An Introduction to Structural Engineering Reports

Have you noticed potential structural issues in your home? Is your roof noticeably sagging in spots, or is your chimney beginning to slide? If so, you’re probably going to need a little help from a structural engineer. These professionals come with the expertise and training you’ll need to begin addressing the structural integrity of your home. Whether you’re planning to sell, thinking about an addition or simply aiming to upgrade your living conditions, a structural inspection will give you a better idea of the condition of your home, as well as what areas (if any) are in need of repairs moving forward. These inspections typically include a visual observation of your home’s foundation, roof and assessable structural components, as permitted by site conditions. Depending on your home, prices can vary, but the resulting structural engineering report can lead to significant savings in the long run. Let’s take a closer look at a few things to keep in mind when obtaining a structural engineering report for your property.

The structure of your home is composed of more than just a foundation. Structural engineers are the most qualified people when it comes to determining the likely source of structural issues.

The way in which your home transfers loads to the ground can be complicated. Load-bearing walls, chimney breasts and other structural elements can make determining specific structural problems complicated. Structural engineers rely on the local building codes and civil engineering guides in order to evaluate properties for defects. When it comes to determining the likely source of potential structural problems, no professional is more qualified than a structural engineer. In addition to the obvious safety benefits, these reports are sometimes required in order to move forward with selling, refinancing or adding square footage onto an existing structure.

Structural inspections are used in a variety of circumstances to give invested parties a better idea of the structural performance and overall condition of a property.

Given their unbiased nature, structural engineering reports are the recognized standard for determining the structural integrity of a structure. In addition to being used to provide homeowners with more information about their residences, these reports are also commonly used during refinancing procedures. Similarly, if a buyer has questions about the structural condition of a property, these reports are sometimes written into purchase contracts, much like a common home inspection, to prevent costly issues down the road. Depending on the circumstances of a home, structural engineering reports can provide an affordable solution to address potentially expensive future repairs in a timely manner.

Depending on the condition of the property in question, you may require a report based on a specific structural problem or the entire structure. Knowing the difference can save you some money in inspection fees.

If your lender notices a specific warning sign of structural defects (such as cracking in external masonry), a specific defect report could be enough to satisfy their concern and move forward with refinancing procedures. However, this isn’t always the case. If there is cause for concern regarding the entire structure, a whole building report will be needed to assess the condition of the entire home. In this case, reports including what was observed, the source of any cracking, opinions about the cause of the problems, general recommendations for repairs and a conclusion indicating whether the home is safe and structurally sound for residents will be issued. While cracks aren’t always an indicator of a need for serious repair work, there’s no question regarding the importance of these reports to safety and peace of mind.

The actual cost of your structural engineering report will vary, but taking a look at the national average will give you an idea of what to expect.

As previously mentioned, structural engineering reports are far from a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. For example, if your home has a crawlspace, you’ll probably need to pay a bit more than those with a slab foundation. Similarly, inspections that focus on a single area of the home will also likely be less costly than a full structure report. With those variables in mind, the average reported costs range between $300 and $750. While this may seem expensive, it is an absolute bargain when compared to the damage that serious structural damage can cause if left unresolved. Whether you’re ready to refinance your current home or thinking of buying a new one, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for potential structural problems. If you see the warning signs, call in the experts for a structural engineering report, and minimize the probability of significant problems down the road.