Risk Management: Commercial Property Inspection Checklist

Last updated:
Mar 30, 2021
Commercial Real Estate


Maxwell Vaughan
Maxwell Vaughan

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If you’re looking for a commercial property, you probably want to find one quickly for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is financial. Time is money and you want to find a suitable space as soon as possible, instead of going through a continual series of checking listings, chasing agents and planning property inspections. Also, you need to keep the business running and want as little disruption as possible.

In reality, it takes a while (and quite a few resources) to find the right property. And time is vital! You don’t want to feel pressured to decide on a property because you are running out of it.

Commercial Property Inspection

Inspections are inevitable

There’s no other way around it, an inspection is the only way to find out everything you need to know about the property before signing on.

Here’s a commercial property inspection checklist that you can use to risk manage your inspections:

Know What You’re Looking For

In general, most companies look for a number of key items when seeking commercial property. And you should start with that. First and foremost, consider:

  • Location, suitability, and accessibility
  • Size and floor level
  • Price and commercial terms
  • Building quality and amenities
  • Staff engagement and retention

Other things to look out for

But there’s a number of things you must consider from a risk management perspective. These are initially often overlooked and can surface as problems later down the track.

Area Size Check

Is there an accurate floorplan and does it show the actual net lettable area of the premises? If not, you could easily end up paying for space that doesn’t even exist!

Preliminary Programming

Pre-determine how your ideal office looks like.  Identify the right number of workstations, open plan desks, separate offices, meeting rooms, break out and collaboration areas. Do you really still need a reception, or can it be a collaborative space with a front desk? Knowing what you need from the outset makes the selection process more efficient.

Preliminary Cost Planning

A good preliminary program also helps to estimate the average costs of the future fit-out. Knowing the average cost of your fit-out will also help to compare buildings of similar size with different layouts. It also assists to compare quotes from contractors costs.

Base Building Services Check

This will check all aspects of the property like mechanical (heating, cooling, ventilation, airflow, lifts), fire systems, building automation and control, electrical systems, etc. Essentially, it tells you whether the building is well maintained. And while the landlord is liable for such repairs, you don’t want the inconvenience of moving into a building with poor utilities.

Base Building Capacity

Buildings differ when it comes to floor plates and efficiencies, and there’s no per-square-metre-fits-all solution. Before determining how much space you need, consider the type of work being performed, equipment required, foot traffic and storage needs. If these fall outside of standard requirements, ensure that the building services and floor plate will be able to accommodate you.

General Checks

Depending on the building's age, you may want to conduct your own general checks to ensure it's in good condition and well maintained. Check for signs of water damage and cracks, whether the construction falls in line with building plans, and when the lifts and fire services were last serviced.

Building Fit-Out Guide

When it comes to fit-out works, commercial leases often require the tenant to comply with the fit-out guide. These guides may set out specifics regarding permitted installations, materials and styles.

Know that some commercial properties are quite prescriptive in what they will allow and the standards of fit-out required. And this will directly impact a tenant’s budget and fit-out costs.


Check to make sure there are no hazardous materials on the premises that may affect the health and safety of your workers or the environment.

Development Application Requirements

Before shortlisting a property, check the costs associated with further development, including council approvals. Don’t be surprised by unexpected fees or exclusive contractor obligations.

Get Advice from the Professionals!

As you can see, there’s a lot more to consider than just the size, location, and rental costs when it comes to choosing a commercial property. To ensure you can risk manage each property you inspect, contact us today for professional advice.

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