What Is an Annual Building Inspection Checklist?

An annual building inspection checklist is an official document used by building inspectors and officers to manage building examinations onsite. This type of inspection checklist contains instructions and criteria to fully inspect buildings on a yearly basis. Examples of what it tackles are the accessibility of a working fire extinguisher, visibility of safety signs in a facility, cleanliness of the workplace, and so much more. Thus, annual building inspection checklists track potential hazards from buildings and maintain safety protocols every year.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics research survey, the 2020 median pay of construction and building inspectors was around $62,860 a year or $30.22 an hour.

Why Are Annual Building Inspection Checklists Important?

Indeed, building inspectors are familiar and knowledgeable about their job. But why should there be a checklist in performing operations when they know so much about the job already? In this segment, you will understand the many reasons that prove just how important annual building inspection checklists are:

Promises an Easy Reference for Building Inspections

The main reason why a checklist is needed for annual building inspections is for the sake of implementing an effective and easy building inspection. Even the best building inspectors can sometimes forget small details or factors of what to inspect per building, especially when every building has its unique design and own safety measures. So rather than missing any area to inspect, let checklists be a reminder of all key points per inspection. Annual building inspection checklists contain the step-by-step project roadmap of how to conduct building inspections from start to finish.

Complies with Building Policies and Quality Control Measures

Of course, you can’t forget that buildings should follow the standard building ordinances and quality control policies to make sure the environment is safe and healthy for visitors, workers, and occupants. For example, a huge fire might have burned a building. Yet according to the fire investigation report, the reason the fire wasn’t stopped immediately was that the fire alarm did not work. Hence, not everybody knew about the fire spreading in the building. And that failure could lead the building owner to court as it shows how the safety measures in the building weren’t inspected and maintained.

Monitors the Building Condition Regularly

Inspecting the building condition is not on a one-time basis only. It needs to be covered regularly because, without maintenance, you can’t expect the building condition to be in top shape forever. So you may opt for a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual evaluation to inspect buildings. And since annual building inspections only happen yearly, then there is no need to reschedule or postpone it because a lot can happen in a building every year. Thus, you will be fully aware of the building’s condition annually rather than just assuming everything is alright without proof.

Tracks Possible Buildings Issues and Aims to Improve Them

Upon inspecting the building’s exterior and interior components, possible issues can be traced. And identifying those problems is another important reason why you need the checklist in the first place. Simply follow the criteria enlisted in the checklist to know where possible building issues might be. And once every issue is determined, the next step is to provide the appropriate solutions on how to improve the condition and minimize the problems at last. Hence, the checklist eventually leads to an improvement plan.

Can Be Customized for Different Types of Inspections

A building inspection is just one type of inspection. You may also go for an office inspection checklist, facility inspection checklist, commercial property inspection checklist, home maintenance inspection checklist, apartment inspection checklist, and more. So you need not limit the checklist to just one type as you can customize it for more types. However, do not just use the same content for one type of inspection checklist to another as they have different standards and concerns to inspect.

Helps Newbies for Self-Inspection

Those who are new to building inspections will benefit from the checklist too. Simply follow the instructions laid out in the checklist. So whether you are a new building inspector or simply conducting a self-inspection, using the annual building inspection checklist will help you be introduced to the process. At least this document will help you familiarize how professionals do inspections, especially when the checklists follow top-quality standards.

The Building Blocks of Your Annual Building Inspection Checklist

What makes up an annual building inspection checklist? Albeit these inspection checklists differ from one inspector to another, it is important to note that there are some similar elements expected per example too. So in this section, get to know the components of a standard annual building inspection checklist.

General Building Exterior: Expect to judge the general building exterior components such as the building’s whole appearance, concrete sidewalks, concrete parking lots, and more. And are emergency signs visible in the building? Check the building’s lawns, trees, and plants too.Roof: Check the roofing carefully. This goes from its panels, gutters, and other parts. For example, is the roof condition still intact after heavy rains, snows, and extreme weather conditions? Also, give time to inspect if the breakers still work.Exterior Doors and Windows: Look through every exterior door and window if they still function properly or not. There might be broken windows, damaged door locks, and automatic doors that no longer work. Hence, those require a fix pronto.Lighting: Also an important factor is the building’s lighting from the ground floor up to the rooftop. Lights are normally not just to be checked annually since a daily inspection can help too. Nobody wants to work in an area with lights that don’t work anyway, especially at night.General Building Interior: Besides the building exterior, inspect the building interior next. Maybe the floors need a makeover or that carpet cleaning service is an absolute must already. Also, watch out for air leaks, wall damages, stains, and faded paints.Interior Doors and Windows: The interior doors and windows are a concern too. You could go for door handle replacements, window cleaning, and other improvements to make sure these components function as intended.Electrical: The electrical system of a building needs a serious inspection. For example, do the switches work properly? And are there any burnt outlets or security lights that need fixing? Note them down in the annual building inspection checklist too.Plumbing: Monitor the building’s plumbing system as it is just as important as the electrical system. Expect to inspect the condition of lavatory faucets, sink drains, toilets, leaks, and other related factors.Heating and Air Conditioning: Don’t forget the heating or air conditioning system of buildings as those are responsible for people to be comforted inside and even to maintain the condition of some machines and equipment. Inspect the boiler, HVAC unit, furnace, thermostat, ceiling blower, and air filters to boot.

