What to know about Building Inspections

The drafting of a Building Evaluation Report consists of several stages. The first of them and once accepted the professional assignment and signed the contract with our client, is the data collection prior to the visit of the building. If you want to know if a building or house you want to buy is still […]
building Inspections

The drafting of a Building Evaluation Report consists of several stages. The first of them and once accepted the professional assignment and signed the contract with our client, is the data collection prior to the visit of the building.
If you want to know if a building or house you want to buy is still sustainable and will not cause you further trouble in the future then contact us today and we will carry out an evaluation.
Taking data before the visit
We must know what we are going to find. It is not advisable to go blind to a property without knowing at least a series of basic data. Therefore, it is important that we obtain, at least, the following information:
Age of the building
If the property does not know this information, we should obtain it by consulting the Cadastre. Depending on the age, we will find very different construction materials and techniques, from wooden beams, adobe walls, lead plumbing installations, or downspouts and fibre cement roofs in older buildings, to more current materials and more similar to those that we use today.
Cadastral reference
The cadastral reference, as we know, is a property’s ID. It is essential to have it perfectly identified. If the owners do not know this information, we can consult it through the digital platform of the cadastre by entering the exact postal address.
Flat status
Typology of the building
We will also be interested to know if it is an exempt building or between party walls, the number of floors you have and if any of them is below the ground level, the number of houses per floor, the average area of the homes and premises, the type of roof and the possibility of access to them, if you have an elevator, a meter room, etc.
Pathologies detected by the neighbours of the property
Although it will be us, as technicians, who will assess each of the pathologies that we find on the day of the visit, it is important to know which dwellings or common areas of the building may present some pathology in the opinion of the neighbours.
Last renovations carried out in the building
In the event that the building has been completely or partially renovated, we will ask the representative of the community of neighbours, who has on hand for the day of the visit the project or budget of the construction company, in order to know the scope of those interventions. At a minimum, we will have to carry out the inspection of the building knowing these basic data.
Visit to the building
On the day of the inspection, as it is an ocular inspection, we must take the material that we consider essential for it.
It is usually advisable to meet previously with the president or representative of the community to obtain fundamental information such as the CIF of the property, the data of the legal representative of the neighbour’s community, community expenses, projects of previous reforms, result of the technical inspections carried out previously, reason for the inspection.
Later we will make the visits to the different areas of the building. If we have not analysed the main façade of the building before entering the building, it will be a good time to visually supervise it from the street.
Eye inspection of a facade from the street
It may be advisable to start in the common areas. Visit the flat’s roof of the building, as well as to know the state of conservation of this, can be very useful to get an idea of the general layout of the building, locating the patios of lights, orientation, the adjoining buildings (if any), etc.
On flat roofs we will observe whether or not there are cracks that may concern us or areas where rainwater can be filtered by a slight slope, dilapidation joints in poor condition, drained or poorly placed drains, raised tiles, etc.
Inspection of a flat roof
If there are sloping roofs in the building and access is possible, we must access with the appropriate security means to supervise, above all, the state of conservation of the skirts, ridges and limes, and gutters, when possible.
We will visit the electricity and plumbing meter rooms if they are centralized in any common area of the building.
Battery of electricity meters
Walking the building without using the elevator (going up or down stairs) is the most appropriate, since it allows us to locate possible pathologies in the stairwell, especially cracks or fissures in the walls, which in many cases could be load.
In the entrance area to the building, in the vestibule or vestibule, we will observe the accessibility to the building from the street, if it is necessary to overcome any architectural barrier, the width of the corridors, the existence of some ramp and the characteristics of these, signalling of security, etc.
If there is an elevator in the building, we will measure the inside of the cabin to check if it is accessible or not. Remember that having an elevator does not guarantee that the itinerary between floors must necessarily be accessible.
Now is a good time to analyse whether it would technically be possible to install an elevator (if there was not one) either by the stair eye or by the main façade, lateral or rear, or by the light yards in case their area.
Taking advantage of the fact that we are visiting the common areas, we will check if the building has fire-fighting facilities: fire extinguishers, dry columns, sprinklers, etc.
Throughout our visit to the common areas of the building, we will obtain data regarding the type of structure and foundation that the building has. Although, we will not have access to the foundation, this can be deduced by the type of structure that we have.
Obviously, there will be data that we cannot see, such as the type of beams (metal or reinforced concrete), prestressed concrete beams, or steel, metal pillars or reinforced concrete … but in many cases (and especially if we have experience) we can deduce all this data. In any case, when we write the report, we must indicate that we do not know for sure what materials the foundation and structure are made of, and that they are deductions that we have made after the visual inspection.
In Able Building Inspections we are specialists in the inspection of buildings that have been affected over time. We have more than 23 years of experience inspecting buildings and helping people make the smartest choice when looking to purchase a house.