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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a building inspection?

There is no universally agreed upon definition of a building inspection. However, a Criterium-Lalancette Engineers' building inspection is the opinion of a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect on the current condition and future performance of the building's structural integrity and major systems, based on visual evidence.

How much does a building inspection cost?

Fees are determined by the size, age, location, complexity of the structure, and the service level you request.

Are inspections by engineers and architects more expensive?

Not necessarily; fees for services vary from company to company. Our fees may be higher in some cases when compared with others. However, many items which other companies either exclude or charge extra for are included in our Standard Inspection.

Do you inspect newly built structures?

Yes. Any building you own or are considering purchasing, whether antique or newly built, is a major investment. It is in your best interest to know everything you can about the property.

Will I be able to attend the inspection?

We encourage our clients to accompany the inspector on the inspection. It is the best way to learn about the property. It is also the perfect time to ask the inspector questions about specific concerns you may have and get input on any renovations you are planning. Our report will then address these specific concerns along with the items we normally cover.

Who gets a copy of the inspection report?

Your report is confidential and will only be given to other parties with your express written or verbal consent.

How quickly can I get my report?

Reports are typically completed within 2-3 working days of the inspection. Since we do not provide abbreviated reports or simple checklists as many companies do, you will not receive the report at the end of the inspection. Although we may verbally cover with you what we have observed, an on-site check list report is of extremely limited value. Our written report contains the full benefit of our deliberation on-site and after the inspection (in addition to our on-site checklist).

Is the building inspection industry regulated?

Along with appraisals and title searches, building inspections have become a standard part of the residential and commercial real estate process. Appraisers have come under increasing regulation in recent years. Some states such as Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, and New Hampshire license building inspectors. In July 2016 Vermont also enacted legislation requiring property inspectors to be licensed in the state. 

Many inspectors claim to be certified. What does this mean?

It is dependent on the organization providing the certification, often it means very little. There are some associations where a certified membership is generally obtained by simply paying a fee. Some, such as The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) do have more stringent requirements for certification. There is no real, meaningful control over these "certified" inspectors' qualifications or expertise.

How can I find a truly qualified building inspector?
 
One answer is to hire a licensed, Professional Engineer or Registered Architect. Professional Engineers and Registered Architects are qualified to evaluate all elements of the building and render their professional opinion as to the condition and soundness. Since they are regulated by the state in which they practice, their accountability and professionalism is assured.

How do you find an engineer for a building inspection?
  • The first step is to look for the P.E. designation after the inspector's name. Only licensed, Professional Engineers may use that designation. It may be displayed in corporate brochures, on business cards, and/or in their advertisements.
  • Ask to see the engineer's license, stamp, or seal. Many groups have created seals that are designed to look like professional seals, be sure to read it carefully. It should be issued by the state and contain a license number.
  • There are also organizations that consist of Professional Engineers, such as the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE).
  • Inquire as to the engineer's experience. They should have a background in building-related services such as inspections, facilities management, or design.
  • As with any service you intend to purchase, check references. Qualified engineers will be happy to provide you with a list of satisfied clients.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest. An engineer who recently inspected a building for another client will probably refuse to inspect it for you, unless he or she has permission from the previous client. The inspection report is provided to you in confidence.

What qualifications do licensed Professional Engineers have?

Engineers are licensed by the state in which they practice. At a minimum, they have completed an accredited, degreed engineering program, 4 years of work under the direction of other engineers, and have passed a comprehensive 2 day exam. They are bound by a code of ethics and state law to practice only in areas where they are qualified.