How to Build a Dependable Annual Building Inspection Checklist

Besides knowing what a building inspection checklist is, its building blocks, and the many important reasons why it is needed, do you have any idea how to make one in the first place? For the most important part of the article that you will learn today, here are the steps you need to follow to create an excellent annual building inspection checklist:

  • Step 1: Study the Building to Be Inspected

    As reiterated before, buildings differ from one another. That goes from the building’s size, appearance, structure, purpose, and many more. So be sure to get to know about the construction and parts of the building from its exterior to interior parts to be fully introduced about its system. With a thorough building data analysis, you will eventually know about what possible systems can be inspected in a building and where to locate those probable key points for inspections later on.

  • Step 2: Download a Sample Template

    You no longer need to make an annual building inspection checklist from scratch because premade samples got your back. And besides an annual building inspection checklist template, you can also check out a structural inspection checklist template, commercial building inspection checklist template, residential building inspection template, boiler inspection checklist template, or even a warehouse inspection checklist template. Then, you can change your chosen template’s features afterward as it is editable and printable.

  • Step 3: Set Your Checklist Criteria

    What slowly completes your building inspection checklist is when you write the itemized list of tasks or criteria on how to inspect the building. An example is when you create a task list of how to manage the inspection from the beginning until the end. Meanwhile, you can also set the checklist as criteria where you lay out a rating system, such as a Likert scale, and check afterward if the results were satisfactory or not. How that goes depends on your approach and purpose for making the checklist in the first place.

  • Step 4: Finalize How to Use the Checklist

    You already know that the checklist is used as a guide towards annual building inspections. So how will the checklist be used at all? The common way to do that is by marking checkmarks to certain checkboxes to signify that those itemized task lists are already done. Meanwhile, you can also use a table with two columns marked as “complied” or “not complied” where you mark at each row if each criterion was complied or not.

  • Step 5: Insert the Components and Leave Room for Remarks

    Of course, you can’t forget about the building blocks of your annual building inspection checklist. From the components under the building exterior and the building interior, insert them one by one in your template. However, you can also skip certain components that are not found in the building and add more elements that can be inspected in the building. Then, leave extra space for notes or remarks. You might come up with observations in the building inspection that stakeholders should know about so just use the extra space for notetaking.

  • Step 6: Keep the Checklist Easy

    As much as possible, easy-to-follow checklists are the right way to go. Don’t make it complicated or it will only make the building inspection process more complicated. You can even use more graphic organizers to arrange your data such as graphs and organizational charts. More so, include easy instructions in the checklist, especially if you are planning to give the checklist to someone else. Hence, make that checklist easy for the targeted user. Then, stick to the plan of conducting a building inspection using the checklist annually.


What are the common annual building inspection checklist inclusions?

Here are some of the basic annual building inspection checklist inclusions needed to prioritize: environment, electrical, plumbing, containers or storage facilities, materials handling, fire protection, fire prevention, hazardous equipment or substances, control panel, pathways, first aid, hygiene facilities, security system, safety devices, personal protective equipment, and psychosocial hazards.

How much do building inspectors earn?

BLS reported that the 2020 median pay of construction and building inspectors were about $30.22 an hour or $62,860 a year.

What happens when a building inspection fails?

Failed building inspections could mean that the building has deteriorated such as damaged floors, walls, joints, and other elements. Also, it could mean that the tenants’ health is at risk, especially when the problems reach their worst state. And a failed building inspection mentioned in an audit report will surely put your investment down. So make sure you won’t have to go through failed building inspections with guidance from building inspection checklists.

It is said that inspection checklists are known as quality control systems in the whole construction industry. That means construction businesses won’t be that successful without a mapping tool known as inspection checklists. And it certainly is true for annual building inspection checklists where you get the step-by-step guide in assessing if a building is safe and secure for whoever resides there. Whether the building is for residential, commercial, or industrial use, what matters the most is that the welfare of its people and the building condition, in general, is in top shape regularly. So be sure to avoid accidents and the worst circumstances that could happen in a building starting with a reliable annual building inspection checklist.