Most property managers are aware that they need to do a Building Condition Assessment at some point. A BSA is necessary to ensure that everything is in good order when it comes to commercial property. But what precisely is a BSA, and when should you opt for it instead of inspecting the property yourself? We will use this article to help shine some light on this, often misunderstood, subject.
What is a Building Condition Assessment
Simply put, a Building Condition Assessment is a systematic inspection followed by a review and report of the state of your building. While it may sound similar to a standard check, a BSA is much more thorough. Therefore, it provides more info on the building, including all the systems that help it function. Your BCA can be a standalone inspection, or it can be a part of PCA (Property Condition Assessment). While BCA-s can differ based on who performs them, most have a clear order of tasks. During a BCA, an inspector will:
- Inspect the structural components of the building. This includes walls, roofs, floors, doors, and windows.
- Afterward comes the inspection of building systems. This includes HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.
- And finally, we have the inspection of the interior and exterior components.
Once the inspection is done, your BCA will include a detailed report of your building. In it, you will find:
- A description of all components in your building.
- Outline of every issue or deficiency.
- A list (or a table) of expected costs necessary to repair those issues and ensure that the building is in proper order.
With the BCA, both you (as the property manager) and anyone interested can forecast the actual cost of ownership and ensure that all the necessary maintenance work is taken into account.
When do you need one?
While the info from a BCA is valuable, the actual inspection can be costly. On average, you will pay around $2000. So, it stands to reason that property managers rarely perform one on their own accord. But there are instances where performing a BCA can be a good idea. And even some cases where doing so is mandatory. So, let’s take a look at when you ought to perform a BCA.
Prior to purchase
If you were to purchase a property, you would likely have to perform a BCA. Most banks will require a BCA or a PCA before the final approval of a property loan. The reason for this is that the BCA report shows both the bank and the owner the true cost of ownership. After receiving the BCA report, it is not uncommon for the property value to change, as there could be issues that neither party was aware of. This is why it is usually a good idea to perform a BCA inspection before hiring a renovation company, for example. The cost of rescheduling projects can be expensive. If there are substantial problems in the BCA report, the bank can refuse to sign the loan altogether.
Prior to renovation or maintenance
One of the instances where you could request a BCA on your own accord is before renovation or maintenance. Namely, if you already plan on fixing up your property, you might as well see what needs to be done. As we mentioned, you are likely to find issues that you weren’t even aware of. Hidden HVAC issues, structural issues, plumbing issues – all of these can easily fly under the radar. But, on the positive side, the sooner you find them, the better.
Structural issues, in particular, can be much cheaper, easier, and safer to fix if you catch them in their infancy. Therefore, performing a BCA is a solid idea if you plan on making changes to your property that rely heavily on its structure.
Determining the value of your facility
Knowing how much a building is worth has many benefits. You can use the knowledge to negotiate a more realistic price. And, you can calculate future expenses in case the budling needs any repairs. If you can also learn the history of repairs, you should have an idea of how much it will cost to maintain the building and whether any structural improvements can prove to be cost-effective. So, whether you are selling, buying, or leasing, it is always a good idea to know the property’s true value.
Choosing the right BCA provider
Performing a BCA inspection is not something that any person can do. While you can usually trust a construction company to perform a structural inspection, you want to do your research before you settle on a BCA provider. For your BCA report to be valid, you need to get an experienced professional to inspect all that needs inspecting and ensure that their report fully reflects the current condition of the building. To ensure that you have a competent inspector helping you out, there are a couple of factors you need to look into:
- Expert cost assessment – While there are many different online calculators that you can use to draw an estimate of repair costs, few are accurate. So, what you are looking for is someone whose company deals with construction on a regular basis.
- Multi-disciplinary expertise – Even simple BCA entails a plethora of different aspects. From architecture to electricity, plumbing, and perhaps even mechanics. So, ideally, you want someone with on-hand experience with all of these factors. Such a person can give you a precise estimate of what needs to be done.
- Ample experience – A company with previous BCA experience can provide you a more thorough and more efficient inspection. Furthermore, their assessment will always be more reliable than the one from a less experienced inspector.
Ideally, you want to find a BCA provider that is nearby. That way, once you do decide that you need a Building Condition Assessment. Not only will their services be more available, but they will likely charge you less since they won’t have to travel long distance.
Derek Till has worked as a moving coordinator for over 15 years. He now spends his time writing helpful articles for websites like miamimoversforless.com and raising his two daughters.