RSE, residential structural engineer, the difference between a structural engineering report and an unlicensed contractor's evaluation is expertise. Through years of study and licensure, a professional engineer can help identify, evaluate and provide recommendations to homeowners in need of structure or foundation repair.
If you’re buying a new home, one of the most important first steps is to have a thorough and accurate inspection of its structural integrity. Many homes appear structurally sound at the exterior but have severe underlying problems that are not detectable to the untrained eye. During the first phase of an inspection, a structural engineer will come to the property to assess the overall condition of the home and its foundation.
The engineer will look for spacing between beams and joists to be sure it is of load-bearing capacity. He or she will also look for problems like foundation settling. The engineer will check all load-bearing components in the home to make sure they are constructed and attached properly.
Afterwards, the professional will generate a report of any existing damage and create a repair plan if necessary. Structural inspections are far more in depth than regular home inspections. Home inspectors merely look at the condition, whereas structural engineers thoroughly examine the foundation, floors, walls, roof, columns, and more. This is an important step you will need before buying your home. Your home is an investment and it’s imperative to know you will be safe there for years to come and that your investment is sound.
Do I Need an Inspection?
Many first-time homebuyers do not think of having a structural engineer perform their home inspections. Home inspection is a necessary part of the home buying process, but often people just go with the home inspector recommended to them through the real estate company. Home inspectors usually do not get into the true structure of the home. Instead, these inspectors just do an overall inspection of the workings of the home, like plumbing, electrical wiring, basement flood protection, and other areas.
Many homebuyers are interested in buying foreclosed homes in today’s market. After all, foreclosed homes can sometimes be a great deal on a home that would otherwise be out of budget. However, foreclosed homes are almost always neglected. When the bank takes over a home, it is not interested in doing any repairs to get it back into shape. Foreclosed houses can sometimes sit on the market for years without any repairs or inspections. During this time, any number of problems can develop and worsen, and the home can rapidly deteriorate.
When the bank tries to sell the home, it usually does not disclose these types of problems, leaving homeowners on their own when things crop up. A structural inspection will tell you the true state of your potential home, so you can be prepared to make necessary repairs, or in severe cases, walk away from the offer.
There are a number of different companies that are providing trade services for the builder: site work, masons, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, sheet rockers, roofers, painters etc. These trades people are usually on site for only a few days before moving on to the next work site. They are focused on getting the job done and moving on.... often at the expense of compromising quality.
Unless you walk the roof, crawl through the attic, pull the breaker panel and know what you are looking for there is a good likelihood that missing roof tile, piggy backed breakers, and black mold will be overlooked. All of these and many more problems have been detected by inspectors of newly constructed homes.
Yes, you should be able to rely on a new home and its warranty, but the fact of the matter is most big problems go undetected.... until it's too late!
The builder will make a big case for you not needing an inspection.... now really, why do you think this is?
Play it safe and have an inspection or you can always roll the dice!