If you are buying or selling a home, I recommend you get a building and pest report every time. Not from a structural engineer – although some structural engineers can do this work – but by a full time pre-purchase building inspector. I’m a structural engineer and I always engage a professional building inspector when I buy a property – and I’ll tell you why.
Pre-purchase Building inspectors do a great job!
It’s that easy. They climb into places that I refuse to go. They find defects that no one else has ever found – particularly in roof spaces. The see problems and report on them and make you as a buyer aware of most of the issues in a building. You can then make an informed decision about your purchase.
I’ve heard people say that the exclusions and the disclaimers make most of the report void. I disagree. Certainly the risk of being sued for missing a defect compared the small fee that building inspectors receive isn’t worth it. However the information in a building report is definitely worth it. It is DEFINITELY worth it.
Should you Hire A Structural Engineer to do a Pre-Purchase Inspection?
My opinion is that “No. You should not use a structural engineer for a pre-purchase inspection”. Why? Structural engineers are very, very good at solving building problems but they aren’t quite as good at finding problems. Structural engineers can see what you can see when it comes to defects. They might be able to say WHY a defect has occurred, but I don’t recommend them for finding the problem in the first place.
Structural Engineer Home Inspections
I think structural engineers are exceptional at diagnosing problems in a building once they have been found. I suggest a pre-purchase inspection be complemented by a structural engineer’s inspection IF structural defects are found in your property.
I personally have been to lots of properties after a building and pest inspection. The role I play in fixing damage is described better in my post about how to fix cracks in your house.
So please, use a pre-purchase building inspector if you are buying a property. Engage a structural engineer if the inspection report finds structural issues that need diagnosis and rectification. it’s what we do. Good luck with your purchase!
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