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Revisiting ASTM E2018-15 Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments

Here we revisit some of the key changes made to the ASTM E2018 Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments.

What were the most important changes?

Late last year, ASTM International published an updated version of the E2018 Standard guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process. Like all ASTM standards, this standard is subject to periodic review by a voluntary “task group” of industry professionals. The updated standard, known as ASTM E2018-15, includes several important revisions. One of Partner's Technical Directors previously wrote a blog on the subject on, which you can read here. Clients should discuss with their consultants any impacts the new standard may have on their work. Here is a summary of key changes:

Accessibility Changes

One major change is in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Accessibility Survey discussions and forms in Appendices X.2 and X.3. The committee determined that there is a varying degree of detail desired by users. The sections are entirely rewritten and the survey forms are now referred to as the Uniform Abbreviated Screening Checklist. 


The word “probable” is discontinued as it relates to cost throughout the guide. The guide now clarifies “cost” as the “opinion of costs that may be encountered in correction of physical deficiencies”.

ASTM E2018-15 defines the term “consultant” as “the entity or individual that prepares the PCR and that is responsible for completion of the PCR”. Note that the language “may be an employee of the user” is removed.

A “de minimis condition" is now defined as a “physical deficiency that is not material to the conclusions of the report” (more on this later on).

ASTM E2018-15 defines “due diligence” as “an investigation of the physical condition of a subject property in connection with a commercial real estate transaction. The degree and type of such survey and inquiry may vary for different properties, different user purposes, and time allotted.”

The definition of “Expected Useful Life” was updated to “the average amount of time in years that an item, component or system is estimated to function without material repair when installed new and assuming routine maintenance is practiced.”

ASTM E2018-15 clarifies that “Immediate Costs” are ”opinions of costs that require immediate action as a result of any of the following: (1) material existing or potentially unsafe conditions, (2) material building or fire code violations, or (3) physical deficiencies that if left uncorrected would be expected to result in or contribute to critical element or system failure within one year or will result most probably in a significant escalation of its remedial cost.” 

New Definitions

A number of definitions were added to the ASTM E2018-15 Standard guide for Property Condition Assessments in order to standardize terms of condition comparison within the industry. Several important ones are listed below. More detail on these can be found here.

2.3.24 Physical Condition: “The physical state of a property, system, component or piece of equipment. Within the context of the assessment, the consultant may offer opinions of the physical condition of the property, or of systems, components and equipment observed. Such opinions commonly employ terms such as good, fair and poor; though additional terms such as excellent, satisfactory and unsatisfactory may also be used” ii defined in the report or agreement for services.

2.3.25 Physical Deficiency: “A conspicuous defects or significant deferred maintenance of a subject property’s material systems, components, or equipment as observed during completion of the PCA”. The term “completion of the PCA” is also a revision in paragraph 1.1.1.

2.3.31 Property Condition Report (PCR): “A written report, prepared in accordance with the recommendations contained in this guide, documenting the observations and opinions developed during completion of the assessment.”

2.3.38 Short-Term Costs: “Opinions of costs to remedy physical deficiencies, such as deferred maintenance, that may not warrant immediate attention, but require repairs or replacements that should be undertaken on a priority basis in addition to routine preventive maintenance.”

Section 9 Opinion of Costs: Because the manner of reporting long-term costs can vary among users, they are addressed by footnote number 4 on page 15. “This guide recognizes that most PCAs include some level of assessment of long-term costs. This guide recognizes that there are numerous methods and acceptable levels of long-term cost assessment that can be conducted as part of the PCA. Where such an assessment is desired, the method and level of assessment should be mutually agreed upon by the user and the consultant.”

In summary, the changes to ASTM E 2018 Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process primarily serve to clarify the guidance and enable risk to be assessed more accurately during property condition assessments.