Getting a structural inspection, whether for a property you own or are interested in purchasing, isn’t an everyday occurrence. It’s not even an annual event. It’s generally only needed for your own protection or as proof of building quality to another individual. So while you might have a general idea of what to expect when you’re being inspected, it’s a good idea to do a little research and have a more comprehensive understanding of what will be occurring. The following is a basic guideline of what will likely happen during a run-of-the-mill structural inspection:
What Will Be Inspected?
When engineers come to make an inspection, their main goal is to identify any safety hazards that the structure has. Therefore, not only do they look at the structure itself, but also anything that is attached to the structure, such as a garage, porch, deck, or guest house. All of these items, and others, will be both examined and evaluated.
2. Exterior And Interior
When it comes to the interior and exterior of a structure, the inspector will look for any deteriorated or distressed conditions. They will also suggest potential repairs and the estimated range of costs. This distress and deterioration are generally conditions that are so extreme that they effect the stability and integrity of the building. A good example of this type of distress is weather tightness on siding and windows.
When an inspector is evaluating the roof conditions, they’ll take a close look at any evidence of leakage, roof surfacing, current performance, layers, type of roof, flashing, the condition of the gutters, and sheathing. If any of these require attention, they’ll inform you of possible repair options and their costs.
With framing, the goal of the engineer is to identify structural deficiencies, estimate the scope of required repairs and their cost. To do this, they’ll look at every visible and accessible portion of the framing. During this investigation, they’ll look for any deterioration, such as rot, insect activity, and wood deterioration. The extent of this investigation is just visual.
5. Crawl Space And Basement Water
The part of the inspection report that includes basement and crawl space water will provide a description of how adequate the water control systems are, as well as a description of any water related conditions. It could include everything from limitations of inspection to potential risks of water entry, along with possible repairs and their costs. To gain this information, the inspector will look at the condition and presence of water control systems equipment, excessive moisture on the premises, any evidence of water entry or water accumulation in the basement or crawl space, and surface draining conditions around the building.
When it comes to the foundation, the engineer will look for visible signs of significant deterioration or distress in the foundation. If any are found, they will provide you with possible repair solutions and the various costs. To accomplish this evaluation, the inspector will look at accessible portions of the foundation, including the wall, floor, slab and more. They will mainly look for attachment, bowing, movement, and cracks.
What Will Not Be Inspected?
1. Repair Designs
When it comes to most structural inspections, a review of potential repairs is not usual. While repair approaches and costs will be suggested, the scope of the inspection won’t include a review of actual designs of repairs. If such a service is required, sometimes it can be provided at an additional fee.
2. Fire Safety
Fire safety inspections are rarely included, but they can occasionally be added if requested.
An inspection of the systems within the building is not included in the inspection. These systems include, but are not limited to, electrical, plumbing, cooling and heating.
4. Hazardous Materials
Unless there is obvious evidence of hazardous material, the inspector will not evaluate for possible hazardous materials. A separate, more comprehensive evaluation that is specifically aimed at hazardous material identification would be necessary.
5. Code Compliance
Because a code compliance inspection depends on the status of codes at the time of building construction and its reliance on many structural components that can’t be visually inspected, not only is a code compliance inspection not included, but it’s likely not possible.
What Are The Potential Outcomes?
You will either receive a clean bill of health on the building or you won’t. And it’s good to remember that a few dents and damages here and there don’t mean you won’t be successful. In other words, just because cracks or leaks are found, doesn’t mean you won’t still get a clean bill of health. A crack could be caused by thermal damage rather than the structural integrity of the building being questioned.
But the end goal of the inspection isn’t to just get that clean bill of health. Instead, it is to gain the expertise that can only be provided by a structural engineering report. This report will identify the root cause of any damage so that not only can the damage be repaired, but so can the root cause, meaning no further damage will be caused in the future. This can be a huge time and money saver that pays off time and again over the course of weeks, months, years and decades.
Getting your home or building inspected can be an important step, not only in making a sale but also in creating peace of mind for the future of the property. To get more information or schedule an appointment, contact us.