What is this (commercial)

I need to know wht these item’s are and what they do in order to complete a site visit.





For a facility of this size and complexity, you should have performed a walk-through first, and whatever you did not know, should have prompted you to bring a subject matter expert with you.

Picture 1 looks to be plumbing with automatic valves inline for a fire suppression system.

Picture 2 looks to be a setup of 2 inline pumps, possibly water booster pumps

Picture 3 is the outside of a building :stuck_out_tongue:

Just guesing though, theres no way to tell unless you trace the lines, or they are marked somewhere.

That stuff brings back some bad memories. I worked in a chemical plant for 15 years.

hey, thanks alot I appreciate the response.

If the lines are for fire supression, you should look for a service tag indicating who sold, serviced, or installed/tested it. The municipal fire inspector should have information for you.

Did you follow ASTM 2018-01 when performing this inspection?

Picture 1 : I do not like the all thread stands/supports, can’t they build a proper pipe/valve rack? Is this plumbing finished, it should be labeled as to the system or fluid at least.

Picture 2 : Pumps, one missing a motor going into stainless piping, should be labeled.

Picture 3 : Duct looks like FRP from here but could be other material. Should be labeled somewhere. Would like to see the equipment on the roof, air handler? scrubber?

What kind of facility is it?


After working 15 years in a chemical plant you are probably lucky that it breings back any memories :slight_smile:

What I see in the first photo from Right to left is an expansion joint assemble, then a coupling fitting with a plug for either a pressure Gage or t-stat installation while, before or after install.
Then I see an in-line pump moving liquid with two brass fittings designed for balancing of the water flow or liquid, another coupling with plug for a pressure or temperature well and than what looks like a commercial circuit setter setting valve for balancing the system.

In picture 2, I see two standard circulating pumps and one without a motor or electrical hook-up. In most of these circulating pump bases, it is usually filled with concrete after the steel frames are anchored to the floor and this provides vibration control from going or resounding in the system.

I then see stainless vibration isolator couples and Wye strainers on the supply lines. Typically one of these set-ups would be backup or alternate in use depending on their control sequence.
Could be water or other liquid unknown without looking at all the system as a whole.

I would have to agree with Joe F. here and say, this is not a job for a HI, without a plan of attack, for which one would go in as a team of experts.

These Commercial systems could be quite intimidating to some.
Either Master Mechanical experts or engineer and electrical engineer or Master Electrician in the Heavy Commercial should be employed for this type of work.

Hope this helps.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

LOL, very true.

They always told us there wasn’t anything out there that could hurt us. Except for the fact we manufactured about 10 different chemicals that were later found to be carcinigens. I handled cyanide on a daily basis, nope nothing out there that could hurt us. :roll:

I’ve never been healthier since leaving there.

Good move on your part Brian.

Live free and be prosper.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:



It is not what to describe, as any one of us can say that the pipe supports seem lite, or that a circulator is missing.

To properly INSPECT and provide any MEANING to the description, one would need to understand the intended FUNCTION, and have something to reference as to working CONDITION.

That’s where the SME comes in.

Why did you think I asked if 2018 was followed?

Hey guys thanks alot for the input, I’m a new HI but have been doing commercial site visits for the past 7 years, we are not required to take photos of things like that but since becoming a HI I thought it would be a good idea to start learning about these things. (intro into commercial) just by your comments I can tell this is very intimidating. Would a commercial course such as the CDW help me to understand these types of systems ? Or is that something that would require more than 3 days to learn ?

I agree Joe;

I was looking at a picture, assummed that recognition would come first, intended function,and purpose comes second, and does it work for what it was intended to be, or condition, would be next.

Marcel :slight_smile:


ASTM 2018-01 recommends that photographs be taken. The odd thing regarding your posts is that you took the time to photograph things, but apparently not completely enough to conv3ey what things are.

As to any classes, we offer a class on 2018 and many aspects of the commercial insection standard. We have consolidated it into a single, long day.

If you believe that ANY course is going to teach you HOW to inspect a commercial property, you are barking up the wrong tree. Comercial inspections encompass lots of stuff. Here is ASTM’s description of commercial property:

***[FONT=Arial][size=3]Improved real property, except a dwelling or property with four or less dwelling units exclusively for residential use. This term includes, but is not
limited to, improved real property used for industrial, retail, office, hospitality, agriculture, other commercial, medical, or educational purposes; property used for residential purposes that has more than four residential dwelling units, and property with four or less dwelling units for residential use when it has a commercial function, as in the operation of such dwellings
for profit.

The form and function may be different, but the process remains the same. it is not ntimidating if you know the standard (really understand it), know the verbiage, take a deep breath, and follow the process.[/size]


ASTM and pictures is not the answer, you are better off with ASME B codes for the first two pictures and SMACNA for the ducts in the last picture.

Vernon, what are “commercial site visits”? For what purpose do you do those? What standard are you using for those?

Photo #3 - I’m with Brian on that one, could be scrubbers or air balancing blowers. In a prior life I had designed and installed similar equipment for fume hoods in a hydrofluoric and nitric acid etching bath. One duct exhausted the fumes and another brought fresh air into the facility to maintain proper positive air pressure in that room. What was the prior use of that facility?

Commercial site visits are done on behalf of commercial mortgage companies. The site visits are done annually and the owner of the property must comply with the lender when something has to be fixed. Sometimes we are given a list of things to look for to make sure that they are repaired (ie. roof leaks, broken window, walkways etc.), simple things. I guess you can say they are more like the HUD REAC inspections.

The property here is just being used as a warehouse, the property owner had this property for 2 yrs but mentioned that it used to be some sort of production plant.

To be honest I was told that I would have to be carefull when doing this type of work since I am now a Lic HI----What are your opions concernoing this type of work ? let me have it:mrgreen:

Vernon, I’m of the opinion that HI’s can effectively perform inspections on many low end commercial properties like small strip centers or things of that nature. We can quickly loose sight of the ball when stepping outside those parameters though. I think there are several areas that can get an HI in over his head real quick and those include environmental issues, specialized equipment, fire safety code issues and others. Unless you have a ton of experience or specialized training in large facility design, operations and maintenance then I would shy away from anything larger than a general use small building or strip center. In the case of the facility in you photos I would have put a team of experts together to inspect that, I wouldn’t attempt it on my on and I built and maintained buildings like that for many years. The risk that you run on missing something of magnitude on a building like that is enormous, you better have a bunch of E&O.


ASTM is the nationally ratified standard. We may not like it, but many have embraced it as the defacto standard. When you understand it, it is not hard to follow the model.

My point was that vernon said that pictures werent required. Also, his photos were not complete enough to convey the issue he wanted us to comment on.

Joe, I just wanted to know what those items were, we are not require to take photos of those items unless we see an active leak, I guess they have folks at the main office who could evaluate the pictures and send in qualified folks for futher investigation. As I stated before, I am new and would like to futher my understanding. What is ASTM ?