Commercial clients are typically more knowledgeable about building system maintenance and repair than homeowners, and my commercial narratives are written accordingly.
The Commercial Master Template contains informational, limitation, and deficiency narratives. Only deficiency narratives are included on this page. The following represents only a small percentage of the titles and narratives found in the Commercial Master Template:


Topography and Drainage

Localized erosion

Localized areas of erosion were observed indicating a need for improved drainage control in these areas.


Landscape Irrigation

No response: some zones

Some zones of the landscape irrigation system did not respond to the controls.


Landscaping and Appurtenances

(Exterior lighting) Inoperable lights: building mounted, some

Some building-mounted exterior light fixtures  were inoperable. If after the bulbs have been replaced lighting is still inoperable a problem may exist with the fixture, wiring, or switch.


Turfgrass: deterioration: moderate/severe

Turfgrass lawns exhibited widespread moderate to severe deterioration.


(Retaining wall) Moderate failure: leaning

A retaining wall showed signs of moderate failure such as leaning out at the top. Unless action is taken for stabilization, gradual failure will continue.



Moderate weathering

An exterior staircase exhibited moderate general weathering commensurate with the age of the building. Good maintenance practices will maximize the lifespan of this staircase.


(Risers) Excessive height difference

At the exterior staircase, the greatest riser height exceeded the lowest riser height by more than the maximum 3/8-inch allowed by modern safety standards. This condition is a potential trip hazard.



(Apron Surface Condition) Deterioration: moderate/severe

Apron pavement exhibited general moderate deterioration with areas of severe deterioration.


(Apron Surface Condition). No landing pad

Damage to the apron surface in the parking areas appeared to be due to lack of a landing pad designed to resist the additional wear caused by the landing gear of detached trailers.


(Stormwater Drainage)  Broken grates

Trench drains installed at loading docks to drain stormwater had broken grates that should be repaired or replaced to prevent drain system blockage by debris.


(Stormwater Drainage)  Evidence of pooling

Stains and/or sediment accumulation at the loading dock approach area indicated poor drainage. This condition will result in accelerated deterioration at these areas.


(Trailer Restraints) Trailer separation devices in disrepair

Loading dock trailer restraints were in disrepair and needed service.


(Trailer separation devices in disrepair #)

At dock number(s) _____, trailer restraints were in disrepair and needed service.


(Dock Seals)  Deterioration: severe

Dock door seals exhibited severe damage/deterioration. This condition will result in a poor seal and will allow air/heat/moisture movement around the sealed entry during loading/unloading operations.


(Dock Doors)  Damage: severe, operable

Some dock doors were severely damaged but operable.


Doors: inoperable #

Dock doors were inoperable at dock number(s) ____.


(Dock Levelers/ Plates/ Boards)  Inoperable dock levelers #

Dock levelers were inoperable at numbers ____.


(Dock Levelers/ Plates/ Boards) 

No readily accessible dock boards or dock plates were present. Dock boards and plates are important loading accessories used when truck/trailer beds do not flush adequately with the deck of the loading dock.


(Safety Markings)  Inadequate pedestrian signage

Approaches to the loading dock area lacked adequate signage warning pedestrians of the presence of active loading equipment. Warning signs should be installed in a manner compliant with applicable regulations or best safety practice.


(Dock Lighting)  Loading dock inadequate lighting

The loading docks were inadequately illuminated. For safety reasons, additional lighting should be installed to comply with applicable regulations or best safety practice.



(Storm Water Drainage) Standing water

Portions of the parking lots were covered in standing water. This condition indicates inadequate lot drainage that may result in an accelerated rate of surface deterioration and other problems related to flooding during storm events.


Poor lighting

The parking lot lighting was sub-standard.


(signage). Directional signs missing

The parking lot was missing directional signs designed to indicate the proper flow of traffic. Directional signs should be installed at proper locations to facilitate the safe flow of traffic.


Specialized Parking)  No handicap spaces

The parking lot had no designated handicap parking spots marked. To comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, handicap parking spots would need to be properly located, designated, and clearly marked.


(Surfacing) Overall asphalt: fair to poor

Overall the hard surface parking, paving, and curbs were in fair to poor condition, showing significant wear and deterioration. The surface exhibited cracking, chipping, spalling, and settling  influenced by pavement thermal expansion and contraction, weather, and vehicle traffic. Multiple patching and past overlays were observed. Budget for mill, overlay, and striping.


Landscaping blocks view

Landscaping near parking lot traffic aisle intersections interfered with drivers view of approaching traffic. This condition increases the chance of accidents. Such landscaping should be removed or replaced with landscaping that allows for drivers to have a clear view of approaching traffic.




Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings

The finished basement did not have means of egress compliant with modern safety standards for structures with basements larger than 200 square feet or basements with sleeping rooms. If the basement stairway were to be blocked by fire, this condition may hinder or prevent building occupants from escaping, or firefighters gaining entry. Emergency escape & rescue openings compliant with modern safety standards should be installed.



(Concrete Foundation Walls)  Corrosion spalling/exposed rebar

At the inside of the concrete foundation walls, severe spalling left corroded rebar exposed. Structural analysis should be performed by a structural engineer to confirm that safe conditions exist.


Cracks, mid-wall, horizontal, severe

A poured concrete foundation wall exhibited severe horizontal mid-wall cracking. This condition should be evaluated by a structural engineer or qualified foundation contractor to determine the cause, likelihood of continuing foundation damage, and options and costs for any needed work.


Efflorescence: walls, moderate

Moderate amounts of efflorescence was visible at the interior of some of the foundation walls. Efflorescence is a white, powdery residue left by moisture seeping through the foundation wall and its presence indicates high moisture levels in soil near the foundation. Excessively high moisture levels in soil supporting the foundation can cause various structural problems related to soil movement. The source of moisture should be identified and corrected.


(Brick Foundation Walls)  Deterioration: moisture, extensive

Brick foundation walls had extensive deterioration that appeared to be the result of  moisture intrusion from the exterior. The moisture source should be identified and corrected to avoid continuing deterioration.


(CMU Foundation Walls)  Cracking, stepped, moderate

Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) foundation walls had moderate stepped cracking visible in mortar joints. Cracking should be patched to avoid freeze damage and the cause of cracking should be determined and corrected as necessary. This condition should be evaluated by a foundation contractor to more accurately determine the cause, likelihood of continuing foundation damage, and options and costs for any needed work.



(Cone of Compression)  Cone of compression violated: failure noted

In the underfloor space, signs of failure were observed that appeared to be connected to digging too close to the foundation footings. This has compromised the Cone of Compression, which is the area of soil beneath a foundation that supports the weight of the foundation and the structure above. The profile of the weight-bearing soil beneath the foundation is roughly cone-shaped, sloping down and out from the bottom corners of the foundation footing at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. This condition can lead to undermining of the foundation and loss of foundation support leading to structural failure in the affected areas. You should consult with a foundation contractor to discuss the need- and costs- for stabilization.


Joists, mold, elevated moisture levels

Floor joists in the crawlspace had areas covered with a substance resembling mold. This condition indicates excessively high humidity levels in the crawlspace. Moisture meter testing indicated elevated moisture levels in floor framing, indicating that the source of moisture is recent or ongoing. To help prevent the development of unhealthy conditions related to microbial growth, efforts should be made to identify and mitigate the source of moisture.


Extension cord as permanent wiring

Power to the sump pump was supplied by an extension cord. This condition is a potential fire hazard. Permanent wiring should be installed.



Extensive spalling, de-bonded, cut rebar

At the underside of the concrete floor structure, extensive areas of severe spalling with heavily corroded, de-bonded rebar, were visible. Some sections of de-bonded rebar and been removed by cutting. Structural analysis of the floor structure should be performed by an engineer to confirm that safe conditions exist.


Cracking, staining & spalling

Cracking, staining, and spalling was visible on the underside of the concrete floor structure. This condition is typically the result of moisture seeping through concrete. To avoid more serious damage, the source of moisture should be identified and corrected.



(Adjustable steel posts) Temporary posts used as permanent

Adjustable steel posts used as permanent support for the main floor structure were a type designed for temporary support. The temporary posts should be replaced with posts designed for permanent support and should bear on an adequate footing.


Beam pocket: significant decay

A wood beam supporting the main floor structure exhibited significant decay where it rested in a pocket in a foundation wall. This condition reduces the beam's ability to support the structural loads it was designed to carry. It will worsen unless the source of moisture causing decay is identified and corrected. The beam end should be evaluated by qualified personnel to ensure that sufficient residual strength remains.


Beam notches/boring improper

Floor structure support beams were improperly notched /bored in a manner that reduced their structural integrity. Floor structure support beams have specific notching/boring location and dimension limitations.  This condition should be evaluated by qualified personnel to ensure that sufficient residual strength remains.


Floor framing cut

Floor structure framing had been cut. This condition has reduced the structural integrity of the cut framing to a degree requiring repair or replacement.


Joists: improper splices

Some joists in the main floor structure were improperly spliced. This condition may reduce the strength of this framing member to an unacceptable level. An evaluation and any necessary work should be performed by qualified personnel.



