SURFSIDE’S IMPACT ON COMMERCIAL INSPECTION LAWS August 11, 2021 | Maintenance , Management , CRE News , Commercial Inspection | multi-family property , safety , real estate trends , exterior maintenance , building renovation , condo , apartment The tragedy of the partial collapse of the Surfside condo in Florida has highlighted the need for qualified commercial inspectors. With thousands of buildings reaching the half-century mark, their long-term durability is being called into question. Many buildings built before the Great Recession (2000-2005) are also being targeted due to their rushed construction and propensity for errors. Increased Transactions Covid-19 forced the commercial real estate sector to shift drastically. Many offices moved to a remote work model, shopping centers downsized, and restaurants had to relocate in an effort to recoup financial losses. As restrictions have eased back and cities open back up, many are trying to get back to normal. Similar to the housing market, commercial buildings are exchanging hands quickly, leaving many transactions completed without an inspection. This raises concerns about the safety of those who will eventually work or live in them. Florida Ramps Up Regulations Currently, the state of Florida requires buildings to be recertified every 40 years to ensure they’re sturdy. However, there’s been a push for that timeframe to be moved up due to environmental changes like harsh salt water and rising sea levels. City of Miami officials have ordered inspections on the backlog of 40-year-old buildings in an effort to prevent another disaster. Managing companies and associations are being held responsible for conducting required inspections and abiding by all regulations outlined by the city. It’s expected that more laws will be implemented in the future in an effort to ensure buildings aren’t at risk. Jersey City Changing Laws Following Florida’s lead, Jersey City officials are combing over their building codes. Mayor Steven Fulop has introduced requirements for inspections of certain buildings periodically. Building owners would need to have a façade inspection every five years on properties six stories or taller or four-story masonry façade buildings. Six-story and above concrete residential and commercial buildings need a visual inspection every ten years. New Jersey already has very strict property regulations, and these new regulations would work to further tighten them. It’s possible some changes will be made as industry experts work with the mayor’s office. New York State Tightening Up Like New Jersey, the state of New York has an abundance of waterfront high-rises that are aging out. With a majority of buildings in New York averaging over 50 years, citizens and government officials are trying to figure out how to keep them standing. In early July, legislators from Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Nassau County proposed a law requiring commercial property owners to have periodic inspections. It’s not uncommon for managing boards to disregard reports and avoid paying for repairs, which could have heavy consequences. Sometimes repairs also need a majority vote by residents, and they don’t always pass. Inspection organizations are working with building owners to help them figure out a way to both protect tenants and keep costs low--a plan that benefits everyone. General Peace of Mind Every city and state is different in regards to what they require for commercial building inspections. With some being more comprehensive than others, there’s a general feeling among renters that buildings should be inspected regularly regardless. Being left in the dark can make them feel uneasy that something could go wrong at any moment. Having proof that your building is up to code and safe will put them at ease and make them feel confident in their choice. Outlook for Commercial Real Estate As more cities take action in response to the tragedy of Surfside, it’s likely we’ll see other legislation introduced. Because of the variance between states, it’s hard to say what each will do. Some already have strict guidelines for property owners, but getting them to follow through on a report is oftentimes difficult. Even if your state doesn’t require an inspection, it’s good practice to have a routine inspection conducted to protect you and your tenants from harm. National Property Inspections can assist you with your commercial property inspection needs. Find your local inspector and schedule an inspection today!