646.757.4500 • 800.605.1500
Condo Inspections By
New York Licensed Engineers
Pre-Purchase Condo Inspections
Insight Only An Engineer
Condo Inspections in
Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx,
Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland,
Putnam, and Westchester
646.757.4500 • 800.605.1500
An Engineer's inspection, a pre-purchase condo inspection, and a termite inspection. You receive four reports: an onsite verbal report, an onsite written report, an emailed written report, and a termite report. Call 800.605.1500 or 646.757.4500 if you have questions. We are happy to help you.
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Four Reasons To Choose
A Licensed Engineer
- Under New York law, only a Licensed Engineer can assess structural integrity, sufficiency of electrical service or heating, etc. A Professional Engineer does everything that a Home Inspector does, and more. An Inspector who is not an Engineer cannot advise you about structural soundness.
- Becoming a Licensed Engineer requires a minimum of four years of Engineering College and four years of relevant experience with Building Codes and Engineering Standards, passing two Engineering exams, etc. A Licensed Engineer is also required to take continuing education classes to keep up-to-date.
- A Licensed Engineer assesses the systems of a building, and how they work together. A building has a structural system, a heating system, an electrical system, a plumbing system, etc. Both the function and the interaction of these systems must be evaluated.
- The Licensed Engineer's training and experience help him detect deficiencies that a non-Engineer would miss. Engineers are, by training and experience, problem solvers. An Engineer analyzes areas of concern and provides you with reliable recommendations.
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should choose a Licensed Engineer
Inspections Of Condo Units
In a condo unit, you are generally responsible for maintenance of interior areas. It is easy to look at a condominium and think that the repairs needed are minor. Heimer Engineering's Engineers help you understand the true condition of the condo.
You may be assessed for repairs outside your condo. For example, the cost of upcoming roof or boiler replacement may be assessed against all unit owners. If permitted access at the time of the inspection, Heimer Engineering checks important common areas.
Until the 1980s, condominium units were typically medium or high-rise buildings with many units. Often repairs were years in the future. This helped keep the assessment against an individual owner to a minimum.
Today, condos are much different than in the past. In the early 1980s, different types of condo units began to be created. Two, three, and four-family houses were converted into condos. Whole housing developments of detached houses were set up as condos.
Even medium and high-rise buildings have potential expenses. Common repairs could become assessments against all unit owners. The older the building, the greater the risk of a significant assessment. This is one of the reasons it is important to have an Engineer inspect the condo unit you are considering purchasing.
Home Inspector Versus Engineer
You may need to choose between a State of New York Licensed Home Inspector and a State of New York Licensed Engineer. Some Home Inspectors have posted webpages bashing Engineers, and making wild claims such as anyone can say he is a PE, and only a home inspector can evaluate the structure of an old building. Before you decide to use an Inspector over an Engineer, learn the truth.
Four Inspection Reports
A lot of information is collected during the inspection. Providing four inspection helps you understand the condition of the real estate you purchasing. All four reports are included in the inspection fee you are quoted.
The On-Site Verbal Inspection Report is the Engineer's discussion of the inspection findings with you. The on-site verbal report provides instant information and the opportunity to ask the Engineer questions.
You are welcome to accompany the Engineer during the inspection and ask questions. The appropriate time for the Engineer to answer questions is after he has completed walking through the site. Answering questions before gathering information risks providing you with inaccurate answers.
The On-Site Written Inspection Report is a short-form report that highlights the Engineer's findings. This on-site report includes heating, termites, leaks, structure, hot water, electrical system, roof, etc.
The Emailed Written Inspection Report includes information relevant to the inspected home or building and to real estate purchases in general. Details are provided about both major and minor findings. Additional information is included so you can make an informed decision about purchasing the real estate.
The Emailed Written Inspection Report goes three quality control reviews. The first quality control review is performed by the Engineer before the report is submitted for processing. When the report arrives in the office, it receives a second quality control review. After the report is drafted, it receives a third quality control review. Only after all of these reviews are you sent the report.
The Termite Inspection Report is a specialized report banks often need to issue a mortgage. If there is no termite evidence, the termite inspection report is often sufficient to issue a mortgage. If there is termite evidence, then termite control measures are needed. The firm that applies the termite control measures then issues a termite inspection report. Traditionally, termite control measures are paid for by the seller.
A Licensed Engineer's pre-purchase inspection is not performed to show you what the building looks like. You can see that yourself. Heimer Engineering's reports are not driven by a photograph-based commercial inspection report software. Heimer Engineering uses proprietary inspection report software written by a Licensed Engineer.
The Engineer assesses what is important to you regardless of how the defect looks in a photograph. Heimer Engineering's pre-purchase inspection reports are based on providing you with the information needed to make an informed decision.
Photographs included in Home Inspector's report may showing a gutter draining near a foundation wall, a crack in a path, rotted wood trim, or siding shingles close to ground level. You never see photographs showing the electrical service is insufficient, that the boiler is insufficient in size, or that a house is structurally unsound. The Licensed Engineer interprets the building's condition and provides that information in the report.
