ASTM E2018 − 15

Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process




8. Walk-Through Survey


8.1 Objective—The objective of the walk-through survey is to visually observe the subject property so as to obtain information on material systems and components.

8.2 Frequency—It is not expected that more than one site visit to the subject property be conducted by the field observer in connection with a PCA. The site visit constituting part of the PCA is referred to as the walk-through survey.


8.3 Photographs—Consultant should document representative conditions with photographs and use reasonable efforts to document typical conditions present including material physical deficiencies, if any. Photographs should include as a minimum: front and typical elevations and exteriors, site work, parking areas, roofing, structural systems, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, conveyance systems, life safety systems, representative interiors, and any special or unusual conditions present, provided that such building systems and components are within the scope of the PCA as defined between the user and consultant.


8.4 Scope—During the site visit, and in accordance with the principles of conducting representative observations, the field observer should conduct a walk-through survey of the subject property to observe material systems and components and identify physical deficiencies and any unusual features. Testing, measuring, or preparing calculations for any system or component to determine adequacy, capacity, or compliance with any standard is outside the scope of this guide. The schedule of specific items of the material building systems and components to be observed, which are presented in the succeeding subsections, should not be considered all-inclusive, and the consultant should utilize professional judgment regarding adding or deleting subsections as necessary to complete the PCR. Similarly, subsections identified as “out of scope considerations” identified at Section 11 and elsewhere in this document are provided for clarification and should not be construed as all-inclusive.


8.4.1 Site: Topography—Observe the general topography and any unusual or problematic features or conditions. Storm Water Drainage—Observe the storm water collection and drainage system and note the presence of on-site surface waters, and retention or detention basins. Ingress and Egress—Observe the major means of ingress and egress. Paving, Curbing, and Parking—Observe the material paving and curbing systems. Identify the types of parking, that is, garage, surface, subsurface, etc., the number and types of parking and loading spaces, and any reported parking inadequacies. Note the source of the information relating to the number and types of parking and loading spaces. Flatwork—Observe sidewalks, plazas, patios, etc. Landscaping and Appurtenances—Observe landscaping (trees, shrubs, lawns, fences, retaining walls, etc.) and material site appurtenances (irrigation systems, fountains, lighting, signage, ponds, etc.). Recreational Facilities—Observe on-site recreational facilities. Special Utility Systems—Identify the presence of any material special on-site utility systems such as water or wastewater treatment systems, special power generation systems, etc. If readily available, identify material systeminformation, such as system type, manufacturer, system capacity, system age, system operator, etc.


8.4.2 Structural Frame and Building Envelope: Identify the primary buildings, including parking structures, on the subject property, and identify the basic type of structure (steel frame, wood frame, cast-in-place concrete, precast concrete, concrete block, etc.) for each. Observe the building substructure, including the foundation system (noting the presence of cellars, basements, or crawl spaces), building’s superstructure or structural frame (floor framing system and roof framing system), building envelope including facades or curtain wall system, glazing system, exterior sealants, exterior balconies, doors, stairways, parapets, etc. Observations of the building’s exterior generally are to be limited to vantage points that are on-grade or from readily accessible balconies or rooftops.


8.4.3 Roofing: Identify and observe the material roof systems (exposed membrane and flashings) including, parapets, slope, drainage, etc. Observe for evidence and/or the need for material repairs, evidence of significant ponding, or evidence of roof leaks. Inquire as to the age of the material roofing system(s) and whether a roof warranty or bond is reported to be in effect.


8.4.4 Plumbing: Identify and observe the material plumbing systems including piping (sanitary, storm and supply water), fixtures, domestic hot water production, and note any special or unusual plumbing systems.


8.4.5 Heating: Identify the basic type of heat generating and distribution system, and the apparent or reported age of the equipment, past material component replacements/upgrades, and the apparent level of maintenance exercised. If heating equipment is shutdown or not operational at the time of the walk-through survey, provide an opinion of the condition to the extent observed. Also, observe any special or unusual heating systems or equipment present, such as solar heat. Identify in general terms reported material tenant-owned systems that are outside the scope of the PCA.


8.4.6 Air Conditioning and Ventilation: Identify the basic type of air-conditioning and ventilation systems including cooling towers, chillers (include type of reported refrigerant used), package units, split systems, air handlers, thermal storage equipment, material distribution systems, etc. Identify the apparent or reported age of the material equipment, past material component upgrades/ replacements, apparent level of preventive maintenance exercised, and whether a maintenance contract is reported to be in place. If air conditioning and ventilation systems are shutdown or not operational at the time of the walk-through survey, provide an opinion of the condition to the extent observable. Identify any special or unusual air conditioning and ventilation systems or equipment, such as refrigeration equipment for ice skating rinks, cold storage systems, special computer cooling equipment, etc. Identify in general terms reported material tenant-owned systems that are outside the scope of the PCA.

