At Hill Property Inspections, we specialize in commercial property inspections in Pennsylvania and several surrounding states and have a team of leading experts to provide our clients with the most comprehensive commercial inspection and testing services available. If you’re looking for a commercial inspection company in PA, Maryland, Ohio or West Virginia, you’ve come to the right place. We are CCPIA certified and perform inspections in accordance with the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties (ComSOP) and ASTM E2018–24.  

Whether you’re a commercial investor, owner, seller, lessee, property manager, maintenance supervisor or other interested party, we are fully equipped to work with you to provide a detailed assessment and assist you with vital planning for the future. No property is too small or large for us to assess, and we are capable of handling all commercial projects from small boutiques or offices to large factories, multifamily complexes and multi-building industrial sites. 

We are one of the only dedicated commercial inspection companies serving such a broad territory in states across the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest regions and are highly rated with hundreds of 5-star reviews from our loyal and satisfied clients. We also offer far more services than nearly all other commercial inspectors in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia where we operate and provide comprehensive reports very quickly. While many commercial inspection companies have a small team and are often lacking in resources, experience and capabilities, we boast a top-notch team of industry leading experts to ensure our clients have every question thoroughly answered and a solid plan in place to manage their property and bottom line well into the future. In this sense, we seek to be a one-stop shop and a trusted consultant our commercial clients can depend on again and again.

TYPES OF BUILDINGS WE INSPECT:

NOTE: All building types are classified using a tier-based pricing system according to typical inspection complexity. Tier 1 (T1) buildings tend to be the least complex, T2 buildings tend to be average in complexity, and T3 properties tend to be among the most complex. While the tier ratings listed below are intended to serve as a guideline, HPI reserves the right to reclassify properties or individual building spaces based on information obtained prior to the PCA; and this includes reclassifying a building or space into a lower and less expensive category in addition to changing its classification to a higher, more expensive tier.

The HPI Difference

At HPI, we understand that commercial properties are investments. Unlike most homes, commercial buildings are income generating assets, as well as business expenses. They demand careful and thoughtful planning, due diligence, ongoing maintenance and periodic improvements to maximize efficiency, worker safety, public appeal and revenue, while limiting liability and cost. As an important part of that process, we function as trusted consultants for our commercial clients and offer services that go far beyond an inspection alone.

All of our commercial inspections include an on-site property condition assessment (PCA) after initially gathering data, followed by a detailed property condition report (PCR); but we also offer many other professional services that we strongly recommend, depending on each client’s needs. These include cost-to-cure reports, capital reserve forecasts, maintenance plans, insurance loss and pre-loss assessments, ADA compliance reviews, life and fire safety evaluations, occupancy, triple net lease assessments, wood-destroying insect inspections, thermal (infrared) imaging, drone inspections and videography, basic site mapping, mold and indoor air quality testing, radon testing, well flow testing, water analysis, sewer scopes and septic dye testing, among others. A Phase 1 environmental site assessment (ESA), which is often required by commercial lenders, is also available through our environmental engineering consultant. Please click below to learn more about our various commercial services, and we look forward to working with you.

HPI COMMERCIAL SERVICES (CLICK EACH TO LEARN MORE):

The property condition assessment is the on-site inspection we perform at the relevant property, which results in a detailed property condition report (PCR). Prior to the PCA, we gather information related to the property from the initial questionnaire you fill out, interviews with individuals familiar with the property, and other documents and records that may be available. While we perform the inspection based on an established Standards of Practice, you as the client ultimately decide how comprehensive our assessment is. For example, you may need a large hotel inspected, but it may not be practical or possible to inspect every single room when many guests are present. In such a case, we may inspect the building’s exterior, parking area, roof, structure, electrical system, plumbing system, HVAC system(s), life and fire safety measures, elevators, office space and common areas, but we may inspect only a representative and limited number of unoccupied guest rooms. Regardless of the scope, the details of the assessment must be clearly established and agreed upon prior to scheduling and performing the PCA.

