FAQs about Property Condition Assessment (PCA)

Serving Southern California and the cities of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego

As a commercial property buyer in Orange County, you surely realize that the purchase you are to make is not to be taken lightly. It’s instrumental that you equip yourself with accurate information regarding the physical state of the property you intend to buy. This is one of the main reasons for commercial property buyers to seek out companies who provide reliable assessment.

Many buyers turn to well-established California firms providing real estate advisory and construction consulting to conduct the assessment, also known as Property Condition Assessment.

Before you hire an Orange County company to conduct the PCA, take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about property condition assessments.

What is PCA?

A property condition assessment (PCA) is an inspection of a commercial, mixed-use or large residential property. The name was devised to distinguish this type of inspection from residential home inspections. PCAs are regulated by the Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments (ASTM E2018). More specifically, the Standard outlines the purpose and scope of PCAs.

As stated in the Standard, the main objective of a PCA is to ‘’identify and communicate physical deficiencies of the subject property’’.

The Standard also states that a property condition assessment can involve ‘’a higher or lower level of inquiry or due diligence’’ than the baseline scope outlined in the Standard. It is up to the user of the PCA to decide on the scope.

What are the benefits of a PCA?

It’s important to note that the benefits of different PCAs can vary depending on the level of due diligence (the scope of the PCA), as well as the current physical condition of the property that is being assessed. Nevertheless, below are some of the most common benefits reported by commercial property buyers in Orange County:

  • the PCA has helped the buyer make a well-informed purchase decision
  • the PCA has mitigated the risk of purchase
  • the PCA has served as an effective instrument in negotiations where major physical deficiencies have been discovered
  • the PCA has provided sufficient reason for the buyer to cancel their offer to purchase the assessed property
  • the PCA has been instrumental in estimating the cost of repairs and replacements on the assessed property
  • the PCA has provided vital information for reducing the overall energy consumption
  • the PCA has provided information to be used for lowering insurance premium costs.

What is a Property Condition Report (PCR)?

As defined by ASTM E-2018, a Property Condition Report or PCR is a written report complied after a PCA has been conducted. The client receives the report containing the information obtained during the PCA, more specifically, the Walk-Through Survey, Document Review and Interviews. Additionally, the PCR typically incorporates suggestions for repairs and further inspections, such as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance surveys. Also included is an opinion of anticipated costs to repair found physical deficiencies, and, if the client requests it, costs of major repair projects.

The PCR is delivered to the client (a.k.a. the user) within a relatively short time frame. It typically takes a few business days to compile and deliver the PCR to the client in Orange County. Some property condition assessment companies send the PCR in the form of an electronic file attachment or downloadable link via email. Sometimes, the PCR can be sent to the client’s attorney directly.

Upon receiving the PCR, the client should be able to review the findings and contact the company that conducted the PCA with any questions or concerns.

How long does it take to conduct a PCA?

The amount of time required for conducting a PCA depends on a number of factors. Typical determining factors include the type and size of the property being assessed, the type of mechanical and electrical systems present in the property, and the level of due diligence. It goes without saying that larger properties with more complex mechanical and electrical systems will take longer to inspect. In addition, the higher the level of due diligence, the longer the duration of the PCA. For example, PCAs for two properties of the same size can differ in duration if one is a baseline PCA while the other is conducted at a higher level of due diligence.

Besides the factors mentioned, the duration of a PCA can be affected by the weather, access and occupancy considerations. Most companies performing PCA will refuse to conduct a high-level due diligence PCA of a rooftop unit if it’s raining, due to the obvious risks for the inspectors as well as the risk of damaging any equipment. Furthermore, if the tenants of the property being assessed need to be physically present to provide access to the inspected unit, the PCAs are typically conducted only during the regular working hours. This situation may prolong the duration of the PCA.

On the whole, a small office condo in Orange County, for example, can be inspected in a few hours, whereas warehouse facilities and large office buildings may take up to several days. Nevertheless, the inspectors at Xpera Group provide clients with an estimate of the duration of the PCA before it is initiated.

Does the client have to be present during the PCA?

Generally speaking, it is not necessary for the client to be present during the PCA, unless special in-person authorization is required to grant access to a certain unit to be inspected.

Most clients like receiving regular updates on the progress, especially if the PCA is estimated to last a few days. Our clients are welcome to drop by and receive an update on the progress face-to-face. If it’s more convenient, we can deliver daily updates by email or phone.

If you have any other questions regarding property condition assessments, feel free to reach out to Xpera Group. We boast a team of construction consulting experts and field inspectors with relevant qualifications and plenty of hands-on experience inspecting properties throughout Orange County and across the West Coast. We are the go-to experts for baseline and higher-level due diligence property condition assessments, including insurance risk and point-of-sale evaluation, damage assessment, and more. Commercial property lenders and buyers throughout Orange County rely on our expertise and professional integrity. Reach out to us today.
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