Rafters: improperly spliced

Some rafters that were not continuous from top to bottom had been improperly spliced. A contractor evaluation should be performed and repairs/corrections made as necessary.


Roof framing: broken, damaged, or missing

Roof framing members that were broken, damaged, or missing, may affect the structural integrity of the roof. A contractor evaluation should be performed and repairs/corrections made as necessary.


(Overframe)  No sleepers

Rafters of the overframe rested directly on- and were fastened to- the sheathing of the supporting roof. Overframe rafters should not bear on sheathing, but on framing members (often called "sleepers") laid flat on the supporting roof that are typically nailed to the rafters of the supporting roof, forming a connection between the overframe and supporting roof that is highly resistant to uplift, and that provides adequate load-bearing.



Structurally altered

Roof trusses that had been structurally altered were visible in the attic. Trusses must never be structurally altered without design, inspection and approval by a structural engineer. Ask the seller for documentation showing that any alterations to the roof trusses were designed, inspected and approved by a structural engineer. If no such documentation is available, have the trusses evaluated by a structural engineer.


Connections inadequate

Roof truss components appeared to be inadequately connected. A contractor evaluation should be performed and action taken as necessary.



Steel trusses out of hangers

Steel roof trusses had separated from their supporting hangers and were no longer supporting the roof load. This condition should be corrected in a manner that will prevent similar problems in the future.


(Steel Roof Deck)  Unsupported penetrations

Penetrations cut in the steel roof deck had not been adequately reinforced and may need additional supports installed. Confirmation would require a qualified contractor or the services of a structural engineer.


Corrosion: severe, long-term leakage

The steel roof deck exhibited areas of severe corrosion indicating long-term roof system leakage. To avoid potential weakening of the roof structure, any areas of active leakage should be identified and corrected.



(Manufactured Stone)  Inadequate clearance grade 4"

Manufactured stone covering portions of the exterior walls did not have the industry-recommended 4-inch (102 mm) minimum clearance from grade.


(Brick) Damage: above and below windows

The brick exterior walls had damage visible above and below windows that should be repaired before it develops into more serious damage.


Lintel corrosion: significant

Steel lintels installed to support brick above door or window openings had significant corrosion that has affected the wall structure. Further damage will occur unless this condition is corrected.



Brick exterior walls had efflorescence visible in areas. Efflorescence is evidence of moisture moving thorough the brick. Some types of brick can suffer damage from this condition. The source of moisture should be identified and corrected and efflorescence removed.


(Composite Siding)  No expansion gaps at opening trim- OK

No expansion gaps were left where siding butted vertical trim. Composite siding manufacturers recommend that a 3/16 inch (4.7 mm) gap be left at areas where siding meets vertical trim to allow for siding expansion with changes in temperature. No problems connected with this condition were observed.


(Stucco)  Thermal cracking: moderate

The stucco covering exterior walls showed widespread moderate cracking. This type of cracking, called "thermal cracking" is common as stucco ages. It can be expected to continue slowly over time. Minor cracks are a cosmetic concern. Cracks wider than 1/16 inch should be filed with an appropriate product.




(Built-up Roof) Anchor bar pulled loose 

Where the built-up roof membrane terminated at a wall, the termination (anchor) bar had pulled loose.


Flood coat: craze cracking, severe

The flood coat of the built-up roof exhibited severe craze cracking that may affect its ability to protect the structure. You should consult with a roofing contractor to discuss the best course of action.


(Modified Bitumen)  Flashing: base, no cant strip

Base flashing at a *location* had no cant strip installed. Base flashing installed at a 90 degree angle will crack prematurely and allow moisture intrusion. The roof should be inspected on an annual basis and the base flashing replaced before cracking results in damage from roof leakage.


(EPDM)  Blisters: isolated up to 18”

The EPDM roof membrane exhibited blisters ranging up to approximately 18 inches in diameter in various portions of the roof. Unless they are damaged, repairing blisters is often not recommended both for warranty reasons and because the repair may increase the chances of roof leakage.


(TPO)  Deterioration: exposure to a heat source

Visible deterioration of the TPO membrane appeared to be the result of long-term exposure to excessive heat from _____. Identification of the source of deterioration lies beyond the scope of this assessment. A contractor evaluation should be performed and changes made as necessary.


(PVC)  Damage: condensate

Damage near a rooftop unit appeared to be from discharge or leakage of condensate onto the PVC roof membrane. The rooftop unit should be serviced and membrane damage repaired as necessary.


