What a Building Inspector Looks For

Evelyn Long

Jan 31, 2023


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A commercial building is a structure located on commercially-bought real estate. Buyers purchase commercial properties to generate a profit, whether from a business or rental income, such as a cafe or multifamily home. 

A building inspector will check four major interior systems when evaluating a commercial property. 

  1. Electrical 
  2. Mechanical
  3. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning 
  4. Plumbing

They will also examine fire safety mechanisms like smoke detectors and sprinklers and test building alarms. 

For the exterior, the inspector will check that any outer walls, roofing and parking structures are sound and do not pose a hazard to anyone in the area. 


The electrical portion of a building inspection contains three portions, an outlet inspection, a breaker analysis and a wiring examination to ensure the home’s system is safe and functioning well. 

They will use a tester to determine each outlet’s functionality before looking at the breaker box to ensure correct connections. They will pay extra attention to the kitchen and bathroom breakers, ensuring the builder grounded them to protect you and your appliances. 

An inspector will also look at the wiring throughout the building to determine any unsafe connections. 


An inspector will look at each mechanical portion of the building, including elevators, large machinery and irrigation systems. 

They will look at the functionality of each system and determine its safety. They will recommend any necessary repairs that will help keep everything running smoothly. 


The heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit is necessary to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable throughout the building.

They will examine central heating and air conditioning throughout the building to know whether or not they are safe and effective for regular use. They will also ensure there is proper ventilation throughout the home. 


The plumbing portion of your building inspection includes an examination of drains, sinks, showers, bathtubs and toilets. They will run each faucet and look at the water heater for safety and efficiency. 

The inspector will also ensure the water is connected to the right source and is producing clean water. 

Additional Inspections

Building inspectors are responsible for ensuring that the structure is safe. Aside from the main interior systems, they will examine the foundation, exterior walls, windows, roof and outdoor drainage. 

They will also test the smoke alarms, light switches and the small but important details throughout the building. 

What Happens if Your Building Fails Inspection?

If your building fails inspection, it will have to cease operation. If the issue is small, like a smoke detector or window replacement, you can resume without much issue. However, larger issues could take significant time, leading to financial or legal issues. Your client may even decide to break their contract. 

It’s important to ensure your building systems are up-to-date and everything is secure before the inspection. You can do this by researching area requirements and speaking to credible contractors throughout the building or renovation process. 

Passing Your Inspection with Flying Colors 

So long as you put time and care into your build, it’s easy to pass inspection. Speak with licensed contractors and research the guidelines in your area to ensure your building is good to go. 

The last thing you want is for your or your client’s business to get delayed due to poor planning. Passing the inspection is the key to opening a building’s possibilities. 

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