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Commercial Construction Inspections projects require continuous inspections throughout the entire building process. These inspections are essential for ensuring safety, compliance with building codes, and maintaining a high level of quality. Effective management of these inspections is crucial for completing the project successfully, within budget, and with minimal issues.

Commercial construction inspections involve regular and formal checks of the property during construction. The purpose is to ensure that the building is safe, meets all code requirements, and is being constructed correctly. By conducting thorough inspections throughout the construction process, contractors and owners can minimize surprises and ensure a smooth final inspection and closeout.

In this article, we will explore the different types of commercial construction inspections, their role in the construction process, and how to optimize their effectiveness.

Types of Commercial Construction Inspections

In commercial construction, it is crucial to conduct thorough inspections at various stages of the project.

These inspections ensure the safety, quality, and compliance of the construction work. Whether it’s the general contractor reviewing plans or a specialized third-party inspecting a newly installed roof, the objective is to guarantee that the elements are safe, meet the owner’s expectations, and demonstrate the contractor’s craftsmanship.

Here are some common types of commercial construction inspections:

1. Pre-construction Inspections:

Before commencing construction, inspections are conducted to assess the site conditions and minimize unexpected issues. This may involve the general contractor and design team inspecting the building site or specialists checking the reinforcement, formwork, and vapor barrier before concrete is poured.

2. Routine Inspections:

Throughout the construction process, regular informal inspections are carried out by the general contractor to monitor progress. These inspections verify that newly installed components align with the plans and will pass formal inspections later on.

Routine inspections also help identify and address problems early, preventing their repetition and facilitating timely fixes. Examples include evaluating newly installed windows, inspecting a completed roof section after a storm, or conducting daily site walks.

3. Rough Inspections:

Rough inspections occur during early stages and focus on critical systems such as electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or fire safety. These inspections take place after key system elements have been installed but before walls are closed off.

They are often necessary for obtaining work permits and allow inspectors to assess components before they become inaccessible for repairs. Some municipalities provide lists or checklists outlining required rough inspections.

By conducting these inspections diligently, Commercial Construction Inspections projects can ensure quality control, improve the overall construction process, identify potential delays, prevent accidents, and enhance productivity. It is important for general contractors to maintain checklists and daily logs to streamline the inspection process and keep the project on track.

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Types of Commercial Construction Inspections
Types of Commercial Construction Inspections

Post-construction Inspections:

After the completion of various building components but before the final inspection, post-construction inspections are conducted. These inspections help address any issues in a manageable manner and prevent a long list of problems during the final inspection. Typically, licensed inspectors from the municipality perform these inspections, often the same ones who conducted the rough-in inspections.

They have a comprehensive understanding of the project’s progress and quality. Post-construction inspections are required to close work permits and vary depending on the building and location. Common examples include roof, concrete, foundation, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, framing, soil, insulation, steel, masonry, energy efficiency, walls, HVAC, fire safety, and more.

Punch List Inspection:

A walkthrough is conducted by the general contractor and owner (or owner’s representative) to determine if the building is substantially complete. This inspection focuses on finishing details such as painting, flooring, and countertops. The identified items are compiled into a punch list, which must be completed and submitted with the closeout documents.

Final Inspection:

The final inspection is performed by the local zoning authority or building department to ensure full compliance with codes and regulations regarding usage and safety. This inspection is crucial for obtaining a certificate of occupancy and is conducted after all work is completed, permits are closed, and other inspections have been carried out.

Inspections Before Purchasing a Commercial Building:

Commercial Construction Inspections – Commercial properties undergo thorough inspections before purchase, whether for immediate use or future renovation. Third-party inspectors assess the building’s condition and determine the necessary work. In some cases, representatives from manufacturers providing warranties may also participate in these inspections.

Design Inspections:

The design team may be involved in inspecting various aspects of the building throughout construction. Architects ensure compliance with building codes, while engineers verify proper installation. Certain locations, like New York City, may require regular progress inspections conducted by members of the design team.

Government Inspections:

Municipalities typically conduct inspections on parts of commercial buildings that impact safety. These may include in-wall insulation inspections, checks on wiring above ceilings, or adherence to specific floodplain regulations in places like Houston.

Most local building authorities have licensed inspectors who conduct necessary inspections during the construction process. Coordinating with the municipality or inspector in advance is crucial, as it adds pressure to pass the inspection on the first attempt. Contractors should include these government inspections in their project timeline and familiarize themselves with the inspection requirements to avoid surprises and potential delays.

Commercial construction inspections involve various types of inspections performed by different individuals. Routine inspections are typically conducted by the general contractor, while the final walkthrough involves the general contractor and the owner or owner’s representative. However, most inspections require a third party to provide a specialized and unbiased evaluation.

