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Client Spotlight: Atlantic FCU & 600 Sable Oaks

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 12:27

Congratulations to our client, Atlantic Federal Credit Union (FCU), on their recent purchase of a 100,000 square foot building located at 600 Sable Oaks Drive in South Portland, Maine. This will be their new company headquarters, which they plan to move into later this year.

More than 80,000 square feet of the building is occupied by four national insurance companies. According to media reports, Atlantic FCU will occupy the remaining 16,000 square feet. They are now Maine’s largest credit union.

Prior to the building purchase, Atlantic FCU engaged with Criterium Engineers to perform a commercial building inspection on the property, which is located near from the Maine Mall.

Our licensed, Professional Engineers, perform commercial building inspections for commercial realtors and prospective building owners located across the United States and in Ontario.

Inspections encompass a facility’s overall condition, focus on all the critical building components (structural, roof, electrical, plumbing, air and heating, paving, drainage, etc.), environmental factors (including air flow and insulation) and safety issues – fire and other potential hazards.

Contact us to learn more.

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Austin Landing: Our Largest-ever Cost Segregation Study

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 13:49

Criterium Engineers recently completed our largest-ever cost segregation study at Austin Landing, an 800,000+ square foot, 60-acre, mixed-use complex located in the Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio corridor.

Austin Landing is the “go to” hub for entertainment, shopping and eating in Miamisburg, Ohio. It also offers hotel lodging, apartments, a grocery store, and offices.

A cost segregation study is a tool used to lower taxes, increase cash flow and maximize the tax benefits of leasing or owning commercial property. It provides improved cash flow through reclassification of the property’s asset lives. The purpose is accelerating depreciation expenses and thus lowering Federal taxes. At Criterium Engineers, we specialize in cost segregation studies.

When our client bought the Austin Landing complex last November, the Dayton Daily News called it a $134M “Crown Jewel” property. It also notes that the complex was launched in 2010 and greatly expanded in 2012.

Want to learn how a cost segregation study may work for your property? Contact us today.

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Congratulations to Our Client: The New School, a New York City University

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 17:40

Stuyvesant Park Residence

The New School is a world renowned, progressive university, founded in 1919, with its main campus in New York City. They house a design school, liberal arts college, performing arts college, and graduate programs. Students collaborate across disciplines and learn new ways of creative problem solving to effect positive change in the world.

Officials at the university recently asked Criterium Engineers to perform a Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment (PCA) on a 12-story, 16,000+ square foot dormitory building—which is known as the Stuyvesant Park Residence, located at 318 East 15th Street in New York City. The building was built as a hospital dormitory in 1965 and has served as a student residence since 2009 with 140 apartments.

A pre-lease PCA is especially helpful for Triple-Net lease negotiations. The average building PCA reviews more than 30 major building and site elements in great detail. It provides descriptions, deficiencies and recommendations. It also includes probable costs for repair or replacement of damaged or failing building systems or safety issues. PCA reports are customized for each client and may be designed to focus on areas that otherwise may not be covered in a baseline assessment.


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Featured Project: Children’s Museum of Maine

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 15:23
Congratulations to our client, Cyrus Hagge of Project Management, Inc., on the recent sale of the Children’s Museum of Maine, a landmark building at 142 Free Street in Portland, Maine. The museum building was sold to the Portland Museum of Art, located next door. This MaineBiz article features details about the sale. Criterium Engineers performed a Commercial Building Inspection and an Environmental Site Assessment on the 19,158-square-foot mixed-use building.

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Want to Avoid Unexpected Property Maintenance Costs? Hint: Plan for Your Commercial Property’s Future

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 12:56

Whether you are a building owner, property manager, REIT manager—or if you are questioning whether a building purchase makes financial sense—it’s important to anticipate how the property will perform over time.

For retail, multi-family, office or industrial properties, the best solution is to assess, plan and budget for the future. A Capital Needs Assessment analyzes the building’s capital improvement needs and predicts likely repair and replacement costs over a specified period—usually 20 years. The report provides both a cumulative, life-of-the-building cost projection and a year-by-year estimate of repair and replacement costs. A Capital Needs Assessment is offered both as a stand-alone service and as an adjunct to a Property Condition Assessment, which starts with a detailed analysis of a building’s current physical condition.

