Have you experienced damage to your home or commercial building and need a Structural Condition Assessment? Call the professional Structural Engineers at Structurally Framed, Inc. With over 15 year experience along Colorado’s Front Range, we understand the unique issues that buildings, structures and houses are exposed to. From flooding, expansive soil issues, fire and other damage, we can assess the condition, or verify the building has been safely restored and has the proper structural integrity.
A structural condition assessment is an evaluation of an existing structure to help determine its current condition. It is necessary to assess a specific structural building issue, establish existing conditions, or determine structural requirements for proposed structural changes. They vary in purpose, level of involvement and detail. As a result, they are dependent on the overall goal of the investigation.
A structural condition assessment is performed by licensed professional structural engineers experienced with a wide variety of structural framing, analysis, design, materials and field investigations of existing structural problems. They are structural investigations that generally involve review of available documents and known history of the structure, visual observations, measurements, hands-on review, engineering analysis, verbal consultation and a written report, if necessary. Depending on the extent of evaluation required, testing of materials and more extensive or detailed analysis may be required.
What can a structural condition assessment be used for?
- Structural due-diligence (buying or selling properties with structures)
- Building issues (i.e. distress, deterioration, cracks, vertical movement)
- Building structural changes (i.e. additions, renovations, remodels)
What are some of the benefits of a structural condition assessment?
- Establish general existing conditions
- Determine if there may be structural problems and/or concerns
- Evaluate a specific known structural issue
- Develop direction of further investigations
- Develop direction of potential repairs
When selling or purchasing real estate properties, the condition of structures that are part of that property are often not known. A structural condition assessment helps establish existing conditions. Although a known structural building issue may turn out to be a specific isolated issue, it may also be an indication of a much larger or more extensive problem affecting the building structure. A structural condition assessment will help the structural engineer determine the direction of further work that may be required to help properly define the cause(s) and extent of the issue being investigated. If the cause(s) is not understood, it may not be properly addressed. As a result, any repairs of building issues performed without understanding and addressing the cause(s) may reoccur and/or worsen. In some cases, repairs of the building issues are necessary and/or acceptable to proceed regardless of whether the cause(s) is understood and addressed.
What can I typically expect from a structural condition assessment?
These investigations may only allow time to make observations during one site visit such as for a structural due-diligence or they may require on-going investigations. They are dependent on the goal and reason for the structural condition assessment. Many of these assessments only require a verbal consultation of findings and recommendations to help owners with decisions to move forward, while others may require a written report. When written reports are provided, they are detailed by nature and generally include, but not limited to, the building known history, information, observations, findings and recommendations based on the performed investigations. If appropriate, a letter summary may be provided as an option to a detailed report.
Why should I use a structural engineer for a structural condition assessment?
Repair contractors may initially be contacted by property owners or property managers to review existing building issues. Although many contractors are highly qualified and experienced with repairing structural building issues and some may even do their own initial assessment to provide some direction to address a building issue, it is important to consult a licensed professional structural engineer experienced in structural investigations to perform an independent structural condition assessment and to develop the direction of any structural repairs.
Underlying building structural issues are often hidden and only subtle signs or indications may be present. These signs may easily be overlooked or dismissed as “typical cracking” or “cosmetic” in nature by a contractor or building/house inspector not experienced with structural design, analysis, structural framing, materials and solving structural problems based on field observations of various building issues. As a result, in appropriate repairs may be recommended and constructed by a contractor and/or structural issues may continue to worsen and become more expensive to address as time passes. 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 condition assessment of a specific structural issue or a structural due-diligence, contact us today.