Structural Workshop provides a unique blend of talents that put us at the forefront of Structural and Foundation Inspections and Structural and Foundation Repair for single and multi family residences. With licenses and extensive experience in both Residential Home Inspection and Design, Analysis, and Repair of Residential Structures we bring a unique set of qualifications to each inspection. If your Home Inspector calls for a Structural Engineer, don’t compromise when it comes to making such a large purchase. We will be the last call you need to make when dealing with a Structural or Foundation problem on a house you own, are selling, or are considering buying. Unlike most Engineering Firms, we have have extensive experience in dealing with the specific needs of this type of project. Our procedures are geared to maximize our client’s benefits and minimize their hassles. We understand what you are going through and the schedule you are on. We understand disclosure forms, real estate contracts, contingency periods, home inspection reports. We regularly deal with Home Inspectors, Realtors, and Attorneys. We accept all major credit cards.
Generally, we charge a flat fee for a visit to the home and a report. At this visit we will look at any Structural Items you would like us to or that were identified in your Home Inspection Report. We will consult with you at the visit to determine the best course of action. Most of the time we will write a follow up letter detailing what we found, possible causes, recommended solutions, and a rough construction cost estimate for the recommended repairs. If you decide to make the repairs, we can put you in touch with contractors who has been prescreened for reputability and qualifications to make structural and foundation repairs. If any additional Engineering work is required or anticipated the Contractor can include that in his quote and deal with us directly, saving you the hassle of dealing with more than one person. If you choose to use your own Contractor, we offer many additional services and you or your Contractor may choose to work with us directly.
We offer the following services on Single/Multi Family Structural Inspections:
- Structural Observation and Follow Up Letter
- Detailed Invasive Testing and Investigation if Required
- Design of Repairs
- Cost Estimating
- Construction Administration/Contractor Selection
- Coordination with Building Department/Permitting
- Pre-Construction Contractor Coordination
- Inspections During Construction
- Post-Construction Inspection and Certification Letters
For Homebuyers: Another Inspection, Another Check, Another Holdup?
Don’t panic if your Home Inspector has decided a Structural Engineer should have a closer look at something. Your Home Inspector most likely did you a favor. It can be daunting to have to schedule and pay for an additional inspection within the time constraints of a real estate purchase. Structural problems can potentially be the largest repair cost you will have in a new home and they usually are not considered routine maintenance that can be deferred. They have the potential to be significant safety risks. Engineering fees are minor compared to the cost of repairs that may need to be made after closing. An Engineering Inspection before closing is the best way to ensure you are buying a safe house and ensure a fair payment arrangement will be made with the seller prior to closing. We understand the time constraints of a real estate transaction and we understand that most homebuyers are not well versed in structural issues. Our goal is to get your inspection done as soon as possible and to clearly explain to you our findings so you can make an informed decision and be on a firm footing to negotiate payment for any necessary repairs.
Information on Typical Structural Home Defects
While there are many possible Structural defects in a residential structure the following are the most common. We have much more detailed information in our Reference Desk:
Cracked/Bowed Foundation Wall
It is common to find some cracking and/or movement in masonry basement walls. Some cracks are harmless, while others can be signs of significant problems. Many times this condition is caused by a water problem which also will need to be addressed. Sometimes a home seller will do a good job of covering up cosmetic signs of water damage and foundation wall problems will be the only sign of an intermittent water problem. Generally, the critical loading on a basement wall is the soil/water pressure behind it, not the wall above it. In general, horizontal cracking and movement is more of a concern than vertical cracking and movement. An Engineer can diagnose how serious these conditions are and design the appropriate repairs.
Electricians, Plumbers, Other Trades, and Homeowners sometimes cut or notch members of the houses framing system to accommodate their piping, wiring, or other work. There are guidelines for where and how large these cuts can be without compromising the integrity of the structural member. An Engineer can determine whether or not repairs are required.
This can be a typical, harmless sign of an aging structure, a sign of poor design/construction, or a sign of a structural failure requiring immediate repair. An Engineer can determine this and the appropriate repair method.
There are many causes of foundation settlement and, as with most problems, its severity and solution varies. An Engineer can evaluate how serious the condition is and design any required repairs.
This condition almost always needs to be repaired. Some Home Buyers will try to save money by hiring a carpenter to fix it. Carpenters are not trained to analyze the loading condition that caused the cracking, nor are they trained to calculate what is required to prevent it from happening again. This condition can also be a sign of a larger problem. Putting a band-aid on it may lead to larger issues in the future.
Roof Rafter Spread
When roof rafters rely on each other for support and balance they need to be braced to prevent them from pulling away from the ridge line and “sliding” down the roof. This is typically done with collar ties. It is common to see collar ties incorrectly or inadequately installed or not installed at all.
Wood Destroying Insect Damage
Damage by termites or other wood destroying insects needs to be repaired independently of any termite treatment plan. Sill plates are a very common area of damage. An Engineer can determine the extents of the repair and design a repair method that will ensure the safety of the rest of the structure during the repair. It is wise to have an Engineer design a repair scheme and method for more extensive termite repair to ensure the structure is sound during the repair and after the repair.
It is very common, especially in basements of older houses, to find temporary supports installed and relied on permanently. We are constantly amazed by the contraptions we find that were installed by some well meaning homeowner or carpenter. Sadly, some of these contraptions can be a major safety hazard. An Engineer can determine the adequacy of these repairs and design permanent repairs if required.
I’ve never seen that before
Yes, sometimes a Home Inspector will call for an Engineer because they find a condition they are not familiar with. It is better for the Home Inspector and for you to err on the side of caution. This is one reason why we review the Home Inspection Report and sometimes speak with the Home Inspector prior to visiting the house. We try to determine if we feel an inspection is necessary or only suggested.
Don’t Forget to Visit our Reference Desk when you are done here for more information!
To Reduce Your Hassles Even More-We Accept All Major Credit Cards!