Why perform a Capital Needs Assessment?
  • Evaluate the current condition of your assets;
  • Identify immediate needs;
  • Plan for repairs or replacement of major systems; and,
  • Develop a budget to plan for upcoming years.
Examples of Capital Needs Assessment focus areas:
  • Site, parking facilities and pavement
  • Structure and roof
  • Plumbing and mechanical facilities
  • Electrical systems
  • Fire safety and ADA accessibility
  • Hazardous Materials

Planning ahead for any building owner is critical. Our licensed, Professional Engineers are building experts. Together, they have inspected over 750,000 buildings in our 62+ year history and understand how buildings and building components perform. They understand the factors that may make some components fail sooner or last longer than expected. Our building science expertise and our decades of field inspection experience make our capital needs assessments educated and realistic.

Contact Criterium Engineers to request a proposal today, tell us what you need, and we’ll tell you how we can help. The information our engineers provide can help answer your questions and plan for your building’s future.

Note: Additional information about capital needs assessments and maintenance planning may be found here.

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Congratulations to Our Client: Australia-based Orora Group

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 15:06

Congratulations to our client the Orora Group, based in Australia, on their recent lease of warehouse #200 at 1905 110th Street in Grand Prairie, Texas. Criterium Engineers performed a Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment on the 102,000 square foot warehouse building.

Orora Group works closely with its customers to provide an extensive range of tailored packaging solutions and displays. From glass bottles to boxes to packaging equipment and more, they are total packaging solutions specialists. Orora Group operates in seven countries and has more than 6,800 team members.

The post Congratulations to Our Client: Australia-based Orora Group appeared first on Criterium Engineers.

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Commercial Building Inspections: Why You Should Hire an Engineer Versus a Building Inspector

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 14:26

For every real estate transaction that you are involved in—chances are—as part of the due-diligence process you are hiring a commercial building inspection professional to inspect the property. This is a helpful and valuable service that you routinely recommend to clients any may be required by lenders, however if the inspection is not done objectively and carefully, it may lead to major issues.

Whether you need a commercial building inspection or the gold-standard property condition assessment, the inspection is a critical step in the process—and you need an experienced expert on your side.

The term “building inspector” is often a self-issued title and, with the exception of a few states, there is very little regulation in this rapidly growing industry. On the other hand, Professional Engineers are licensed by the state in which they practice, and they:

  • Have completed an accredited, degreed engineering program;
  • Have four years of work under the direction of other engineers;
  • Passed a comprehensive two-day exam;
  • Are bound by a code of ethics and state law to practice only in areas where they are qualified.

Professional Engineers Can Save Time & Money

By law in most states, only a licensed, Professional Engineer is permitted to render an opinion as to the structural integrity of a building. A building inspector may be qualified to find the symptoms that a building presents (i.e., there is a crack), but then must suggest the consulting services of a licensed, Professional Engineer for further evaluation. This can be an expensive and time delaying addition to the inspection process. Hiring a building inspector who is a licensed, Professional Engineer, in the first place, can save your client additional consulting fees and valuable time.

Professional Engineers Are Insured

Another important aspect is that licensed, Professional Engineers maintain comprehensive professional liability insurance with nationally recognized insurance carriers. As licensed, Professional Engineers, we strive to deliver on our promises. In the event of an error or oversight, having professional liability coverage means we have the financial means to back up our work.

Professional Engineers Are Legally Accountable

The most important quality is the accountability as Professional Engineers. They stand behind their work and are legally and ethically accountable.

Whether your clients are large corporations, real estate investment trusts or individual investors, engaging with licensed, Professional Engineers will give your clients the peace of mind that they are getting the most professional advice available.

At Criterium Engineers we have more than 60 years of experience inspecting tens of thousands of commercial projects across the country. Our inspectors are licensed, Professional Engineers with years of building-related experience. They are further trained by Criterium Engineers to provide inspections and must participate in peer review and continuing education programs. Our commercial building inspection reports provide a detailed summary of our findings, highlighting building strengths as well as any identifying weaknesses or potential problems. We clearly explain a building’s condition, so our clients can make confident, informed decisions about their purchase.

The post Commercial Building Inspections: Why You Should Hire an Engineer Versus a Building Inspector appeared first on Criterium Engineers.

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All-American Family LLC Purchases 1041 Brighton Avenue

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 08:57

A 24,150 square foot retail facility at 1041 Brighton Avenue in Portland, Maine, was recently purchased by All-American Family LLC. We congratulate the buyers as well as Charles Day of Porta & Co., who represented the seller, on the closing.

Criterium Engineers performed a Property Condition Assessment on the facility which includes a convenience store, restaurant and other mixed use tenants. The deal closed in mid-July.

