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Posted - 06/03/2011 :  08:19:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What is the difference between a Multi-Family
and a Commercial / Industrial property inspection?

Although the major components which are inspected are similar, there are subtle and some not so subtle differences that are worth noting.

During either inspection the main focus is the major systems. These are electrical, plumbing, HVAC, structure and roofing. Where the difference comes in is the interiors of the buildings.

In a Multi-Family building, each unit has its own kitchen and bathroom. Each has its own electrical, heating and plumbing system and each unit may have its own water heater and appliances. An office building may have only a few HVAC systems and perhaps only two restrooms with no tub or showers. They usually contain very small kitchen facilities or none at all. This is also why Multi-Family inspections are often more expensive to do.

A multi-Family inspection requires a much more in-depth look at functionality. In other words, the inspection should really go over if and how everything works. For example, when inspecting a bathroom it is important to see if the water volume drops at the sink when the tub is turned on. This is a practical consideration because if the volume drops when this is tested it means that while someone is taking a shower and someone else flushes a toilet in another unit , the person in the shower might get scalded.

Improper ventilation in a Multi-Family bathroom can mean mold can grow much more easily. Since these units are lived in, that could be a greater health hazard due to prolonged exposure. Unless there are plumbing leaks, this is less common in Commercial or Industrial settings.

The location of smoke detectors in Multi-Family buildings is important and the requirements are different depending on the location of the property however we recommend them in all sleeping areas for safety. Commercial and Industrial buildings have their own fire safety requirements. Each type of building, depending on the use, may have a different fire/life safety requirement such as emergency signs and lighting as well as fire sprinklers and extinguishers.

These are just a few of the many differences between a Commercial / Industrial property inspection and a Multi-Family property inspection. Our inspectors have many years of experience with all three types and can give you the information you and your agent need to help you evaluate the property. Additionally, our unique RISK Assessment® is available for all types of inspections.

Call us TODAY and book your next inspection!

I hope this helps.


Bob Pace, Owner

Contractor License #461030
Past President CREIA – Calif. Real Estate Inspection Assoc., Mid Valley Chapter
Member AIR Commercial

Commercial Real Estate Inspectors

Go to our website at:
and see examples of our RISK Assessment®.
Get results with the RISK Assessment!
Contact us today! 800-931-2734 or e-mail at
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