The Commercial Structural Inspection
In engineering and architecture, a structure is a body or assemblage of bodies in space to form a system capable of supporting loads. Physical structures include man-made and natural arrangements.
The structural components of a building, which consist of the foundation and structural framing, are typically the most expensive to repair. Structural Components, which support the buildings live and dead loads, are all visually inspected during the course of the commercial inspection.
This is a visual inspection to identify the condition of the buildings structure. During the visual inspection we look for structural defects which would include: signs of structural distress or deformation of components. We also look for signs of material deterioration, whether from corrosion or mechanical damage. Buildings may become damaged during construction. Often there are visual clues to an underlying structural issue. Exterior brick movement or separation is usually an indication of foundation movement, which can be easily investigated once area of concern is identified. Foundations can move due to water pressure or erosion, frost heaving, problems with expansive soils or deterioration of foundation wall. Understanding the nature of structural deficiencies and accurate identification can save a potential buyer from unexpected repair expenses when purchasing commercial or industrial properties.
Any building requires a certain amount of internal infrastructure to function, which includes such elements like heating / cooling, power and telecommunications, water and wastewater etc. Especially in commercial buildings (such as offices or factories), these can be extremely intricate systems taking up large amounts of space (sometimes located in separate areas or double floors / false ceilings) and constitute a big part of the regular maintenance required.
Older buildings may have modifications which may deviate from the intended use of structural items. Unless properly designed modifications can affect the load structure of building and lead to an unsafe condition.
Basements in older buildings are prime areas for Structural Defects, through damage or modification, and require a close visual inspection of foundation walls, framing members, and any system penetrations through any structural components. Notching through wood support beams is a common occurrence in older buildings which have had upgrades to electrical, plumbing or heating systems.