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Congratulations to Our Client: Hussey Seating Company

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 08:57

Congratulations to our client at Hussey Seating, global producer of spectator and audience seating, on their purchase of 90 Community Drive. Hussey purchased the 45,000 square foot building which is situated on 24.9 acres in Sanford, Maine, to expand their operations.

Criterium Engineers was engaged to perform a pre-purchase Property Condition Assessment as well as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment which were conducted by Campbell Grant, P.E., senior engineer at Criterium Engineers corporate office. 

Hussey Seating began operations in 1835 and remains a family-owned business. Their products are installed across the globe in high school gymnasiums, tracks and football fields,  professional arenas, and performing arts centers. 

The post Congratulations to Our Client: Hussey Seating Company appeared first on Criterium Engineers.

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A Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment Pays For Itself!

Mon, 08/26/2019 - 08:57

Criterium Engineers provides the straightforward evaluation required for an extensive Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment (PCA) for clients looking to lease buildings of all sizes. They are especially useful for Triple-Net Lease negotiations.

Be Informed!

Investing in due diligence and being an informed lessee provides greater confidence in the property, quantitative information for tenants, as well as peace of mind that the property will be appropriate for our client’s expectations.

  • Understand the property’s baseline condition
  • Solid information to make decisions on repairs or replacements, especially for Triple-Net Lessees
  • Detailed information to share with tenants
  • Saves time, money and establishes a baseline, which may minimize conflict with the building owner
  • Benefits all parties involved in the transaction
Request a Proposal! What is a Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment?
  • Customized for the client’s business purpose
  • Used in support of real estate transactions
  • Commissioned for lease negotiations and, at times, upon termination
  • Provides an accurate condition of the asset
  • Offers an opinion on the building’s useful life
  • Outlines the probable costs required to repair or resolve any building issues
Details in a Customized Pre-Lease PCA Include
  • Representation of the property’s physical condition, including: property description, site improvements, and building systems
  • Outline of capital needs and opinion on probable costs: short-term repairs or replacements and preliminary capital budgets for the future
  • Recommendations for further study
  • Baseline data to resolve deficiencies and issues
  • Digital photography and informative reference exhibits/documents

Click here to view an outline of an example PCA.

Reports vary in length (often exceeding thirty pages) and are based on building size and complexity—for example a report prepared for a 35-story downtown office building, differs greatly from that for a 1,800 square foot retail space.

The average building PCA reviews more than 30 major building and site elements in great detail. It provides descriptions, deficiencies and recommendations. It also includes probable costs for repair or replacement of damaged or failing building systems or safety issues. PCA reports are customized for each client and may be designed to focus on areas that otherwise may not be covered in a baseline assessment.

What Does a Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment Cost?

$4,000-6,000 (average) and long-term savings: tens of thousands (on average)

The post A Pre-Lease Property Condition Assessment Pays For Itself! appeared first on Criterium Engineers.

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Cinamon Building: It’s Not About the Spice!

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 10:01

Congratulations to our clients Jim & Rebecca Henry, represented by Josh Soley of Maine Realty Advisors, on their recent purchase of the Cinamon Building at 1 Pleasant Street in downtown Portland, Maine. The historic structure built in 1900 is named not for the aromatic spice, but instead for the longtime owners—the Cinamon family—with a slight variation in the spelling. An historic view of the building from 1924 is available on the Maine Memory network.

Just prior to the recent sale,Criterium Engineers performed a structural inspection on the historic four-story brick structure, located on the corner of Pleasant and Center Streets. Criterium’s Nate Powelson, P.E., performed the inspection. The Cinamon Building is managed by Soley and currently houses a popular restaurant as well as several businesses.


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Accelerate Depreciation for Your Commercial Real Estate

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 09:25
What property types benefit most from accelerated depreciation with a Cost Segregation Study?


Many of the costs embedded in a new or existing building can be segregated into categories that also allow for more rapid — or accelerated — depreciation. Many items inside the building – furnishings, fixtures, flooring and the like – can be depreciated more quickly, over 5 to 7 years; and the site improvement components can be depreciated over a 15-year period.

Best suited for:
  • Real estate construction valued at over $1 million
  • Building acquisitions or improvements
  • New buildings under construction
  • Existing buildings undergoing renovations or expansions
Best savings potential:
  • Office buildings
  • Shopping centers
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Warehouses and distribution centers
  • Manufacturing and industrial plants
  • Medical facilities

Learn more about accelerated depreciation and cost segregation studies. The CSS can be done independently or conducted in parallel with a Property Condition Report, an Environmental Site Assessment. The IRS has detailed information on cost segregation techniques, as well as this Motley Fool article.

