When Do I Need a Structural Inspection?

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As a homeowner or real estate investor, you know that most properties go through an inspection before closing. However, many buyers might not realize the benefits of a structural inspection, as well. While a general inspection will point out items needing fixing, a structural inspection will let a buyer or investor know the structural integrity of a building. Ignoring the need for a structural inspection can lead to the costliest features to repair. But does every home or building need a structural inspection? Here are some helpful pieces of advice when deciding.

A well executed structural inspection begins with having the right team and process.

Structural movement

When viewing a home, you may notice cracks in the ceilings or walls. While some signs of settling are normal, there are times when cracks serve as warnings of a larger structural problem. Most settling occurs within the first 10 years of a home build, the majority taking place in the home’s first 3-5 years. After the 10-year mark, movement should be minimal. If the home you’re buying is older than 10 years with signs of bigger movement, an inspection would be wise. Some mortgage lenders may also require a structural assessment, but even if it’s not required, it’s good to know what underlying structural issues might be present in order to assess the cost of repairs.

Foundational issues

Since foundation repairs can be very expensive, you’ll want to know what those costs might be and negotiate them in your closing. Anytime you notice bowed walls when buying a home, you’ll want to get a structural inspection. However, structural inspections are not just for new home purchases. Anytime remodeling might include the removal of a load-bearing wall or installation of an additional load in your home, a structural engineer should be consulted to make sure everything is done correctly to avoid major problems later.

Storm damage

In states with a high prevalence of natural disasters, it’s always a good idea to follow a general inspection with a structural inspection. Severe weather and natural disasters can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of a building. While sellers must disclose major problems experienced during their ownership of the property, the extent of damage a home might experience during a storm is not always obvious. This is especially true in states like Florida that see at least one hurricane every year. Over time, storm damage can affect structural components of homes and buildings. Again, these are costly repairs, so you want to have a structural engineer analyze potential expenses.

Determining structural integrity begins with having the right inspection team. DOP Engineering takes a hands-on approach to inspections. Before you close on your new home or investment, give us a call to schedule your structural inspection.