Tips for Springtime Building Inspections

With the arrival of spring, it’s time for building owners and operators, as well as their residents, to inspect and perform maintenance on their facilities and homes. Especially after such a severe winter with several dramatic temperature swings in the last few weeks, it’s especially important to check any area where the rapid thermal constriction of materials and the heaving of pavement from the deep freeze of the ground should be given special attention.

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of items we recommend you include in your springtime checklist. The discovery of failed and faulty construction, non-code compliant conditions, and inadequate or underperforming building systems are potential liability issues that can affect the success of any real estate investment.

  • HVAC – Perform a visual check of unit clearances and cleanliness. Remove debris. If the cold weather is lingering, make sure hazardous icicles are cleared away and can’t fall on condensing units, possibly damaging the coil, fan blades or fan motor.
  • Boiler, Radiators – Schedule routine service, prepare system for summer inactivity.
  • Roof & Chimneys – Visually inspect for damage. Inspect vents for damage and bird/pest nests. Examine gutters and downspouts for debris and potential ice damage.
  • Façade – Visually inspect brick, stone, siding, paint, grout, caulk, and putty.
  • Doors & Windows – Check caulking for decay and shrinkage. Remove and replace caulk as needed. Inspect and mend screens.
  • Foundation – Inspect for any cracks or shifting, inside and out.
  • Landscape – Clear out landscaped areas of debris, and trim shrubs or stray branches that have grown over into patios or pathways. Test sprinklers and irrigation systems, set timers for the warm season. Check for and clear tree branches within several feet of the building, the roof, power lines, and public right-of-way. Check entire fence perimeter for damage, openings, and functioning gates and locks. If exposed to moisture and ice over the winter, these moving parts could have been damaged. Make sure all private and municipal drainage systems are free of debris.
  • Pavement – Inspect driveway, sidewalks and other finished walkways. Due to this winter’s significant deep freeze, heaving of pavement may have caused new cracks or widened existing cracks, creating or making worse some ADA access compliance issues due to increased height differentials in pavement sections Check and repair cracks, and fill potholes in private driveways and parking areas. Supplement dirt or gravel paths with pea gravel or other base to remedy bare or muddy areas.
  • Wood Balconies, Decks – Inspect structure, wash down decking and railings, and seal as needed.
  • Lighting – Check yard, parking areas, building exterior, gangways, alleys and any other public spaces for unlit areas. Test all motion sensing fixtures, and adjust timers for Daylight Savings Time. Replace fixtures and bulbs as necessary.
  • Laundry Facilities – Inspect all washers and dryers and clean lint that accumulates beyond the screens both inside the machines and inside ductwork.
  • Attic / Mechanical Penthouse – check for leaks, condensation, mildew, or pests.
  • Fire Protection System – Test building-wide system, replace batteries in battery-powered units.