Also known as an opinion of cost report, a cost-to-cure report aims to provide crucial cost estimates for necessary immediate repairs uncovered during the property condition assessment, and this report is highly valuable to all of our commercial clients. We calculate costs using current material, labor and equipment prices in the local area, input from our expert team members who all own and operate their own trade-specific businesses, and the most current RSMeans Building Construction Costs Book, which is the most used, quoted and respected unit price guide for building construction estimators across North America. Due to ever-changing and unforeseen economic factors, as well as inevitable price variances among contractors, all cost-to-cure estimates assume a 20% variance.

Also known as a capital reserve study, a reserve analysis or a reserve table, a capital reserve forecast provides longer term (multi-year) estimates for repair, replacement, maintenance or enhancement costs that are likely to arise in the future based on the condition of systems and components at the time of inspection and their average life expectancies. A capital reserve forecast is, therefore, similar to a cost-to-cure report, except for the fact that it aims to predict future costs that should be budgeted over time rather than expenses that demand more prompt and immediate attention. Capital reserves are also geared primarily toward replacement costs for systems or components that have an inherently shorter life expectancy than the building itself, as such items are expected to eventually require replacement. Roofs, parking areas, HVAC systems and appliances are several examples of such items. Given that costs are less easily predicted with precise accuracy as time goes on, the costs listed on a capital reserve forecast should be assumed to have a greater variance the farther out they are into the future. It is, therefore, wise to periodically review the numbers provided and to adjust accordingly.

Also known as a maintenance strategy program or facilities operations budget, a maintenance plan can be thought of as a preventative measure and risk management tool to help offset the burden of high, unexpected expenses resulting from catastrophic repair or replacement costs. When a maintenance plan is ordered, we work with the client to create a tailored plan that includes periodic and more frequent inspections, updated cost estimates and future consulting to stay ahead of a myriad of potential problems. This service will not be needed by all commercial clients but is especially valuable to those who operate a large or complex facility without a designated maintenance supervisor or facilities operations manager on staff.

An insurance pre-loss assessment provides you, the client, with important information upfront about the property’s condition to serve as a baseline for possible future insurance claims before claims arise, while an insurance loss assessment occurs after an incident has already triggered a claim. Pre-loss assessments provide very valuable information for planning purposes, as insurance policies typically do not cover damages resulting from lack of maintenance or normal wear and tear, whereas loss assessments provide information to an insurance adjuster shortly after a claim describing the resulting damage and its apparent cause. Of course, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, which is why we strongly recommend an insurance pre-loss assessment to help mitigate the likelihood of a claim, reduce liability, and protect your bottom line.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seeks to protect the rights of disabled individuals, which includes access to buildings serving the public. ADA is a civil rights law – not a code – and must be adhered to, and many commercial buildings we inspect are lacking in several areas pertaining to ADA compliance which puts them at greater risk of liability. In most cases, we perform a limited ADA survey to ensure general compliance with current ADA requirements.

Safety is paramount with commercial buildings that serve workers and the public, and we thoroughly evaluate each building’s existing life and fire safety measures, as well as occupancy issues, and make recommendations on all commercial property condition reports. 

Also known as a triple net lease inspection, a net-net-net lease assessment or an NNN-lease assessment, this service is provided to commercial tenants who operate under a lease that designates them as responsible for all of the building’s expenses. In such cases, lessees take on more liability and cost, and this assessment allows them to properly document any known deficiencies.

We frequently perform wood-destroying insect inspections to ensure buildings are not structurally compromised by destructive insects like termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees or powderpost beetles. Termites, in particular, can cause significant and costly damage, and most of our commercial clients view a WDI inspection as a must. A WDI report is provided on a form developed by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) known as the NPMA-33 form, and this inspection is often referred to more generically as a “termite” or “pest” inspection.

Using a state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera, we scan the entire property to identify additional deficiencies that may exist but are not detectable by the naked eye. This scan can identify a myriad of possible issues that would otherwise go unnoticed by a visual and non-invasive inspection like slow leaks, excess moisture in concealed spaces, areas of missing insulation, overheated circuit breakers and wiring, pest activity, and more. The camera provides us with an extra set of “eyes,” so to speak, and allows us to provide the most thorough and comprehensive inspection possible using non-invasive and non-destructive methods. We view thermal imaging as a “no-brainer,” and it is one of our most popular add-on services for good reason. Recently, insurance companies have started requiring thermal scans of electrical panels in certain commercial properties, and we can perform this service without scanning the entire building – and for a reduced rate – if you so choose.

