A survey from 2019 revealed that 86% of those who contacted a home inspector found at least one issue with their house that needed to be addressed.
While home inspectors and contractors are great at identifying issues, you still need other experts to give you the scope of the issue.
But who can answer those questions? Where should you turn to for a full structural inspection?
This is where a structural engineer inspection comes in handy. These engineers will inspect the structural integrity and foundations of your home. They’ll analyze these details and provide added safety for you and your family.
In this article, we’ll be answering some key questions surrounding what a structural engineer does and why you need an inspection.
What Is a Structural Engineer?
Structural engineering is a specialty within civil engineering. It has a lot to do with creating drawings, writing specifications, calculating figures, and reviewing the work of other engineers.
Structural engineers require a special license, which can only be obtained after completing a specific amount of education and experience.
Most of a structural engineer’s work has to do with relating the amount of physical force with force-resisting elements. They focus on how safe a construction project is and work with architects and surveyors.
Why Do You Need a Structural Engineer?
You might be wondering why you can’t just call an architect or a contractor to perform an inspection. After all, those professionals are certainly great at detecting early signs of a structural issue.
The reason why you need a structural engineer to assess your home is that they can analyze the severity of a structural issue. They’re experienced in structural analysis and engineering design.
This means structural engineers can also find out what is causing the issue. In most cases, they’re the most qualified in finding the best solutions as well.
While architects are great at building aesthetically-pleasing homes, structural engineers take care of the safety components. They look at what material helps support the structure of your home.
Generally speaking, structural engineers look at how strong your home’s foundation is.
What Is a Structural Engineer Inspection?
So what does a structural engineer inspection entail? What does it really look like?
A structural engineer inspection is a mostly visual process where an engineer evaluates the structural integrity of your home. They also assess things like beaming, posts, and other weight-bearing components.
Homeowners typically call for a structural engineer inspection when they have questions about their home’s structural integrity. You might analyze one part of your house or even the entire thing.
Some of the most common reasons for getting a structural engineer inspection include:
- When you find cracks in your walls
- When you want to remove a wall during a renovation
- Adding an additional story to your home
- Adding additions like solar panels to the roof
Remember that structural engineers look at the foundation or other weight-bearing factors. Regular home inspectors might look at things like HVAC, plumbing, or your floors.
When Do You Need a Structural Engineer?
Knowing when to call a structural engineer is important if you want to uphold the integrity of your home. The following situations are the most common:
Selling Your Home
Homeowners want to get the most out of their current home on the market, which means they have to take care of a few logistics. This might include addressing some cracks or questions about their home’s foundation.
It helps sellers know which issues are worth fixing. This helps price their homes accordingly.
If sellers learn of any structural issues during an inspection, they’ll have a better idea of what to do before putting the house on the market. Engineers give you a scope of the issues and will even help you obtain building permits.
If you’ve been living in your home for a while and notice some cracks appearing on a wall that you aren’t fond of, it’s tempting to get it removed. But doing so haphazardly can spell disaster.
A structural engineer inspection can assess what the situation is and the scope of the issue. They’ll give you a quote for what steps you should take.
This goes for other renovation ideas you might have. Some states require you to get a structural engineer inspection to get building permits for renovations.
Buying a Home
When applying for a mortgage, some homeowners like to get an inspection done on their new home. This often starts with a regular home inspection but can escalate to a full structural engineer inspection.
By getting an inspection done, you can decide whether it’s worth it to buy that home. It can also be used to negotiate a fairer price for repairs.
Small cracks on your foundation usually aren’t too concerning. Anything over a quarter inch in size, however, definitely needs an inspection.
Unchecked foundation issues can lead to leaks, flooding, or something more serious. It’s better to find out the root of the issue now than later.
Damage to Your Home
Your contractor might look at your home after a storm and assess that there’s damage. If your insurance company doesn’t agree, a structural engineer inspection can get you a second opinion.
Since these engineers are qualified third-parties, they hold a lot of sway during insurance talks. They can also provide a reliable quote for how to deal with potential storm damage.
How Much Does a Structural Engineer Inspection Cost?
Most structural engineers charge by the hour. The average rates hover around $200 to $350 an hour.
For a simple inspection, like an assessment for a single wall in your home, that would cost you about $400 to $700.
With that being said, not all jobs are going to take just a couple of hours. In fact, structural engineers won’t even know until they’ve seen the issue onsite.
That’s why you need a reliable quote before going forward with a full inspection.
An architect might have an entire plan set for your home, which means you need a full-house inspection. This can cost up to $3,000 to even $7,000.
Since some homes are more complex than others, prices can vary greatly. Get a quote from a structural engineer to get a better grasp on your budget.
Need a Structural Engineer?
A structural engineer inspection is key for maintaining your home, keeping your family safe, and increasing the value of your house on the market. Use this guide to understand why you might need an inspection today.
Looking for reliable structural engineers? Contact us today and we can get you in touch with a great candidate!