8.4.7 Electrical: Identify the electrical service provided and observe the electrical distribution system including distribution panels, transformers, meters, emergency generators, general lighting systems, and other such equipment or systems. Observe general electrical items, such as distribution panels, type of wiring, energy management systems, emergency power, lightning protection, etc. Identify any observed or reported special or unusual electrical equipment, systems, or devices at the subject property.


8.4.8 Vertical Transportation: Identify equipment type, number of cabs/escalators, capacity, etc. Observe elevator cabs, finishes, call and communication equipment, etc. Identify whether a maintenance contract is reported to be in place, and if so, identify the service contractor.


8.4.9 Life Safety/Fire Protection: Identify and observe life safety and fire protection systems, including sprinklers and standpipes (wet or dry, or both), fire hydrants, fire alarm systems, water storage, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, stairwell pressurization, smoke evacuation, etc.


8.4.10 Interior Elements: Observe typical common areas including, but not limited to, lobbies, corridors, assembly areas, and restrooms. Identify and observe typical finishes, that is, flooring, ceilings, walls, etc., and material building amenities or special features, that is spas, fountains, clubs, shops, restaurants, etc.


8.5 Additional Considerations—There may be additional issues or conditions at a property that users may wish to assess in connection with commercial real estate that are outside the scope of this guide (Out of Scope considerations).


8.5.1 Outside Standard Practices—Whether or not a user elects to inquire into non-scope considerations in connection with this guide or any other PCA is not required for compliance by this guide.


8.5.2 Other Standards—Other standards or protocols for assessment of conditions associated with non-scope conditions may have been developed by governmental entities, professional organizations, or other private entities.


8.5.3 Additional Issues—Following are several non-scope considerations that users may want to assess in connection with commercial real estate. No implication is intended as to the relative importance of inquiry into such non-scope considerations, and this list of non-scope considerations is not intended to be all-inclusive: Seismic Considerations, Design Consideration for Natural Disasters (Hurricanes, Tornadoes, High Winds, Floods, Snow, etc.), Insect/Rodent Infestation, Environmental Considerations, ADA Requirements, FHA Requirements,

3 Mold; Indoor Air Quality, and Property Security Systems. Long Term Costs

Section 11

11. Out of Scope Considerations

11.1 Activity Exclusions—The activities listed below generally are excluded from or otherwise represent limitations to thescope of a PCA prepared in accordance with this guide. These should not be construed as all-inclusive or imply that any exclusion not specifically identified is a PCA requirement under this guide.

11.1.1 Identifying capital improvements, enhancements, or
upgrades to building components, systems, or finishes. The
consultant must be aware of the distinction between repair and
replacement activities that maintain the property in its intended
design condition, versus actions that improve or reposition the

11.1.2 Identifying improvements, capital expenditures,
repairs, maintenance and other activities that are or may be
required at a future date, except as needed in the review of
short term and long term needs.

11.1.3 Removing, relocating, or repositioning of materials,
ceiling, wall, or equipment panels, furniture, storage
containers, personal effects, debris material or finishes; conducting exploratory probing or testing; dismantling or operating of equipment or appliances; or disturbing personal items or
property, that obstructs access or visibility.

11.1.4 Determining adequate pressure and flow rate,
fixture-unit values and counts, verifying pipe sizes, or verifying
the point of discharge for underground drains.
11.1.5 Determining NFPA hazard classifications,
identifying, classifying, or testing fire rating of assemblies.
Determination of the necessity for or the presence of fire areas,
fire walls, fire barriers, accessible routes, construction groups
or types, or use classifications.

11.1.6 Preparing engineering calculations (civil, structural,
mechanical, electrical, etc.) to determine any system’s,
component’s, or equipment’s adequacy or compliance with any
specific or commonly accepted design requirements or building
codes, or preparing designs or specifications to remedy any
physical deficiency.

11.1.7 Taking measurements or quantities to establish or
confirm any information or representations provided by the
owner or user, such as size and dimensions of the subject
property or subject building; any legal encumbrances, such as
easements; dwelling unit count and mix; building property line
setbacks or elevations; number and size of parking spaces; etc.