(SPF)  Curb: less than 8"

Where the SPF roof membrane terminated at an equipment support curb, there was less than the 8-inch minimum vertical clearance between the top of the roof membrane and the top of the curb.



Cap flashing loose

Cap flashing protecting the *Location* was loose and should be made secure before it can suffer wind damage.


No reglet, sealant only

The upper edge of counter-flashing at the *Location* was protected by sealant instead of terminating in a reglet. The sealant was cracked and will allow moisture intrusion. Counter-flashing should have maintenance performed as necessary.


(Roof Edge)  Membrane/flashing separation

The roof membrane had failed to fully adhere to metal flashing at the roof edge.  Gaps between the roofing material and the metal flashing were visible at these areas. This condition should be corrected to avoid damage from roof leakage.



Ponding: active, poor drain placement

Water ponded on the roof appeared to have been caused by poor drain placement. Long-term ponding has the potential to cause permanent/worsening deflection of the roof structure. Corrective action should be taken.


(Primary Internal Roof Drains)  Missing strainer

Primary roof drains were missing dome strainers. This condition can result in blockages of the drain pipes (leaders). The roof drains should be serviced immediately, and leaders flushed as necessary.


(Overflow Drains)  Overflow drains too high

Roof overflow drains were installed too far above the primary roof drains. This condition could result in significant damage or catastrophic failure of the roof structure and should be corrected immediately.


(Leaders)  Primary/secondary shared leader

Primary and secondary roof drain leaders converged to single, shared vertical leaders. In many jurisdictions because of the potential danger caused by the development of leader blockage, overflow and primary drains must have separate leaders. Diligence should be exercised in having leaders inspected and flushed as necessary. A better solution would be to have separate leaders installed.



(Asphalt Shingle)  Craze-cracking: moderate

The asphalt composition shingle roof had visible widespread moderate random hairline cracking which was not continuous through the shingle but was limited to the upper-most layer of asphalt. This condition, called "craze cracking", is common in lower quality shingles and seldom develops into functional damage before the expiration of the shingle warranty.


(Clay Tile) No bird stop

At the lower roof edge, no device was installed to prevent birds, insects and other pests from entering the space beneath the tile. Some type of closure device should be installed that will prevent pest entry, but will allow drainage of any runoff that enters the space beneath the tile.


(Concrete Tile)  Inadequate headlap

Concrete roof tile was installed with inadequate headlap (inadequate overlap of tiles in adjacent courses). The typical headlap required is 3 inches. This condition increases the chances of roof leakage. Unless leakage was widespread and connected with this condition, correction would be cost prohibitive.


(Stone Slate)  Headlap inadequate

Slates were installed with an inadequate headlap. Modern slate installation standards specify that roofs at this pitch have a ____ -inch headlap. "Headlap" is the amount by which slates in alternate (not adjacent) courses overlap each other. Inadequate headlap increases the chance of roof leakage. Correction would require removal and reinstallation of the entire roof. The number of slates slates now installed on the roof would be insufficient for complete reinstallation with a proper headlap. 


(Wood Shakes)  Curling, widespread/moderate- OK

The wood shake roof-covering material exhibited widespread moderate curling. Shake curling is common. It is often cause by placing fasteners too high or too far from the edge, and although it appears as if it would cause roof leakage, it seldom does. Shakes appeared to be adequately protecting the structure.


(Vents)  Stack vent boot damaged

The rubber boot at a roof plumbing vent pipe flashing was damaged and may allow roof leakage. The flashing should be replaced.


Combustion vent: flashing none, sealant only

No flashing was installed at a combustion exhaust vent. The roof sealant used to seal the penetration will fail much sooner than metal flashing and will need to be examined annually and re-applied as needed. A better solution would be installation of proper flashing.



Coping sections missing

Sections of the parapet wall coping were missing in areas. Missing coping should be replaced to avoid moisture intrusion of the wall that can cause deterioration of wall materials.


Efflorescence: failed coping

Efflorescence visible at the base of the parapet exterior is typically caused by failed coping. Failed coping should be repaired to prevent deterioration of the wall exterior from exposure to moisture seepage.



(Supply/Distribution Pipes) Support: dissimilar metal hangers, copper

Copper water distribution pipes were hung from hardware made from a metal other than copper. This condition has resulted in galvanic corrosion of the copper pipes that- if not corrected- will cause premature failure of the pipes that will require their replacement.


(TPR Discharge)  1 discharge serves multiple valves

This water heater temperature/pressure relief (TPR) discharge pipe served multiple TPR valves. This condition is improper and potentially unsafe.



(Furnace)  Loose/displaced burner

The furnace burner assembly was loose or displaced and required service.