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This could be the municipality for required inspections or a third-party hired by the contractor to ensure compliance and identify any issues to be addressed.

During inspections, different items and systems are reviewed based on the inspector and the purpose of the inspection. Specific components such as air conditioners during HVAC inspections or electrical boxes during electrical inspections are examined. Cumulative inspections, such as post-construction or final inspections, focus on evaluating all aspects of the project.

Commercial Building
Commercial Building

A comprehensive commercial construction inspection typically covers the following:

1. Compliance with approved plans and building codes
2. Completion and proper sealing of structural components
3. Functionality and proper installation of electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
4. Testing and functionality of fire safety systems
5. Compliance with accessibility standards and laws, such as the ADA
6. Adherence to approved plans and building codes for exterior features like parking, drainage, and landscaping
7. Installation and height compliance of handrails and guardrails for stairs
8. Availability and condition of required exits
9. Placement and visibility of all signage

When Commercial Construction Inspections During inspections, general contractors play a crucial role. They conduct routine inspections, schedule third-party inspections, and accompany inspectors to better understand any issues. General contractors are responsible for collecting and providing all necessary documentation, including organized photo albums documenting the construction process.

Owners and owner’s representatives focus on ensuring that the project meets their expectations and intended use. They periodically visit the construction site to verify compliance with plans. During punch list inspections, owners or their representatives are involved in evaluating the project and creating a list of remaining tasks. In some cases, such as government-owned commercial buildings, owner’s representatives or engineers are required to be present during all inspections.

Sellers and buyers of commercial buildings often hire third-party inspectors to ensure that renovations are done correctly and to avoid unforeseen expenses in the future. Architects and engineers’ involvement in inspections depends on their contracts.

They may inspect specific elements of the building on behalf of the owner or to comply with local regulations. Architects check for building code compliance and accessibility regulations, while engineers ensure proper installation and functionality of elements.

To prepare for inspections, it is essential to have all necessary documentation readily available, including building plans, permits, and reports such as concrete break tests. An organized photo album documenting the construction progress can help address any questions or concerns raised during inspections.

Conducting routine inspections throughout the construction process allows early detection and resolution of issues.

Planning ahead and having a detailed timeline ensures that inspections occur at the appropriate times without delaying other project stages.

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While inspections for commercial and residential buildings should be approached with equal diligence, commercial inspections may entail more rigorous requirements and specialized systems. Municipalities provide lists of required inspections for different building types, and commercial buildings generally require more inspections than residential buildings.

After the inspection, reports are typically returned within 24 to 48 hours. Inspectors understand the time-sensitive nature of construction projects and aim to provide prompt results. The inspection report will indicate whether the inspection passed or failed and provide a clear list of issues to be addressed.

Joining the inspector during the Commercial Construction Inspections and taking notes can help general contractors address problems more efficiently and provide additional details for the inspection report.

A comprehensive commercial construction inspection
A comprehensive commercial construction inspection

 

When an inspection is passed, the construction project can proceed to the next stage without any major issues. This could involve continuing with the construction process or applying for a certificate of occupancy, depending on the specific project requirements.

However, if an inspection fails, the subsequent steps will depend on the nature and severity of the issues identified, as well as the timeframe needed to address them. If the building is deemed unsafe for occupancy, the inspector will inform the contractor that the building is not ready and will need to be re-inspected once the issues are resolved. Ideally, the general contractor should have a good understanding of the project’s progress and schedule inspections accordingly to minimize the chances of failure.

In some cases, a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) can be obtained, allowing the building to be used while non-life-threatening issues are addressed. A TCO typically grants a limited period, usually around 30 days, during which the inspector will return to ensure that all identified issues have been adequately resolved. If the necessary improvements have not been made, some inspectors may opt to close the building entirely.

By conducting thorough and well-managed commercial construction inspections, potential issues can be identified and addressed as early as possible. This proactive approach reduces the likelihood of surprises during the final stages of construction, such as closeout and the final inspection.

Early detection and resolution of issues contribute to smoother project management, allowing owners to realize a return on their investment and contractors to focus on their next projects more efficiently.

Introducing APPMVN Construction Management Services

APPMVN is a leading construction management company that specializes in providing comprehensive solutions for construction projects. With our expertise and experience in the industry, we offer a range of services to ensure the successful execution of your construction projects.

Our Construction Management services encompass the entire project lifecycle, from initial planning and design to construction and project completion. We work closely with clients, architects, engineers, and contractors to deliver high-quality results within budget and schedule constraints.

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