What is a structural inspection?

A structural inspection provides an overview of the structural condition of the existing building structure and determines if existing symptoms have an underlying structural cause. Structural inspection is the emphasis on assessing the structural integrity of the existing structure and analyzing potential ways for the existing problem to escalate if left untreated. The following key steps are performed during the structural inspection:

  • A licensed engineer visits the site and visually inspects problematic areas of your structure. He looks for signs of structural deficiencies that may cause problems with the integrity of the building or its components.
  • The engineer provides the property owner with onsite consultation regarding the structural condition observed during his inspection.
  • As a final and most important step, the engineer writes a structural inspection report where he describes his findings and recommended solutions.

When and why would you need a structural inspection by an Engineer?

When you are purchasing, selling, rehabilitating or renovating your home and the following conditions are discovered:

  • Cracks, settling or bowing in the existing foundation walls.
  • Cracks in concrete slabs or stucco walls
  • Bowing (photo) or sagging in the walls and roof (photo).
  • Unstable, falling structures such as chimneys and retaining walls
  • Uneven floors, bulging or separating walls (photo), excessively deflected joists or beams (photo), deformed windows and doors, 
  • Damage to wooden members (floor joists, studs, etc.) by infestation of carpenter ants or termites (photo), or rot damage.

In addition, structural inspection is typically required:

  • During construction of new buildings.
  • When planning any alteration or building addition to existing structure to verify if the existing structure is capable of carrying additional loads.
  • When a mortgage company/bank needs an engineer’s opinion prior to writing a loan.
  • When the structure was subjected to fire, flood, water, high wind or vehicular (photo) damage.

What is the benefit of the having a structural inspection?

Property owner will: 

  • Get an understanding of the building’s current structural condition and if there are issues that need immediate attention. 
  • Get a stamped and signed document summarizing the engineer’s findings and consequent recommendations.

It should be noted that only a Licensed Professional Engineer can render an opinion as to the structural integrity of the home. Our opinion is typically accepted by lenders, insurance companies, real estate agencies, appraisers, and most government agencies.