To inspect real estate, know the pitfalls

Aug 14, 2018 // By:kiarolson // No Comment

Missed moisture can be a costly building inspection mistake

By Scott Hamele, DBIA President and founder of Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC (NCI)and Construction DesignWorks, LLC

There are endless areas of concern when performing a commercial building inspection. The obvious suspects are the roof, HVAC and structural. The building envelope can be tricky as signs of water infiltration are often concealed and it is a major pitfall in inspecting real estate. Most property condition assessments (PCAs) only require non-destructive examinations, meaning they do not require the inspector to open up walls and ceiling cavities. It is important to inspect real estate through a knowledgeable real estate inspection company prior to purchasing.

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A needed test to inspect real estate thoroughly

We highly recommend the water absorption test with RILEM tubes for all masonry buildings. Most exterior masonry is protected by some sort of water repellant or sealer to reduce water absorption. These sealers are clear and are hard to detect. Over time, these sealers wear off and the porous masonry product begins absorbing moisture. This wicks through and begins causing damage inside the wall cavity.

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Rilem tubes are designed to attach to the masonry surface. The tube is filled with distilled water. The rate at which the water is absorbed into the masonry is measured over a period of time. The results will let you know if there is adequate sealer on the masonry material or if it is lacking.

This is an inexpensive test and needs to be done on multiple locations of the building. Most moisture protection companies provide this service and it can be included as a supplementary test to the standard ASTM E-2018 Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

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If the building is older than five years and you have no evidence of when the last time a masonry sealer was applied, a water absorption test must be done. This is one thing to consider when hiring a company to inspect real estate. Without it the hidden damage and health consequences are immeasurable.

Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC provides most comprehensive commercial building inspection reports in the industry

NCI utilizes their architectural, engineering and construction expertise to create and develop a high-quality PCA. These reports are customized for each type of real estate: office, retail, flex-space, industrial, hospitality and healthcare. If you are interested in protecting your real estate investment, contact us at 913-667-7774 or visit our website at

Click here for a video about the property condition assessments we provide.

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