Are you buying or selling home or other building and have some concerns about the structural integrity or foundation? Are their cracks in the foundation, or do you have concerns about building in Colorado’s expansive soils? Take the guesswork out of your sale or purchase with a professional assessment from the structural engineers at Structurally Framed, Inc. We have over 15 years of experience assessing buildings and providing structural due-diligence to buyers and sellers. Call our professional Structural Engineers to find out if that cracked foundation is an issue or just a cosmetic blemish.
One specific type of condition assessment is referred to as a structural due-diligence. It is performed when a building (or other structure) is being sold to determine if there may be structural issues to help buyers and sellers with their decisions on the property. Whether you are selling a building or purchasing one, a structural due-diligence is highly recommended to help access the overall general structural “health” of the building, commercial or residential. Based on existing visible conditions it can provide some insight on how the building structure is performing and what should be considered to address observed issues. A structural due-diligence should be performed by a licensed professional engineer with experience investigating existing building structures.
Structural Due Diligence for Residential Homes
A structural due-diligence is more common with commercial buildings, however, it is also performed on residential buildings including single-family homes. A house or home inspector is often engaged to do an overall condition assessment of the residential house being sold or purchased. A structural engineer is typically not consulted unless the house inspector discovers an issue that they recommend a structure engineer to review. Although this may be appropriate or work with some houses, it leaves the home owner/buyer relying solely on a house inspector to make appropriate recommendations based on their brief observations for further review by a licensed professional structural engineer. As a result, minor distress may be overlooked due to the house inspector not understanding the significance of the observed distress, overlooking subtle signs or “clues” of potential structural issues and/or noting observed distress simply as “typical” or “common”.
A house inspector typically is not a licensed professional structural engineer (although some exist) and even in cases where they do have engineering background, their house inspections are not intended to be focused solely on the house structure. Therefore, during the limited time they have to focus on the house structure, they often look for obvious issues based on their training and experience. As a result, they may miss and/or overlook many subtle indications or clues of underlying problems with the house structure. Therefore, the house inspector may or may not recommend a structural engineer based on their experience and opinion.
Whether you are buying or selling the house, if subtle issues are overlooked or not reviewed by a professional structural engineer, they may become a significant issue further down the road that may be expensive to address. It is also not uncommon for owners to cover or cosmetically repair visible distress prior to selling a house. These repairs may not always be obvious or visible, however, many are not done to fully conceal the area of repair. A trained eye often can spot these areas.
One common example of an important clue to a potential underlying structural problem is with interior drywall cracks. Although these cracks may be “cosmetic” as it relates to the actual repair of the drywall crack, there is a reason they developed in the first place so they should not be overlooked or ignored. There are many reasons drywall cracks may develop. In general, it may be related to foundation issues, lateral issues, thermal issues, and deflection issues. All of these general issues may be significant to address and only a clue of a bigger issue going on with the structure. Foundation issues are common with many structures and can become very pricey to address. Just like a commercial building, a residential house is a big investment whether it is a property worth $100,000, $500,000 or over $1,000,000, a structural due-diligence can be very useful to learn more about the building structure and help with any decisions of selling or buying any building property.
Structurally Framed, Inc. (SFI) has extensive experience with investigating existing building structures, assessing existing conditions and providing recommendations on moving forward with further investigations and any necessary testing to help determine the cause(s) and in developing potential repairs. If you want to learn more about how SFI can help you with a structural due-diligence for commercial or residential building structures, contact us today.