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Structural Engineering Unbiased Opinion

When Home Inspections Lead To Structural Engineers

You hired a licensed home inspector to inspect a home you’re interested in, they found a crack in the foundation. The home inspector suggests to you that a structural engineer may be need. A home inspector is doing the right thing when he/she finds conditions beyond their education and training and admits it. A home inspector is a generalist, and in this case, it is their job to recommend an expert. But here’s the problem–and it’s unfortunate for home buyers and sellers. Structural issues such as cracks in foundation walls, splits in support posts, or decay in floor joists often have little or no adverse effect on the overall performance of the building’s structure. But most home inspectors cannot distinguish when a crack is real problem. They see a crack and call for a structural engineer.

When a home inspector points out a crack and calls for a structural engineer for a reason none other than the inspector felt unqualified to make an assessment, the home buyers and home owners tend think the building might be falling down. They imagine huge repair costs. There is fear and panic. Real estate deals fall apart. And it’s not necessary.  Not until you get the final word from the engineer. Not until you know if there really is a problem.

What is a structural engineer?

Structural Engineering is a specialty within Civil Engineering. Structural Engineers create drawings and specifications, perform calculations, review the work of other engineers, write reports and evaluations, and observe construction sites.

Structural Engineers Are Qualified

Structural Engineers are highly knowledgeable about structural systems, damage forensics, home foundation repair and residential foundation inspections. Their extensive training typically includes:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering (4-5 years of college).
  • Five-year internship under the guidance of a professional engineer prior to receiving licensing.
  • This education coupled with a technical background make licensed structural engineers the most qualified professionals for foundation evaluation.

Structural Engineers Produce an Engineering Report

After a home foundation inspection, structural engineers produce thorough engineering reports that clearly identify damage cause and recommended repair plans if necessary. This document is typically required to close on a home, obtain a loan or settle disputes.

No Sales Pitch

An independent structural engineer produces an unbiased opinion because they do not conduct the remediation plan. This method ensures you get an honest assessment, not a sales pitch.

Structural Engineers Aim to Fix

Structural Engineers are in the business of helping you fix the issue. They will educate you on the best ways to prevent further foundation movement and can explain the technical aspects of foundation repair and soil mechanics that repair contractors cannot.

Peace of Mind

Having a true professional evaluate your structure will give you peace of mind. Not only will they be qualified, but you can use the documents to move forward without having to decide between opinions/recommendations from unqualified foundation repair contractors.

To get a full understanding of what is failing inspection, how to fix it, and the cost if you are selling a house or buying a home. Know the difference between a Structural Engineer vs. a Home Inspector.  The inspector is a generalist that looks for signs of problems. When inspectors find these signs, they suggest you get a specialist to check out the problem.  A structural engineer will be able to create instruction or plans (if needed) to fix and cost out a repair say in a foundation.

When you are buying an older home or new construction, a professional structural home inspection is an absolute necessity. Here is when a structural engineer can give an inspection to deem the home safe, and/or advise actions to take, with cost estimates and real solutions you can implement with a contractor.

When their on slants on a home’s floors or stairs. In most cases a home inspector will advise you to seek the advise of a licensed structural inspection is these circumstances.