Our drones are among our most valuable and important tools and are put to use at nearly all commercial inspections. Aerial photography and videography assists greatly with identifying deficiencies with roofs, rooftop HVAC units (RTUs) and other roof-mounted systems and components that may not be readily accessible, and drones also assist with site mapping to provide a clear view of the entire property. While a drone is used during nearly all property condition assessments, we offer exterior videos of commercial properties that many of our clients find very valuable for a small, additional fee.

Countless lawsuits are filed every year because of mold exposure to occupants, which is one reason why mold and indoor air quality testing is crucial. Mold and fungal growth exists to some extent in nearly all buildings, and there is no way to know the types and quantities in the air apart from testing. Even buildings that appear in generally good condition and dry often contain surprisingly high quantities of harmful mold and fungal spores in the air, which could pose a risk to occupants or members of the public, and mold/IAQ testing is a service we strongly recommend to all commercial clients.

Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas and is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking. Pennsylvania, in particular, has some of the highest average radon levels in the country, and testing is the only way to know the average radon level in a building. If we conduct a radon test and identify an elevated average level, mitigation is fortunately a rather simple and often inexpensive process.

This test pertains only to properties served by a private water supply (a well or spring) and is intended to verify a sufficient supply of water from the source, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), as well as consistent pressure and flow over a longer period of time. We’ve inspected a number of commercial properties in rural areas where the well has run dry after a surprisingly short period, and this is absolutely not the type of deficiency you would want to discover exists after taking possession. Depending on the lender, this test may be required prior to closing.

Like a well flow test, a water analysis is generally only recommended for properties served by a private water supply. Unlike public water that is treated, the water from a well or spring can possess a number of contaminants that could pose a potential health hazard to workers and the public, and having the water professionally sampled and then tested by a certified laboratory is a wise safety precaution and a way to determine what treatment equipment (if any) may need to be installed. Our water analysis tests for contaminants based on guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and includes bacteria (Coliform and E. coli), nitrates and nitrites, total dissolved solids (TDS), lead and pH. Depending on the lender, this test may be required prior to closing.

For buildings served by public sewer, a sewer camera/lateral video inspection is highly recommended to ensure no damage, offsets, blockages, root intrusion, low points or other problems exist that could lead to hazardous and costly repairs, and this is particularly important with older buildings that may contain outdated and deteriorated drain/waste piping. This is one of our most frequently requested add-on services, and most of our clients require a sewer scope to truly feel at ease before purchasing. While not all inspection or testing services need to be performed often, a sewer scope should be completed fairly regularly for all commercial buildings containing restrooms that are used very frequently.

For properties with an on-lot septic system, as opposed to public sewer, the importance of a septic dye test goes without saying. Septic systems are the sole responsibility of the owner, costly to install and repair, and prone to causing an environmental hazard if problems arise. A dye test is one of several ways to determine the proper working function of a system, although it is not a substitute for more invasive inspections that can provide other important, additional information. Like well flow testing and water analysis, this test may be required depending on the lender.

Often required by commercial lenders, a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is ideally performed at any commercial site prior to purchase, improvement or rezoning. The purpose of this assessment is to determine if the property may be at risk of contamination from current or prior activities, nearby properties, chemicals, equipment or other factors that could drastically increase the owner’s liability by threatening a negative impact on the environment. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), building owners are responsible for environmental hazards that may arise, regardless of prior knowledge, unless due diligence (referred to as “all appropriate inquiries”) was exercised prior to purchase. Given this fact and the potential for significant liability, a Phase 1 ESA is strongly recommended whether one is required or not. If a Phase 1 ESA determines that a current or potential hazard exists, a Phase 2 ESA will be recommended for on-site testing and deeper evaluation. Inspectors on the HPI team do not perform the Phase 1 ESA, but we coordinate with our consulting environmental engineer to provide this important risk management service.

SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU ORDER?