For investors considering whether to purchase a commercial property and for real estate brokers trying to make a marginal transaction feasible, a Cost Segregation Analysis may be essential and Criterium Engineers is uniquely qualified perform it.
Request a Proposal!

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Lewiston Gateway: Congratulations to MH Properties

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:16

Congratulations to our client Matt Hancock of MH Properties LLC, based in Maine, on his recent purchase of three adjacent properties in Lewiston, Maine:

  • 475 Lisbon Street
  • 491 Lisbon Street
  • 500 Canal Street

Criterium Engineers was hired to perform Commercial Building Inspections, conducted by Jack Carr, P.E., on all three buildings, known as the Lewiston Gateway Complex. The buildings are adjacent to one another in the center of the city’s downtown district.


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Congrats to Our Client Connecticut River Capital

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:33

Congratulations to our clients at Connecticut River Capital for their recent purchase of 465 Congress Street and their plans to get Portland’s first skyscraper ‘back to where it should be,’ as mentioned in the Portland Press Herald.

Criterium Engineers was engaged to perform a Property Condition Assessment, which was conducted by Campbell Grant, P.E., prior to Connecticut River Capital’s purchase of this iconic building. A PCA is the gold standard for building inspections, conforming with national standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and Standard and Poor’s.

Portland’s first high-rise—at ten stories tall—was built in 1910 and is historically known as the Fidelity Trust Building, but more recently called the People’s United Bank Building. It is located in the center of downtown Portland, Maine, at Congress and Preble Streets, near Monument Square. Criterium Engineer’s corporate headquarters was once located across from this property.

We look forward to seeing the work Connecticut River Capital will do to create the next rendition of this historic Portland property. .

The post Congrats to Our Client Connecticut River Capital appeared first on Criterium Engineers.

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Hurricane Season is Here—Are You Ready?

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 14:56

The engineers at Criterium encourage residents, homeowners, condo/apartment owners, and commercial property owners to prepare for the hurricane season which begins each year on the first of June.

This year’s seasonal forecast was recently announced by NOAA’s Climate Prediction. They predict a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year with a range of 9 to 15 named storms. Dr. Gerry Bell, Lead Seasonal Hurricane Forecaster at NOAA, provides this season’s outlook.

Now is a good time to prepare your home or business for such an event. FEMA provides a wide array of hurricane tips—including what to do before, during and after a hurricane at

It’s also a good time to take photos of your residence or commercial property in its current state. That way, if your property is involved in a hurricane—you have photos to use as a basis of comparison. When it comes to insurance companies and FEMA, more is better for documenting any hurricane damage. That way you will have “before” and “after” photos to document your property’s situation.

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Paving Isn’t Sexy: But Proper Maintenance is Essential

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 20:45
Engineering Advisor | Volume 26, Number 1

When was the last time you thought about your parking lot? The honest answer, probably, is not in recent memory.  It’s not a question of ‘out of sight –out of mind.’ Parking lots and other paved areas are highly visible, but they aren’t all that interesting.  There is nothing sexy about asphalt.

A well-designed, nicely manicured landscape will get your attention; a nicely-paved parking lot – not so much.  As a result, paved areas don’t always get the maintenance attention they need, and that is a potentially serious problem for both the owners of commercial properties (shopping malls, for example) and the homeowner associations that manage residential condominium communities.  A poorly maintained parking lot is not only an eyesore, detracting from a property’s curb appeal; it is also a liability risk:  Customers or residents who trip over cracks or whose cars are damaged by potholes are going to sue the property owner.

Paved areas, if well-constructed and well-maintained, can last between 25 and 30 years or more, depending on where they are located and how they are used.  Unfortunately, parking lots, sidewalks and driveways are often afterthoughts — the final items on a construction checklist, undertaken near the end of the project when funds are low and the developer’s attention is waning.

Doing it Right

Pavement isn’t complicated.  It begins with good soil compacted properly to create a stable base that should be covered by two layers of asphalt ― a base course on bottom and a wearing course on top. There is some disagreement about the desired thickness, but no question that the thicker the asphalt layers, the longer their life.  The industry standard calls for a combined thickness of between 2.5 and 5 inches, with the top layer thicker than the bottom.

Only about half of the parking lots we inspect meet that standard.  Most fall short and many fall well short, with both layers sometimes totaling less than 2 inches.  If the asphalt layers are too thin, if the underlying soil is poor, or if the area isn’t paved uniformly the surface will form holes, crack and split, requiring constant repairs and premature repaving.