In number(s) ____, the furnace burner assembly was loose or displaced and required service.


Residential AC (split system) Old, functional, past design life

The air-conditioning system was old, appeared to be past the mid-point of its design life but was functioning as designed. A system at this point in its lifespan might need replacement at any time.


The air-conditioning system of number(s) ____ was old, appeared to be past the mid-point of its design life but was functional at the time of the inspection. A system at this point in its lifespan might need replacement at any time.


HVAC Packaged Units

(Electrical Power)  Blower motor amperage draw excessive

At this rooftop unit (RTU) measurement of the blower motor amperage draw resulted in an amperage reading that exceeded 110% of the data plate listed RLA (rated load amperage). This condition indicates possible worn bearings or other mechanical issues. An evaluation should be performed by an HVAC contractor to more accurately determine the condition of the RTU.


(Economizer)  Intake near combustion exhaust

The outside air (OSA) intake for this rooftop unit (RTU) was located near a combustion exhaust vent. This condition may result in the toxic products of combustion being introduced into indoor air. Correction should be made as necessary.


(Curbs) Roof/no curb

This rooftop unit (RTU) rested directly on the roof surface. This condition is improper. The unit should be supported by a curb.


Cooling Tower

Circulation pump: severe corrosion, no leakage

Although the cooling tower circulation pump exhibited severe corrosion indicating past leakage, the Field Observer noted no active leakage.


(Fill)  Deformed, fouling, replace

Cooling tower fill media had deformed from its original shape, indicating fouling to a degree that typically requires fill replacement.


(Vibration Isolators).  Vibration isolators installed, rigid connections exist

Although vibration isolators were installed, some components were connected to both the cooling tower and the building with rigid connections. This condition greatly increases the chances of connection failure. Such components should be connected with flexible connections.


Fan motor: noise excessive

A cooling tower fan motor made excessive noise during operation. This condition should be evaluated and work performed as necessary.



Single Phase

Circuit directory: illegible

The Circuit Directory label identifying individual circuits at the service panel was illegible. The service panel should contain a clearly-marked label identifying individual circuits so that in an emergency, individual circuits can be quickly shut off. A properly-marked Circuit Directory label should be installed.


In number(s) ____, the circuit directory label identifying individual circuits at the electrical distribution panel was illegible. Panels should each contain a clearly-marked label identifying individual circuits so that in an emergency, they can be quickly shut off. Properly-marked circuit directory labels should be installed as necessary.


(Distribution Panel)  Improper termination

Wires in this electrical distribution panel were improperly terminated. This condition should be corrected for safety reasons.


In the electrical distribution panel of number(s) ____, conductors were improperly terminated, a potential shock/electrocution or fire hazard.


(Lighting: Interior)  Damaged light fixture

An interior  light fixture was damaged. This condition is a potential fire or shock/electrocution hazard.


In number(s) ____, a light fixture was damaged leaving internal components exposed to touch. This condition is a potential fire or shock/electrocution hazard.



(Stairways IBC)  Excessive baluster spaces

A guardrail assembly protecting this stairway had spaces between handrail components that allowed the passage of a 4-inch (102 mm) sphere. This condition is no longer allowed in new construction for child-safety reasons. Consider having the guardrail assembly altered in a manner that will prevent the passage of a 4-inch sphere. This dimension includes spaces between balusters and areas beneath and to the sides of the guardrail assembly.


Stairway too narrow: less than 44 in. (ocup. 50+)

This stairway did not have a minimum clear width of 44 inches (1118 mm), measured at and just below the handrail, as is required for fire safety reasons in modern buildings serving an occupant load of 50 persons or more.


(Stairways IRC) 

Tread depth improper: winders (12")

Treads at this winding staircase did not comply with safe best practice that requires that treads be a minimum of 11 inches (279 mm) in depth (between the vertical planes formed by the nosings of adjacent treads) measured at a point 12 inches (305 mm) from the side of the staircase at which treads are narrowest. This condition is a potential trip/fall hazard.


In number(s) ____,treads at the winding staircase did not comply with safe best practice that requires that treads be a minimum of 11 inches (279 mm) in depth (between the vertical planes formed by the nosings of adjacent treads) measured at a point 12 inches (305 mm) from the side of the staircase at which treads are narrowest. This condition is a potential trip/fall hazard.


(Bathroom)  Caulk line severe deterioration

In the bathroom, the sealant where the bathtub met the wall was severely deteriorated and needed maintenance.


In the bathroom of number(s) _____, the sealant where the bathtub met the wall was severely deteriorated and needed maintenance.


And many more...!