What is a Level 1 Commercial Inspection?

A level – 1 commercial property inspection is one that is conducted mostly for Small to Medium size Commercial properties of less than 5000 sq. ft. . . .

and  conducted by one or a team of  Certified Commercial Inspectors without the assistance of hired specialty consultants.

Nick Gromicko, CMI®, Founder on InterNACHI, quoted that  . . .

“No one person has all the technical knowledge to perform every commercial inspection single-handedly”

According to Nick Gromicko, many commercial inspection projects simply demand that a number of experts and specialists be contracted to help complete the inspection project.
While we agree that the above statement is true with more complex and certain types of larger buildings and warehouses over 5000 sq. ft. in size,  any Certified Commercial inspector that have acquired a well-rounded knowledge in the construction industry should be able to inspect units of a smaller magnitude less then 5000 square feet . . . Single-Handedly,  and at a lower price!

An example might be a small to medium sized Office building,  a single office suite, Retail Space, Shopping centers, Residential units that have been rezoned to commercial.  Keep in mind that a small to medium sized commercial building or Multi-family building is generally far less complicated then a multi-million dollar residential home which is commonly inspected by a single inspector or team consisting of little to no specialty skills.
In many cases, a Certified Commercial Property Inspector may process one or two specialty skills because of previous training or occupations. Most all Commercial Inspectors are also Licensed Home Inspectors in the state of Florida.  Many Home inspectors were former electricians, plumbers or from the construction industry that were trained and certified in all of the other disciplines of our industry.  A Specialty Consultant is generally an individual who has been trained to install, maintain or repair a particular item, such an Air Condenser unit.

When should a Specialist or Specialty Consultant be hired?
In the case where the client is already aware of issues with a building, then it may be beneficial for the client to augment the inspector’s skills by hiring a specialty consultants who have particular expertise in certain areas along with the Certified Commercial Inspector. In some cases, the specialist may be able to schedule their inspection the same day.
The difference between the Level 1 and the Level 2 Commercial Inspection is that with the Level 1 inspection, you, the client have the choice of hiring or not hiring a specialist, before or after the Inspection report has be reviewed.
The inspector will still inspect all the elements of a typical inspection and will make comments in the report if an item is satisfactory, working as intended,  in need of routine & scheduled maintenance or if  an item did not operate correctly or that it was in obvious need of repair or replacement. In the case of the latter, a specialty consultant will be recommended.

With a Level 1 inspection, The Client has an opportunity to select their own specialist that they may know or  someone that they feel comfortable with and should be able to negotiate a better fee by hiring the specialist directly since the middlemen or contractor is not involved.
With a Level 2 inspection, specialty inspectors are per-selected sub-contractors and paid by the Commercial Inspector at a premium without knowing for sure if their services are justified or not. Most of the time the inspector will do as much research as possible to determine this prior to submitting a quote.
One of the advantages of hiring your own specialist is that they can normally offer you a quote to repair or replace a damaged item.  Level -2 inspectors will generally offer an estimate base on standardized ranges.   Example, To replace the HVAC system will range between $10K to 15k based on the brand & size selected.
The decision to hire specialty consultants will, of course, rely on budget and time constraints, as well as the risk-tolerance of the client.

What is your level of Due Diligence? – Level 1 or Level 2 ?
Level 1 – This standard is designed as a baseline from which the inspector and client can develop and agree to a scope of work that generally does not deviate from the COM sop,  (Commercial Standards of Practice) considering the budget, time constraints, purpose of the inspection, age of the subject property, and risk-tolerance of the client.  Special need request and added Ancillary inspection generally exceeds the ComSOP baseline.
The level of due diligence should be set where the cost, in time and money, of acquiring information about the subject property will not likely exceed the value of that information.  

While a generalist should have a basic knowledge in all areas of expertise in commercial buildings, the below example, shows areas that a specialist could be considered an expert consultant.

The different types of consultants might include:
  • commercial roofer;
  • stucco/EIFS consultant;
  • professional engineer;
  • commercial HVAC contractor;
  • plumber;
  • electrician;
  • roofing contractor/consultant;
  • chimney sweep;
  • Infrared Certified™ energy auditor;
  • lead paint inspector;
  • life-safety/fire protection expert;
  • elevator/escalator inspector;
  • commercial kitchen expert;
  • radon inspector;
  • mold inspector;
  • indoor air quality expert;
  • meth lab inspector;
  • wood-destroying organisms inspector;
  • accessibility consultant;
  • green features inspector;
  • fire door inspector;
  • pool/spa inspector;
  • parking lot/asphalt consultant;
  • water quality inspector;
  • seawall inspector; and
  • septic inspector.
AmeriHome Advisors, LLC offers Level-1 Inspections, Commercial Property Maintenance Inspections,  Mold, Air Quality & ADA  inspections.     If a level 2 inspection is desired, we suggest that you contact the CCPIA (Certified Commercial Property Inspectors Association) for a referral.
Information on this page is provided in-part with permission from CCPIA. Click on the logo below for a direct link.