients only want to know what the actual building condition is (your base line inspection). It is when the mortgage company gets involved, that extra services will be requested. ADA inspections, fire sprinkler inspections, code compliance inspections etc. Your proposal must therefore define your baseline inspection with all other services as outlined on the ASTM being charged over an above if needed. You proposal should also have an hourly rate provision for ad hoc services that may be needed.

It is our experience that conversation rates for a commercial inspection is approximately 20-30%, without a proposal. With a well written proposal, anticipate conversion rates to exceed 85% from our experience. I guess we can blame that on the more sophisticated clients you will be dealing with! But remember with sophistication comes lack of emotion. It is just business so make sure you cross your “t’s” and dot your “I’s”.!****

Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for coming here and sharing your knowledge.

Greg Bell

I work with commercial inspectors on a regular basis. Beside performing home inspections I also work for a large commercial HVAC service company. Almost every inspector I know is an engineer, architect or a licensed contractor. IMO this would be a careless move on the part of the average home inspector without proper education (not a 3 day class) and training. If you were to do some of the inspection work yourself, would you be able to properly inspect a 30 ton carrier roof top unit? Or evaluate the service equipment of a high rise office building? If the answer is no, then sub-contracting every aspect of the inspection will keep you up nights. The software and reports mentioned are fine - if you’re qualified to do the work.

Erol Kartal

99.9% of the Corporations, Investors, and Individuals want basic inspections of the condition of the property at the time of the inspection, in Phoenix, Arizona.

100% of the buyers, have never heard of ASTM E 2018, which I have inspected buildings for in the last two decades.

Engineers use ASTM standards here and get paid dearly for the nuisance…:D…

In twenty five years no-one has ever asked me about an ASTM standard…I like it that way…:smiley: …and clearly state in my contract we do Not inspect to any ASTM standards…Simply the condition of the building at the time of inspection, very Simple…

I have done 7 commercial inspections.

2 churches, 2 banquet halls, 2 retail stores and 1 warehouse.

I was too stupid to know there is a difference. But, with G-d’s help (it certainly weren’t me!) I did a good inspection and my clients were pleased and I made boku bucks!

I will certainly seek more education (especially with regards to 3 phase).

But remember, at least in Illinois, they are pretty much inregulated. The state HI law does not apply in any way.

Hope this helps.

Most of us can do the small shops in the strip malls and the like without any problem. But if an inspector is going advertise that he/she does commercial - be ready for a big place too.

Erol Kartal

Hey, DAle!

I am still interested in your initial approach to the chains and other corporations regarding the commecrial inspections. Shoot me an email if you have some time, as I am considering a few options but would like to lean from your early success!!

I also do many Commercial, are mostly for folks who are investing and live out of state…Hotels, Retail and Carryout are my major CI’s. For the larger ones I have my Licensed HVAC and ELEC do the run down… its not so much the train, train, train… but hire the right employees:)

as for Inspevue Commercial… tried Demo and wasn’t impressed.

I did yesterday…look at the top right of the BB when your logged in…:smiley: