Property Condition Assessments
LESSONS LEARNED:OBSERVATIONS AND LESSONS FROM THE SCHOOL OF EXPERIENCE
PROPERTY CONDITION ASSESSMENT SURVEYS
Property Condition Assessments (PCAs) are most frequently needed prior to the purchase of an existing building or prior to refinancing. Lenders usually require a condition assessment survey, commonly a part of “due diligence”, prior to providing the funding for refinancing or purchase. The purpose of this survey is to identify potential performance problems and anticipated maintenance costs that are immediate needs or can be expected during the initial few years of ownership. These surveys will help fine tune the cost of ownership and provide information to take to the bargaining table or at closing.
There are several considerations associated with “due diligence” assessments. Primary among these are performance evaluations and future maintenance requirements. Specifically, the survey should include:
- Foundation and Structural Systems
- Interior/Architectural Finishes
- Exterior Cladding (Bldg. Envelope)
- Roofing Systems
- Paving and Site Features
- MEP and HVAC Systems
- Drainage Systems
- ADA Compliance
These types of “due diligence” surveys are considered preliminary assessments and typically consist of reviewing available construction documents, site inspection, preliminary analysis and evaluation, and a report of findings and recommendations. If observed conditions are inconsistent with the available Construction Documents, and/or standard design and construction practices, or there are indications of potential failure or premature aging, then a more detailed and focused assessment should be performed. This may include more specialized nondestructive and destructive test methods. These expanded surveys should be performed by licensed professionals whose expertise is consistent with the type of systems being evaluated. The preliminary PCAs are not intended to be a detailed analysis of each facility component and most preliminary PCAs do not include operation of systems. Although a “standard of care” is exhibited by trained professionals in this type of preliminary review, it is possible that conditions may exist which will affect the value and/or performance of the facility but which will not be discovered by the assessment.
Another type of property condition assessment survey is associated with preconstruction activities on the property or adjoining properties. Preconstruction surveys are sometimes warranted to document existing conditions of nearby structures that may be affected by construction activities such as deep excavations or vibrations from pile driving or blasting. By providing documentation of pre-existing conditions, these surveys help minimize disputes over construction damage caused to existing structures. Preconstruction surveys typically include a detailed written survey with extensive photographic documentation. They might offer inexpensive protection against unfounded claims.
We hope that this “Lessons Learned” will be helpful to you in identifying and/or minimizing the potential for unforeseen costs and other forms of aggravation on your next project.
ECS SOUTHEAST, LLC 1281 Kennestone Circle, NE, Suite 100; Marietta, GA 30066 770-590-1971
ECS Southeast, LLC is part of the ECS Group of companies that was founded in 1988. There are 6 primary operating companies in the ECS Group with 30 engineering offices (1,100+ employees) in 10 states. In 2006, ENR ranked ECS, Ltd. as the 95th largest engineering firm in the US. During the past 20 years, we have come to understand the desires that our clients have for a quality “one-stop” geotechnical, environmental and construction materials testing consulting firm. We routinely work with property owners and financial institutions on projects of varying sizes.