The answer to this question will vary from one property to the next and will depend largely on the property’s size, design, age, utilities and use, as well as budgeting considerations and requirements from other parties. However, we recommend that at minimum all commercial inspections include a thermal imaging scan, a sewer scope and a mold/IAQ test in addition to the PCA and PCR (including a cost-to-cure report and capital reserve forecast). A WDI inspection is also recommended if the building’s structure is comprised of wood rather than masonry or steel. If the property is served by a private water supply and on-lot septic system, we also strongly recommend a well flow test, a water analysis and a septic dye test. Lastly, if you are a tenant leasing a property under an NNN-lease, we recommend a triple net lease assessment to protect your interests.

OUR EXPERT TEAM
(CLICK EACH TO LEARN MORE)

Our owner, Steve, is our lead commercial inspector and holds the prestigious designation of Certified Master Inspector (CMI), which is the highest credential attainable in the industry. He is a well known and respected commercial property inspector in PA, as well as in neighboring states we service (Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia) and is also a PA-DEP certified radon testing individual (#3311), a certified mold testing professional (IAC2-07-9684), an FAA certified remote pilot (#4233086), a PA certified pesticide applicator (#550133), and a veteran of the Army JAG Corps. Steve is personally at all of our commercial inspections, while most of the members of our commercial team (excluding John) function primarily as consultants and assist in assessing properties on-site as needed.
John is an ASHI Certified Inspector and the owner of Safe-Buy HI, another reputable and highly rated inspection company based out of Indiana, PA. Next to Steve, John is our commercial team member who is most frequently on-site at commercial inspections. John is an experienced and expert commercial and residential inspector, a PA-DEP certified radon tester (#2550), and adept at performing sewer camera/lateral video inspections. Like Steve, John is also capable of performing wood-destroying insect inspections, water analysis, well flow tests, septic dye tests, drone inspections and thermal imaging, and he and Steve function as a cohesive pair to provide the crucial assessment and testing services our commercial clients require and deserve.
Owen is a structural and civil engineer and the owner of Laurel Highlands Structural Consulting, LLC. With over 33 years of experience working as a consulting engineer in the public and private sectors, Owen has a diverse background and has been involved with a multitude of projects ranging from small assignments (< $1,000) to large (> $10,000,000) civil projects. Owen graduated with high honors from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Civil Engineering Technology and has spent most of his career as an Engineering Manager and/or Lead Engineer for multi-disciplined engineering firms responsible for buildings, bridges and inspection related projects, while also serving previously as a County Engineer for nearly 25 years. His expertise includes structural steel, concrete, wood and masonry design aspects, building condition assessments and adaptive reuse studies, local bridge replacements and rehabilitations, NBIS inspection contracts for bridges and sign structures, dam safety inspections, insurance claim investigations, expert witness reports and testimony, and construction management. Owen is also a PennDOT Certified Bridge Safety Inspector and is passionate about motivating and mentoring the next generation of STEM students.
When it comes to HVAC knowledge and experience, Ryan is truly the best of the best. From the young age of 13, Ryan has been working in the HVAC trade and founded HVAC Experts, LLC in 2007, and he has performed commercial and residential HVAC installation and service in all types of buildings. His list of credentials is staggering and includes NC certifications as a Heating Group 1, 2 and 3 Contractor, an Unlimited Electrical Contractor, a Refrigeration Contractor, and a Residential Plumbing Contractor. He also holds NC licenses as a General Contractor and Home Inspector and serves as the Lead Mechanical Inspector for Alamance County, NC with a background as a mechanical, electrical, plumbing, building and fire inspector. Ryan serves as an Adjunct Professor at Alamance Community College, where he graduated himself with an AAS in HVAC Technology, teaching NC Mechanical Inspector State Certification classes and is an HVAC troubleshooting expert for JustAnswer, an online platform pairing answer seekers with industry experts.
Mark is a master electrician, a Marine veteran, and the owner of MH Electric, headquartered in Hollidaysburg, PA. MH Electric is a full service electrical company with an in-house electrical inspector, and Mark and his team frequently handle repairs, installations and upgrades at commercial and industrial properties containing complex systems.

