Buying an Older Industrial or Commercial Building? Here’s What to Know0

Posted by Thomas Miller, CCIM

miller-industrial-properties-older-buildings-what-to-knowWhile new builds may be considered newsworthy these days, older industrial and commercial buildings can have characteristics that make them worth a second look – with one caveat. Environmental concerns in older buildings should be carefully reviewed, as they can mean potential liability issues down the line, complete with big economic impacts. If you’re considering an older industrial or commercial building, here’s what to know. 

Asbestos in Older Industrial Buildings

Asbestos is one of the most common concerns in older industrial buildings. It’s generally assumed that asbestos must be immediately removed, regardless of cost or inconvenience, but that’s not always the case. It’s wise, of course, to have asbestos areas identified, which is simple enough to do with a qualified inspection. Ask your industrial real estate agent for a recommendation. Just be aware that there is no absolute obligation to immediately clear all building materials containing asbestos, and it’s often possible – and more practical – to retain this material as long as it’s situated in a sound area and no fibers may become airborne.  The fact is, asbestos poses no known health problems in its solid state.

Mold in Older Industrial Buildings

Mold is another common environmental item that might be commonly found in older buildings. It’s typical for prospective buyers to focus on air quality testing, but that’s merely a symptom of the bigger issue. It’s a smarter course of action to investigate the cause of the wet condition leading to mold in the first place. Unless that is resolved, mold will continue to grow. Locating the cause, whether it’s a leaky roof, walls, pipes, windows or malfunctioning HVAC systems, means solving the problem itself, instead of the mold symptom. Treatments can vary, and the remediation will depend directly on the extent and cause of the contamination.

The Takeaway

Both mold and asbestos are issues to be taken seriously, but neither should be considered an automatic deal breaker. As long as appropriate professional attention can be given to the problem, feel free to pursue the deal. Just ask your real estate professional for advice and recommendations.

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About the Author

Thomas Miller, CCIM

Thomas Miller, CCIM is the president and broker of Miller Industrial Properties in Reno, Nevada. He has worked in industrial real estate since 1991, with 15 years of previous experience designing and building industrial warehousing and manufacturing facilities in the northern Nevada market. Contact Tom at tom@mipnv.com or 775-742-9891.

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