Is a Commercial Building Inspection Worth the Cost?

September 25, 2021

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, the answer is yes: A building Inspection for your commercial property, either buying or leasing, is absolutely worth it, and to be honest, I don’t know why anyone would risk running their business from a property without it.

A commercial building inspection is a professional third-party investigation that helps potential investors get a clear picture of the property's condition.

With a detailed list of faults or suggestions for improvement, you know ahead of time what work needs to be carried out and can factor in the expenses before you buy. This gives you a good heads-up if the building is going to be unsuitable or too unstable for you to continue with the purchase.

Building inspection makes sure:

  • The property has been valued correctly
  • It complies with Australian building regulations and standards

A quick glance or building walk-through won’t usually indicate any lurking hazards. A beautiful facade might lull some buyers into false security that the building is sound.

While it is so important for a buyer to have a commercial building inspection done before they commit to a purchase other people can also find value in having an inspection completed including sellers, renovators, and developers. 

How Much Does a Commercial Building Inspection Cost?

There is no point in tiptoeing around this, commercial building inspections are expensive, so I can understand why small business owners might hesitate to get them carried out.

The price will be dependent on a lot of factors, particularly the size of the buildings and if it’s free-standing or part of a bigger complex. If you have specific factors that need to be taken into consideration i.e a childcare center, your costs will be higher as there is more to take into account when it comes to health and safety.

The more comprehensive an inspection is or the more complex the building space, the more it will cost to have a thorough inspection carried out.

Typically, for a small and simple commercial building, like ground-floor retail, you are looking at prices upwards of $550 (that’s excluding GST). Tailored quotes can cost thousands more, but it will depend on the scope of work you require. In reality, a large site or one that is more complex will cost you $7,000 or more. When you factor in the size of your investment, it is small in comparison, but something you’ll need to budget for.

Extra costs will be added for larger buildings, especially multi-story, industrial properties or places where safety is an extreme priority like a medical or child care center.

While you can get a package deal, it is important to read the fine print to know what’s included. Value for money might not be the cheapest option, but the one with the most inclusions and the most comprehensive coverage.

Here are some things that may influence the price of your commercial property inspection.

  • Building size 
  • Layout
  • Ease of access
  • Mechanics (a factory or industrial building will have more parts to go over)
  • Special functions (medical, childcare, food preparation)
  • Condition (a dilapidated building will take more time and require more notes than a new one)

If you do have a large or complex building to inspect it’s well worth shopping around to find a deal with the best value. 

It’s worthwhile knowing what you are up against before signing a contract so you can consider budgets for any work that needs to be done, negotiate with the vendor or landlord about what they are willing to do to bring it up to speed, and rule out situations that are going to leave you with closed doors or, worst-case scenario, a property that’s impossible to modify or re-sell.

The last thing you want when you move into your new business property is to find some nasty surprises.

The thing you’ve got to consider is: how much is it going to cost you to shut down your business for emergency repairs down the track? Potentially buying or leasing a property with safety flaws is a reality you need to factor in if you decide to bypass the inspection and go ahead with the sale.

What does a commercial building inspection reveal?

A commercial building inspection provides an overview of the overall property condition. While the level of coverage will depend on your purchase you want to make sure it’s as thorough as possible in order to get real value in the long run ad gives you peace of mind.

A qualified inspector will go over:

  • Foundations
  • Drainage
  • Guttering
  • Retaining walls
  • Fixtures
  • Fittings
  • Car parks
  • Roof and roof cavities
  • Floors 
  • Additional structures

They will be on the lookout for asbestos, water damage, pests and will review any previous additions or modifications to be sure they are up to code.

In cases where there are no major property flaws, reports still provide value with a list of smaller items that can be maintained or repaired before property sale, purchase, or lease. 

Do ask for a written quote before you purchase your inspection to make sure you get everything you need to be included in the price and that it caters to any specific requirements your building or industry may need.

Why do you need to get a commercial building inspection?

As well as getting a clear picture of the risks and expenses before you buy or lease a property, a  building inspection has a number of additional benefits that include:

  • Clarifying property value
  • Knowing the property is safe
  • Written leverage to negotiate a better price if risks or work is found
  • Court Evidence should legal action be taken after a transaction
  • Uncovering any redevelopment implications 
  • Being able to easily communicate your needs for quotes and assignment of work to additional parties including renovations and repairs
  • Identifying ways to minimize energy consumption

When should I get a commercial building inspection done?

You need to be looking at your commercial inspection when you are absolutely sure this is the property for you, and, more importantly, before you sign the lease contract or sale contract.

Because it does cost so much for a commercial inspection you’ll want to wait until you have everything else checked off and have done your due diligence around titles, caveats, and any current tenant agreements. When you know for sure this is the right property for your next business move, then you can get the building investigations arranged.

As a seller, getting a commercial building inspection completed before your building goes on the market gives you time to fix and repair any questionable items, making your building ready to go and bypassing lengthy negotiations on price or fixes with potential buyers.

How do I choose the right commercial property inspection company?

You might be tempted to get a quick, tick-box inspection but it won't give you the detailed feedback you need to make a really sound purchasing decision.

Always go with an inspection carried out by a fully qualified specialist and use a company that has alliances with other specialists that can be used for additional checks on things like  plumbing and electrical, pests, mechanical issues, roofing, and essential safety should any concerns be raised in the initial report

As well as choosing the right person for the job, you need to make sure they are qualified to cover your specific industry.

Different industries may require different checks and, as we covered earlier, different costs may be associated and you might be limited to using companies that can handle your specifications.

The type of inspection you need will be determined by a number of factors including:

  • Why do you need the inspection? (pre/post lease, pre-sale, pre-purchase)
  • Industry
  • Building size
  • Turnaround time
  • Special inclusions

You will save money in the long run by making sure you have the right person for your requirements and get a full check done so that you can know what you are buying or leasing and power forward with confidence. 

Commercial property is a professional investment so you need to know that you have your assets covered and can give your business the very best chance of making a great return on investment.

Who is Peta Stewart?

Award-winning conveyancer. Entrepreneur. Business mentor. Women’s cycling advocate. These are just some of the ways Peta Stewart is introduced. What ties them together is a steely determination to help people achieve their life goals and have fun in the process.

In 2004, Peta became the first licensed conveyancer in the Albury Wodonga greater region. Five years later, she launched her own business and started shaking up the industry with a good dose of personality, integrity and humanity.

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