Buying property for commercial purposes requires a complete understanding of the condition of the building, the surrounding ground, and the various systems inside the building, such as plumbing and electrical.
In the run-up to purchasing the building, pay particular attention to the HVAC system. A thorough commercial HVAC inspection should be conducted before making any commercial purchase or buying property for business reasons.
Why Worry about Commercial HVAC Inspection?
Buying commercial property represents a significant investment of money, time, and effort. An in-depth commercial HVAC inspection does not, as a rule, indicate distrust of the seller or suspicion that the heating and cooling systems are unfit. Instead, the inspection ensures that everyone's interests are covered and that you, as purchaser, know exactly what you are buying.
The inspection also gives the seller important information about the HVAC systems and their condition. With this information, neither side in the transaction will be surprised by an unknown or unexpected HVAC problem. The buyer will not face a large, unexpected additional expense to fix the heating or cooling systems, and the seller will not end up in a conflict, legal or otherwise, with a dissatisfied buyer.
Areas for Commercial HVAC Inspection
The inspection should provide detailed information on factors such as:
- Age and condition: The age, general condition, and overall functionality of the HVAC equipment will tell you, as buyer, whether or not the systems are past their prime or nearing the point when replacement may become necessary. The inspection will also reveal whether or not the HVAC systems have been neglected, or if they have been given regular preventive maintenance to keep them in good working order. An older HVAC system that has been well maintained will likely still have some useful years in it.
- Ductwork: Commercial ductwork should be the correct size to carry the amount of heated and cooled air needed by the building. If there is a need to replace the ductwork to correct this problem, it could amount to a significant expense. Ductwork should also be in good condition, sealed at all connections, and insulated.
- Sizing: The HVAC equipment should also be the proper size to provide enough functional capacity to produce the amount of heating and cooling needed. Too small and it won't produce enough conditioned air; too large and it will waste energy and money. The HVAC system inspection should include a load calculation that shows how much heating and cooling will be needed. It is vital to know this information so that you don't have to replace the HVAC equipment after buying the building.
Sources for Commercial HVAC Inspectors
- Your local trusted HVAC professional: When buying property that needs a commercial HVAC inspection, turn first to your local trusted HVAC professional. The company that has handled other HVAC issues for you will most likely be able to provide the in-depth HVAC assessment and inspection you need for your new building. If not, your existing HVAC service supplier should be able to recommend another reliable company to do the work.
- Industry associations: HVAC industry associations often provide directories of HVAC professionals who perform specialized services. Consult one of these organizations and its member directory to find a local inspector. Organizations such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE) or the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) should be able to help you find an inspector.
- Local building code enforcement offices: Local code enforcement offices, city engineering offices, and other municipal authorities may also be able to steer you toward an HVAC professional with the expertise and experience to provide the HVAC inspection you need before buying property.