https://www.mhelectricservices.com
Bob is a master plumber and the owner of Eppihimer Home Maintenance Management, Inc.  He is also an OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer and is well versed in worker safety standards. While Bob is adept at a variety of construction related tasks, plumbing is his forte. Given the prevalence of plumbing and safety issues that exist at many of the commercial properties we inspect, Bob is an invaluable member of the HPI consulting team.

https://ehmmwork.com
Stephen is the owner of Bigfoot Construction, headquartered in Somerset, PA. Stephen’s construction experience is vast, and he and his crew are especially well known for roofing (including all types of commercial roofing systems), timber framing, and exterior work. The importance of a building’s roof and cladding goes without saying, and commercial properties demand the expertise of a specialist like Stephen who – along with the Bigfoot team – has seen and done it all when it comes to the “shells” of commercial structures.

https://www.bigfootconstruction.net
Josh is the owner of Central Roof Coatings and specializes in UniFlex fluid applied silicone and elastomeric roof coatings that are fully adhered and seamless to maximize durability, savings, heat resistance, energy efficiency, lower temperatures, and reduced disruption to occupants. Josh has over 30 years of experience in the commercial and residential construction industries and is a UniFlex certified installer. Coatings are often a practical and cost-saving option for commercial and industrial buildings that may not require full roof replacement, and Josh and the CRC team are masters in their specialized and in-demand field.

https://www.centralroofcoatings.com
The highly qualified Markosky team provides an array of environmental and engineering services and has a wide footprint with offices in Ligonier, PA (main), York, PA, Steubenville, OH and Charleston, WV. Markosky proudly focuses on sustainability and preservation and boasts a team of top-notch engineers to achieve a wide variety of crucial tasks. As an HPI consultant, the Markosky group primarily handles all Phase 1 ESAs required or requested as part of our commercial inspections.

https://www.markosky.com
Shawn is the owner of Innovative Insulation & Home Improvement LLC, a leading insulation company headquartered in Windber, PA. Shawn’s company is truly “innovative” as the name suggests, and they specialize in installation of closed cell spray foam, as well as regular and stabilized cellulose. Shawn and his crew are constantly busy installing insulation at commercial and residential properties, and Shawn’s knowledge about insulation and building science is second to none. Energy efficiency is a crucial factor with any building but is particularly important in large commercial properties that use significant amounts of fuel to operate and maintain optimal comfort and air quality, and Shawn is without question the go-to expert in this area.

https://insulate.house

COMMERCIAL PRICING & SCHEDULING

The cost for our commercial inspections can vary quite a bit, depending on each property. Unlike residential homes, commercial buildings often contain a number of complex systems and massive variances in size and design, so we naturally price commercial inspections based on each individual property. Furthermore, one building may contain separate types of space which we classify differently based on our tier model (see above). For example, a factory may contain several large, open bays classified as Tier 1 (T1) and other office spaces classified as Tier 2 (T2). Likewise, a restaurant classified as T3 may exist beneath flex space classified as T2. In such cases, pricing is based on the rate per square foot for each space as determined by its classification.

After gathering information about the subject property from the client and other sources, we put together a detailed proposal itemizing each fee and anticipated timeframes, and we send that proposal over promptly for your review. Once you’ve had a chance to review the proposal and provide information on our questionnaire, we discuss the scope of the job and answer any questions you may have prior to scheduling. This is also your opportunity to let us know which additional services you would like performed beyond the property condition assessment and resulting report, and our proposal will detail the additional costs associated with each of those optional services. Once you have agreed to the proposal and specified all services you’d like performed, we add you to our schedule for a date and time that works for all parties and begin conducting additional research prior to performing the PCA.

Despite the fact that every commercial property must be priced individually, we do have prices published as guidelines which appear below. However, there are a few important considerations to note: 

1) If any of our consulting team members, aside from Steve or John, is required to visit the property on-site or provide information as an expert consultant – whether the need for their expertise is known before or after the property condition assessment – an additional fee will be charged for their services. If such fees are deemed to be warranted after beginning or completing the on-site PCA, they will not be included in the initial proposal and must be paid for promptly after the proposal total has already been paid.

For example, you may agree to the proposal and pay the proposal fee before your inspection, but we may encounter a complicated fire suppression system with a few apparent issues while performing our PCA that warrants input or even a separate visit from our expert consultant. In this case, any fees owed to the consultant will be billed separately, and any additional on-site work that may be deemed necessary will be scheduled after our initial assessment.

