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Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

Maybe this is the wrong thread, but here goes...

I am a structural engineer working as a consultant for local architects and contractors. Although I did not begin with a specific niche, recently my primary focus and client base has been structural inspections and assessments. I receive many calls from individuals about performing home inspections for real estate transactions. In the past I have referred them to the full time home inspectors in the area. With the retirement of a couple home inspectors and in an effort to increase workload in down times, I have kicked around the idea of providing these services to the real estate community in my area.

To those who are on their own... Do you/Have you considered providing this service, or have thoughts on this idea?

FYI...my practice is PA, with the occasional job in MD or NY.

RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

This is what I do all day - not full home inspections, but the structural side of them. I love it. My work comes when the inspector finds a structural issue that is beyond his or her comfort to make a call. It's great because I could care less about HVAC or plumbing (sorry, MechE folks!) but I love helping people know their homes are structurally safe.

I market myself to the realtors directly, since they're the ones the buyers/sellers ask for references.

RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

I don't see a problem. But home inspections entail much more than structural. slta has a good idea in doing just the structural side of things. But if you are planning on doing the actual inspection, plan on investing a lot of time in learning other disciplines such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and especially fire codes.

Eastern United States

"If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death!"
~Code of Hammurabi

RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

Isn't home inspections for realtors (for the purpose of protecting homebuyers) a profession you need to be certified, licensed, and registered with your state? Separate from your PE license, I mean

It is here in AZ.

I occasionally perform a struct insp if the Certified Home Inspector sees a crack, and he is not sure what is causing it.

My PE stamp makes this legal.

RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?


The home inspector for my home here in Ontario, Canada turned out to be a Certified Engineering Technologist, just like me. I forgot to ask him what he was trained in. In general, a technologist will have a three year college diploma, rather than a four year college degree. Quite a few Ontario CETs are home inspectors.

My home inspector, and any other home inspector in their right mind, has insurance.

My insurance company was very, very inquisitive about the wiring in my 50+ years old house. They were not interested in much else.

Try searching for Home Inspection on Eng-Tips. There are quite a few message threads.


RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

Upjengnr04....in many states, having a PE supersedes the home inspector certification.

One problem with doing these as a transaction task is that you are competing with cheaper competition, but held to a higher standard than they are if something goes wrong. An engineer has a broader and deeper knowledge base than a home inspector and therefore is expected to apply such in each undertaking. Further, engineers are licensed.... Only a few states require actual licensing of home inspectors. Most just hold some certification from ASHI or similar and a registration with the state at best.

Don't undervalue or devalue your services.

RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

My business by volume:
Commercial due diligence 60%
Depreciation studies 10%
Forensic inspections 10%
Residential structural 10%
Residential home inspection 10%

HI helps fill in the gaps, in my case. I don't actively market for it. Just word of mouth. As for competing, I'm not as cheap as a regular HI, and I let folks know that up front. I'm a better choice for them if their home is old or appears to have problems.

RE: Engineers and home inspections.....good idea?

Kinda thinking along Ron's wavelength.....
You have a higher qualification and corresponding accountability. I'm not thinking this means you shouldn't do it but that you should phrase your proposal's disclaimer wording appropriately.
As an example, as I am sometimes called upon to investigate a roof structure for adequacy of strength to support some new supported equipment. Whereas I am measuring and analyzing a few joists and girders, I can imagine my client, innocently (?), stating to a property buyer or insurer or lessor, "o yea! I just had a structural engineer in this building, and he says its fine!" No, I did not X-ray the concrete etcetera.

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