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Commercial Appraisal Construction Components - Where To Learn?

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alyson14

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Jul 23, 2013
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Pennsylvania
Where did you learn about buildings and roofs, HVACs, etc? For example, how to tell if a building is Class C or Class D other than saying reinforced concrete versus combustible construction. How do I know what that actually looks like? Or the types of roofs, etc? There use to be an Appriasal Institute course called Evaluating Commercial Construction, but it looks like it is no longer offered. Other than experience and asking what kind of roof, what kind of frame, etc. How can I know just by looking at something?

Did you take a course? If so, which ones?

Youtube videos/tutorials on different commercial construction components?

Books? (Preferably with real life pictures and not drawings)

Other than the limited pictures in the Marshall & Swift book on each building type, is there anyway to learn construction components so I know it when I see it?
 

Meandering

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Feb 26, 2006
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Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Pennsylvania
What part of Pennsylvania are you in?
 

Michigan CG

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Michigan
There was a class a few years ago that I thought should be mandatory to get a license. It was sponsored by the AI and the guy had a one day class on residential and a two day class on commercial. The class was mostly a slide show of amazing pictures. I took the class about five years ago from either the Michiana Chapter or the Indiana Chapter of the AI. Call them and see if you can track down that class and see if it is still offered. It was a great class.
 

JTip

Elite Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
There's an AI general cost class coming up in June at the Greentree Holiday Inn.

Should answer all your building type questions, and more. I took it last year but an associate of mine will be there if you need a new best pal.
 

Michael S

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Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
I took the "Evaluating Commercial Construction" class a few years ago and it was very enjoyable. The instructor is an architect and basically just showed hundreds of pictures of buildings under construction - many with construction flaws that are basically impossible to tell unless you started tearing into the walls. I.e. the concrete footer that was a foot below the bottom of the steel column, instead of repouring the footer they took a cutting torch to the steel beam, fastened it to the footer, and then welded in a new section of beam in the gap that was left. It also came with a nice booklet with a bunch of drawings and definitions that I've referred back to many times since then.

I don't have a construction background and I often struggle with how to describe a building or how to tell from the outside if it's wood frame and stucco or concrete block and stucco, or something else and stucco (basically every building in New Mexico has a stucco exterior). Then you get into real vs. synthetic stucco, vs. EIFS, vs. adobe. A lot of times I'll Google different types of building components and read through articles or blog posts from people in the construction industry. Being able to tell the difference between HVAC systems can mean a substantial cost difference. While many properties simply have a combination rooftop unit in larger office buildings it will typically be some sort of hydronic system with boilers, chillers, VAVs, etc. Ask questions on inspections, especially if it's a larger property and there's a building engineer. They're usually happy to tell you about the system as they will have spent a lot of time with it.
 

Gobears81

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Nov 7, 2013
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Illinois
OP-are you an appraiser or appraiser trainee? If not yet, the appraisal procedures course offered by AI delves into some construction discussion. Presumably not at the same level as the classes mentioned in the above post, but it is certainly useful discussion if you are green in that area. Having a good mentor is invaluable for these types of issues, but appraisers are like every other profession-some are good at some aspects of the job but less so in others, which certainly could extend to construction components. But there are quite a few things that you learn over the years in working in the field that pertain to construction, and I always think that real-world experience is much better instruction than studying course material for a couple days. Still, I agree with Michigan that QE could or should be expanded to include more education on construction components.

Then you get into real vs. synthetic stucco, vs. EIFS, vs. adobe.
Adobe isn't much of an issue here, but how do you all spell drivit, or is it dryvit? My spellcheck goes off both ways.
 

Michigan CG

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Michigan
I took the "Evaluating Commercial Construction" class a few years ago and it was very enjoyable.


That is the class I was referring to in my earlier post.
 
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