By Julie Scott
1.When you’re buying or building a house
If you’re buying a property to invest or live in, you should always hire a structural engineering inspector to assess the condition of the property. You don’t want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a faulty property, yet we see many purchasers objecting to this due to the cost. They’ll either go with an unqualified inspector or conduct no inspection at all. This is very risky! Imagine what the costs could be if the house is collapsing and needs extensive work done in the next few years. If your inspection does show a problem, you can use that information to negotiate a new deal to compensate for the probable costs of rectifying the issues, or save yourself from buying a property that needs too much work done to it.
2. When you’re trying to sell your home
If you have a house you are wanting to sell in a competitive property market, a professional inspection may give you the edge when selling. A third-party report that shows your property is in great condition can save potential buyers the stress of not being sure what condition the house is in. This can be great if you are auctioning to drive up the bidding. The common objection we hear against conducting an inspection when selling a house is the reliability of the report. Some buyers may be concerned about how truthful the report is if it’s purchased by the property seller. The truth is, the report is one hundred percent reliable since the structural engineer’s reputation is at stake. If they report a building is structural sound yet it’s found to have issues, they will be liable. The risk is far too great.
3. After flooding & other natural disasters
Ground movement due to flooding or other natural disasters is a common cause for structural damage. While the house might be repaired cosmetically from damage, the potential damage that you can’t see is of great concern. It is worth having your house professionally checked so you can use the reports if you need to challenge an insurance company. You may think that the insurance company will take care of your property damage without question, but the truth is, insurance companies are not obligated to check your property for unseen damage. It wouldn’t be the first time an insurance company tried to skimp on repair costs so it’s in your best interest to have independent advice from a qualified structural engineer.
4. When you notice movement in your existing home
If you’ve noticed that your floors are no longer even and are starting to tilt to one or two corners of the home, you definitely need to hire an inspector. This is one of the biggest signs of misaligned foundations and is likely caused by your foundations starting to crumble underneath the weight of the house. The common objection to hiring an inspector at this time is the belief that it can wait. The truth is, if you deal with it soon enough, you may be able to minimize the damage and costs to recify the situation. Similar to when the floor slopes, windows or doors that are jammed shut or that no longer fit into their frames are another tell-tale sign of structural issues. When a house’s foundations misalign it causes frames to move ever so slightly and prevent the fittings from operating properly. While some movement can be expected, particularly in new homes that need to settle, excessive movement is not normal and can be expensive to fix if it’s left to long. Likewise, if you notice cracks in your walls, it’s time to have it inspected.
What can we conclude?
Hiring a structural engineer to inspect residential property is a worthwhile investment that can save you many thousands of dollars in the long run. It’s not worth cutting corners and hiring someone who is unqualified or trying to do your property inspection yourself. Get the experts in!