Commercial building issues found during our inspections. The photos are from the commercial building inspections we have completed.
In this thermal image we discovered moisture behind the stucco cladding of the exterior wall. The stucco wall had many surface cracks with some being larger. The morning we took this image on the east side of the building. The wall was exposed to sunlight heating up the surface. As the sun rises the surface cooled however the water beneath the cladding stayed heated. Just like the water in a pan on stovetop. Turn off the burner and the pan cools but the water stays warmer.
Thermal imaging can be used for locating temperature differences only. It’s not an x-ray, it’s not magic wand. What you can see are the studs within the wall. The lack of insulation in this wall shows between the studs warmer. Tis is because heat from the exterior wall.
During our inspection of this roof system we checked every nut and bolt. All of the bolts that are holding together the metal support beams are rusted. In some cases the bolts have failed.
When we were conducting our inspection on this building I became curious why the siding was settled on top of the ground. So I dug out a little and found no stem wall, no foundation. For 50 years the exterior wall has been sitting on top of soil.
Foundation looking north along side the wall
Same wall in previous picture
During our inspection of this commercial building I noticed this northwall. The bottom of the cladding appeared to be unusual. So I took a tape measure to the bottom of the cladding. Measured from east to west every ten feet. Every ten feet the cladding was protruding out 1/4 of an inch every ten feet. The sill plate was secure. The cladding was not loose. This tells me the framing either was done incorrectly or the bracing has failed.
This is the north wall of the same building. I noticed the exterior wall bulging out. So I used my tape measure to measure the sill plat at bottom of wall. This wall is approx, 40 feet long. As I measured every ten feet the wall was moving outward 1/4 per inch per ten feet. These are the simple little things to look for when conducting inspections
End of same wall
During a different inspection we observed this boiler on top of a roof. They had built a small shed to cover the equipment. This boiler has seen better days. Top left corner of the boiler the metal framing has cracked. Taking CO readings inside of the building indicated the boilers heat exchanger is also cracked.
Controls for boiler
Here we have all the electrical controls for the boiler system. This system has regular maintenance however they missed the crack in the heat exchanger.
This is the exterior of the bowstring roof we inspected. As you can see the roofing material has reached end of life
On top of roof 30 feet, this small concrete wall has cracked all the way through. Even at the flashing you can see dilapidated concrete. This will eventually break off and fall onto the sidewalk below.
Bowstring Roof Structure
For those who do not know what a bowstring roof system is, the roof is dome shaped. These were common back in the 1960s. Many of them have failed do to loads.
Bowstring Roof System
During our inspection at 30 feet high, we found several bottom timbers either cracked or simply came loose over the years. On this roof system someone had used improper screws instead of lag bolts to join the timbers and cross members. Now the screws are pulling out from improper attachment.
I’m always fascinated on larger projects. This interior side of the bowstring roof was covered with thin sheets of plywood. Because of the amount of moisture in this building the plywood is dilapidated. As you will see on the exterior of this roof, it has not been maintained. Many areas of the interior sheeting is falling off.
Exterior Bowstring Flashing
At the exterior as we walked it, we found many areas of the flashing and roof covering in very poor condition.
You just seen the exterior of this area and as you can see how the plywood is basically falling off.
Interior of the roof system failing.
Top Timber of Bowstring Roof
We found most of the top timbers in fair condition
Bowstring Roof System
As you can see this roofing material has meet end of life.
We inspected approx 20,000 sq feet of interior roof sheeting on this building. We ran into many poor condition areas. Because this building is being used to store products at low temperatures, the interior roofing material was not designed properly. Incorrect for this climate. Without proper R value and waterproof material the condensation has destroyed this material.
Step cracks can be an issue. With this step crack starting from the bottom of wall and extending over eight feet, it then becomes serious.
This is a perfect example of a step crack on this 20 foot tall concrete block wall. Moisture is coming out of the crack. At the bottom of the wall one would think this is hydrostatic pressure. However on the interior of this wall is hoppers that produce high moisture. Over the years it has cracked this wall. Expanion.
Concrete Block Wall
Same wall in previous image a few feet down. The crack in the concrete walkway plus the build up of water where the sidewalk meets the block wall is hydrostatic pressure.
Interior Concrete Wall
The moisture content in this building has rusted the main support beam. The concrete wall also has seen better days.
Concrete Block Wall
The exterior of this wall has many issues going on. We observed many cracks, blocks out of alinement.
Attic, roof system
At the edge of this roof line from the interior we observed approx 40 feet of wood planking has rotted. The roof covering will have to be removed and replace all dilapidated wood.
Dry rot at the eve of roofing inside of attic.
As we said before this area of approx 40 feet long 3 feet wide of the roofing sheeting “planks” has rot.
Interior roof sheeting is rotted. If you do not look for these things, you are not doing a good job.
Exterior Roof Covering
I asked the owner before we went on top of the roof is there were any issues. He said no.
First time I ever seen a property owner use sheet metal for a roof patch.
Main Support Beam
This beam looks normal, right? In the next image you will see us take a closer look. We always inspect welding joints in metal support beams.
Metal Support Beam
As we took a closer look we found a broken weld.
Metal Support Beam
On metal supports and even wood we take a measurement of the angles. We check to see if they are in plumb.
Exterior Brick Wall
This wall on historical building looks normal. Take a closer look.
Over the years the gutter system has failed. The water has damaged the brick and even in several areas the bricks have deteriorated.
On this inspection we noticed an area that had black discoloration on the underside roof sheeting. We took a sample, sent to lab and yes it is mold.
We measured the moisture content in the roof sheeting. In some places it was over 90%
On the underside of the roof decking we found what appears to be mold. Lab tests confirmed.
Metal Plumbing Vent
I think I really like this one the best. Here we have a metal plumbing vent within inches of a high voltage line. When the wind blows the line smacks the vent pipe. It is only going to take a second if this voltage line is cut then touches the vent pipe. Anyone inside of this restaurant happens to be touching any metal in the building when this happens. Wow.
On this 6th floor balcony you can see the concrete crack near door. Balconies are usually supported by beams underneath. However something has caused this concrete to start developing issues.
We conduct various types of testing on mechanical equipment. Whenever a buyer purchases a restaurant they call us to physically test refrigeration equipment.
We test many types of gas fired equipment. On a new boiler or large hot water heater system we usually find these systems burn very efficiently.
Example: On older systems the efficiency test rating is approx 70% with 10 to 12 ppm of CO. On new systems the CO is 1 or zero, efficiency is 98%
Each year we receive calls to test new and existing commercial duct systems. We test air flow from each register and return duct. We then provide an assessment on how well or poorly the system is operating. Even in new installs we find serious mistakes made by HVAC contractors.
Support for 2nd story stairs
Most of the supports underneath the stairs deck for this 2nd story starwell has rotted.
Doorways for retail businesses are suppose to be ADA compliant. There are seven doors to this strip mall and none of them are in compliance.
Walkway Not ADA
This walkway for the seven retail businesses is not ADA compliance.
We carry test kits for testing lead in paint, drywall.
Formaldehyde should not be higher than .4 ppm in the air you breath. Formaldehyde is found in many building products and causes respiratory conditions and cancer. In this picture you can see the levels max out our meter.
We utilize electronic equipment to test and measure for radon.