Harsh winters and the damage inflicted by the steel blades of snow plows take a toll in New England and other cold climates; extreme heat and exposure to the blazing sun do the damage in the south and southwest.  Pavement in hotter areas may require the application of a sealant (to smooth over holes and cracks) in less than a year after being laid; pavement in colder climates may not need sealant for five years, and possibly not all, but it will benefit from efforts to mitigate the damage inflicted by snow and ice.

You can’t skip the snow plowing or the application of de-icing materials, but some of those materials are harder on asphalt than others. It’s worth asking your snow removal contractor for recommendations.  Proper application of the material is also essential; adding more salt won’t necessarily improve its effectiveness, experts say, but it will increase the cumulative damage to paved areas and reduce their useful life.

Poor drainage can also accelerate deterioration. Even the best-laid surface will be compromised over time if water “ponds” on it instead of draining properly. You can spot evidence of ponding even if it isn’t raining. Areas of discoloration (shadows) and collections of dirt, twigs and other debris are red flags indicating a drainage problem.  A decent slope and catch basins, on the other hand, suggest that the contractor was thinking about proper drainage

Maintenance Guidelines

All pavement, however well or poorly-constructed, requires proper care. The maintenance schedules will vary ─ some paved areas will require attention sooner or later than others — but the protocols will be essentially the same.

A few small cracks here and there will be the first sign of wear. They will usually appear between the three- and five-year marks, and filling them will be the first line of defense. The important thing about cracks is, small ones will quickly become larger, so you don’t want to ignore them. They represent both a safety hazard (people can twist their ankles or trip over them) and a structural concern. Water can seep through the cracks causing damage below the surface of the asphalt. In warm climates, the water will unsettle the soil, pushing the clay up against the asphalt and accelerating the deterioration process. In New England, water will trigger a destructive freeze-thaw-freeze process in the winter, which will also shorten the asphalt’s useful life.

You can deal with small cracks by filling them in. Contractors typically use a melt-in substance that won’t shrink after application. This is the product highway crews use because of its durability and ease of application. It is sold under several retail brand names, all variants of “hot-applied crack sealant.” Experts suggest that you fill cracks every two or three years, as part of a regular maintenance plan. If cracking becomes more widespread, you can take the next step, which is to apply a sealant to the entire paved area.

Resurfacing and Replacing

As asphalt ages, one or more sections may begin to break up or flake, indicating that the surface is beginning to deteriorate. Patching will probably take care of the problem, at least for a while. But you don’t want to just pave over the failed area ― a shortcut some contractors might suggest; you want the contractor to cut out the area, fill in the subsurface and then pave over that. This will give you a sturdier, longer-lasting repair, but it is still a temporary fix ─ a band aid, not a cure.

At some point — and the hope is it will be later rather than sooner in your pavement’s life ― deterioration will accelerate, repairs will become more frequent requiring more aggressive and more expensive responses.

One option is to resurface the area ─ either lay a new surface over the existing one, or remove the old asphalt and pave the area anew. These options make sense if the underlying soil base is stable. But remember Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result). If the old surface failed prematurely because the underlying soil wasn’t’ stable, a new surface laid over that unstable soil won’t wear or fare any better.

It’s time to start over. The contractor should remove the old asphalt, scoop out the bad soil, replace it with gravel and stone to create a solid base, and then lay the new pavement over it. That’s the traditional approach. A newer technique calls for pulverizing the old asphalt and using it as a base for the new pavement. In addition to creating what contractors say is a “super-solid” base, pulverizing the old asphalt eliminates the cost of trucking it away and disposing of it at a hazardous waste site. Either technique will give you nice, new pavement that will last another 25 or 30 years or more.

 Volume 26, Number 1 | December 05, 2017 | Copyright © 2017 CRITERIUM ENGINEERS

The Engineering Advisor is intended to enhance your knowledge of technical issues relating to buildings.  For additional information on any subject, please feel free to call us.  Our commitment is to provide you with timely, accurate information.

View the PDF version of this article

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Water Intrusion | Volume 25, Number 1

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 11:33

“Water, water everywhere” is not what you want to be thinking as you’re staring through the windows of the restaurant, drug store and appliance shop that are tenants in the building you own. 

read more

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Cost Segregation Studies

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:53

Depreciation enters significantly into the financial performance of commercial buildings. Typically, property, exclusive of land, is depreciated over 39 years.

read more

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Don’t forget the roof!

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 14:41
Building owners and managers: add roof to your snow removal checklist.

Several areas of the US are currently experiencing heavy and frequent snowfalls.

read more

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