11.1.8 Reporting on the presence or absence of pests such as
wood damaging organisms, rodents, or insects.

11.1.9 Reporting on the condition of subterranean
conditions, such as soil types and conditions, underground
utilities, separate sewage disposal systems, wells, manholes,
utility pits; systems that are either considered process-related
or peculiar to a specific tenancy or use; or items or systems that
are not permanently installed.

11.1.10 Entering or accessing any area of the premises
deemed to potentially pose a threat of dangerous or adverse
conditions with respect to the field observer’s health or safety,
including, but not limited to: entering of plenum, crawl, or
confined-space areas, entering elevator/escalator pits or shafts,
walking on pitched roofs, or any roof areas that appear to be
unsafe, or roofs without built-in access, and removing of
electrical panel and device covers.

11.1.11 Performing any procedure, that may damage or
impair the physical integrity of the property, any system, or

11.1.12 Providing an opinion on the condition of any system
or component, that is shutdown. However, the consultant is to
provide an opinion of its physical condition to the extent
reasonably possible considering its age, obvious condition,
manufacturer, etc.

11.1.13 Evaluating the Sound Transmission Class or acoustical or insulating characteristics of systems or components.

11.1.14 Evaluating the flammability of materials and related

11.1.15 Providing an opinion on matters regarding security
of the subject property and protection of its occupants or users
from unauthorized access.

11.1.16 Operating or witnessing the operation of lighting,
lawn irrigation, or other systems typically controlled by time
clocks or that are normally operated by the building’s operation
staff or service companies.

11.1.17 Providing an environmental assessment or opinion
on the presence of any environmental issues such as potable
water quality, asbestos, hazardous wastes, toxic materials, the
location or presence of designated wetlands, mold, fungus,
IAQ, etc.

11.1.18 Providing an environmental assessment or opinion
on the presence of any environmental issues such as potable
water quality, asbestos, hazardous wastes, toxic materials, the
location or presence of designated wetlands, mold, fungus,
IAQ, etc.

11.1.19 Evaluating systems or components that require
specialized knowledge or equipment, including but not limited
to: flue connections, interiors of chimneys, flues or boiler
stacks; electromagnetic fields, electrical testing and operating
of any electrical devices; examination of elevator and escalator
cables, sheaves, controllers, motors, inspection tags; or tenant owned or maintained equipment.

11.1.20 Process related equipment or condition of tenant
owned/maintained equipment. Entering of plenum or confined
space areas. Testing or measurements of equipment or air flow.

11.1.21 Observation of flue connections, interiors of
chimneys, flues or boiler stacks, or tenant-owned or maintained
equipment. Entering of plenum or confined space areas.

11.2 Warranty, Guarantee, and Code Compliance
Exclusions—By conducting a PCA and preparing a PCR, the
consultant merely is providing an opinion and does not warrant
or guarantee the present or future condition of the subject
property, nor may the PCA be construed as either a warranty or
guarantee of any of the following:

11.2.1 Any system’s or component’s physical condition or
use, nor is a PCA to be construed as substituting for any
system’s or equipment’s warranty transfer inspection;

11.2.2 Compliance with any federal, state, or local statute,
ordinance, rule or regulation including, but not limited to, fire
and building codes, life safety codes, environmental
regulations, health codes, zoning ordinances, compliance with
trade/design standards, or standards developed by the insurance industry.

11.2.3 Compliance of any material, equipment, or system
with any certification or actuation rate program, vendor’s or
manufacturer’s warranty provisions, or provisions established by any standards that are related to insurance industry
acceptance/approval, such as FM, State Board of Fire
Underwriters, etc.

11.3 Additional/General Considerations:

11.3.1 Further Inquiry—There may be physical condition
issues or certain physical improvements at the subject property
that the parties may wish to assess in connection with a
commercial real estate transaction that are outside the scope of
this guide. Such issues are referred to as non-scope
considerations, and if included in the PCR, should be identified
under 10.9.

11.3.2 Out of Scope Considerations—Whether or not a user
elects to inquire into non-scope considerations in connection
with this guide is a decision to be made by the user. No
assessment of such non-scope considerations is required for a
PCA to be conducted in compliance with this guide.

11.3.3 Other Standards—Other standards or protocols may
exist for the discovery or assessment of physical deficiencies.
Such standards and protocols are expressly excluded from the
scope of the assessment unless otherwise agreed between the
User and Consultant.

© 2020 Sentry Home Inspection Services LLC.

Veteran-Owned     Veteran-Operated

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