2) Cost-to-cure reports are provided with all PCRs ordered at the mid and upper price points for each tier, while both a cost-to-cure report and capital reserve forecast are provided with all PCRs ordered at the upper price point for each tier. The base rate without either of these important options is 10 cents/sf for Tier 1, 12.5 cents/sf for Tier 2 and 15 cents/sf for Tier 3, but nearly all of our property condition reports are ordered at the upper price point and include both of these services to assist with vital budgeting and planning efforts.

3) Your pre-inspection agreement must be signed prior to us visiting the property, while payment is generally due on the date of inspection and must be made prior to us releasing any reports, and both of these tasks can easily be completed online using links in your initial confirmation email.

4) Due to timing and travel constraints, radon testing is only available for properties within a 50-mile radius of Windber, PA or Indiana, PA where our certified testers Steve and John are headquartered. If you require radon testing and are located beyond this maximum distance, you are encouraged to find another certified radon testing professional in your local area, and we are happy to help you locate one if needed.

5) If an inspection requires overnight travel for one or more nights or driving beyond a 50-mile distance from where we are headquartered, additional fees will be added to the inspection price in the initial proposal to help cover travel expenses for each HPI team member traveling to the site. However, we make it a point to keep these costs as reasonable as possible.

BASIC COST GUIDE

PCA/PCR: Minimum fee of $750

Tier 1: 10 – 15 cents per square foot 
Tier 2: 12.5 – 17.5 cents per square foot
Tier 3: 15 – 20 cents per square foot 

Cost-to-Cure Report: 

Tier 1: Included at 12 cents/sf rate
Tier 2: Included at 14.5 cents/sf rate
Tier 3: Included at 17 cents/sf rate

Capital Reserve Forecast: 

Tier 1: Included at 15 cents/sf rate
Tier 2: Included at 17.5 cents/sf rate
Tier 3: Included at 20 cents/sf rate

Insurance Loss Assessment: $225/hr
Insurance Pre-loss Assessment: $250/hr
WDI (Termite) Inspection: $175 per 5,000 sf
Thermal Imaging Scan: $75 per 2,500 sf
Drone Site Video: $150 + $50 per building
Mold/IAQ Testing: $125 per sample (min. 3)
Radon Testing: $200 per building
Well Flow Testing: $150 per well 
Water Analysis: $250 + $1/mi beyond 50
Sewer Scope: $275 per relevant building
Septic Dye Testing: $175 per septic system

Note: An additional fee of $50 per 2,500 square feet is charged for structures built before 1950

COMMERCIAL WALK-THROUGH CONSULTATIONS

Tier 1 Space: $200 per 5,000 sf

Tier 2 Space: $250 per 5,000 sf

Tier 3 Space: $300 per 5,000 sf

In rare cases, clients may opt to have us perform a walk-through (AKA “walk and talk”) consultation to identify major deficiencies at a commercial property in lieu of a traditional inspection. It is crucial, however, to understand the differences between these two options. First, deficiencies are communicated only verbally during a walk-through consultation, and no written report, photos, videos or other visual information is provided. Second, the walk-through is a more cursory assessment and is not conducted in accordance with an established Standards of Practice. Third, while most ancillary services are still offered with a walk-through, cost-to-cure reports and capital reserve forecasts are only available with a traditional report that is provided in writing. 

Due to the much simpler nature of a walk-through consultation, the cost of a walk-through is lower than a traditional PCA/PCR; but the cost savings is the only benefit when compared to the standard option we recommend, and a traditional inspection is what nearly all commercial clients opt to have done. A walk-through may be sufficient for an existing business in a small, newer building that is merely in need of a periodic assessment and has a solid maintenance plan in place, but it is not the preferred option even in that case and is never advisable in any other situation. A walk-through is certainly better than no inspection at all, but the lower cost of a walk-through can never outweigh the value of a traditional assessment and a comprehensive report. Should you decide that a walk-through consultation is sufficient to meet your needs, the pricing for this service is as follows. However, the minimum fee for a commercial walk-through consultation is $500 regardless of the property’s size.