If you want to remember what a room looks like, take photos. Photographs add color to a report, but you need a Licensed Engineer to interpret what is in the photograph. A Licensed Engineer provides a professional opinion regarding structural soundness, sufficiency of the heating system, sufficiency of the hot water system, sufficiency of the electrical system, etc.
Is The Inspector A
Many inspection companies send out non-Engineer inspectors when the buyer requested a Licensed Engineer. At the site, the non-Engineer Inspector may promise a review by an Engineer in the office. It is unethical to send a non-Engineer when you think you receiving Engineering services.
Section §197-4.2 of the State of New York State home inspector law requires non-Engineer home inspectors to include the following wording in the pre-inspection agreement:
Home inspectors are not permitted to provide engineering or architectural services
In New York State, a Licensed Engineer can obtain a state-issued identification card. When the inspector arrives on site, ask to see the New York State Professional Engineer photo ID.
Why Pay Twice?
Heimer Engineering is often asked to perform an inspection after a non-Engineer has performed a home inspection. The reason is the non-Engineer's report stated, "Assessing the structural integrity of a building is beyond the scope of a standard building inspection." Assessing structural integrity is within the scope of a pre-purchase inspection performed by an Engineer.
Heimer Engineering uses State of New York Licensed Engineers to perform pre-purchase inspections. The Engineer will not tell you that assessing the structure is beyond the scope of an inspection.
Remember, with Heimer Engineering, you receive a home/building inspection, Engineering inspection, and termite inspection. This is all included in the fee you are quoted.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to advise you of visible structural defects.
Condos in the metro New York area have a heating system that keeps the condo comfortably warm during the winter months. In some newer buildings and condos, the heating system and air-conditioning system are combined.
The most common types of heating systems are forced hot air heat, hot water (or hydronic) heat, steam heat, and heat pumps. The source of fuel for the heating system can be oil, gas, or electricity.
You need to know whether the heating system will adequately heat the condo on cold days. Heimer Engineering assesses the sufficiency of the heating system. The Engineers also assess the age of the heating system, whether the heating system will need replacement soon, whether there are hazardous conditions, if the heating system is outdated, etc.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to assess the sufficiency of the heating system.
Hot Water System
Hot water is used for bathing and cleaning. Hot water serves a vital role in maintaining good health. To serve this role, hot water must be available at an appropriate temperature.
Most condos are served by a tankless hot water heater, a hot water heater with a storage tank, a hot water booster tank, or an indirect-fired hot water heater. It would be frustrating to move into your new condo, and find that you do not have enough hot water the first time you shower.
Heimer Engineering evaluates the hot water system in your condo and advise you if it is sufficient. You are also advised of the need to budget for upcoming replacement of the hot water system.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to assess the sufficiency of the hot water system.
Plumbing describes different systems in a building. Plumbing can mean fixtures such as a sink or tub, the pipes that bring water to the fixtures, the pipes that drain the sewage from the fixtures, gas supply lines, underground sprinkler systems, and heating pipes. Heimer Engineering checks the plumbing for function, leaks, sufficiency of water supply, etc.
One concern of many condo purchasers is plumbing leakage. Water dripping from a pipe is an obvious leak. Other types of leakage can be difficult to detect, since all that is visible is a stain on a ceiling or a piece of duct tape wrapped around a drain line. The Engineer inspects for both obvious leaks and difficult to detect leakage.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to assess the sufficiency of the plumbing system.
A modern condo requires electricity to run many of its vital systems such as lighting, heating, hot water, appliances, the air-conditioning, etc. Because many of today’s appliances require electric power, some older condos do not have enough circuits to support modern electrical usage demands.
Condos with insufficient electric service may not be old. Even a condo constructed 25 years ago may not have the electric wiring to support the today's needs.
Electric service insufficiency is often aggravated by owners who add appliances without properly upgrading the electric wiring. Even changing an electric oven to an electric self-cleaning oven may increase the electric loads to the point where the electric service needs to be upgraded. If an owner adds appliances without upgrading the electric service, a hazardous condition may be created.
Only a Licensed Electrician should open a circuit breaker or fuse panel because of the risks. An Inspector or anyone else who is not a Licensed Electrician should never open a circuit breaker or fuse panel.
A Licensed Electrician can correct hazardous conditions created by opening electrical panels. Someone who is not a Licensed Electrician lacks the experience to deal with hazardous conditions. If a problem develops because of opening the panel (for example, a circuit breaker becomes loose), the Inspector is not in a position to resolve the problem. A responsible home inspector will not open electrical panels.
Most communities require electricians to be licensed, and prohibit anyone other than a Licensed Electrician from performing electrical work. (Exceptions are made for homeowners wiring their own home.)
An experienced Engineer can determine the condition of the wiring by visual examination. The question is why do some home inspectors insist on opening the circuit breaker panel when it could create a hazard. Can't these home inspectors see the risks and hazards on the outside? Are these home inspectors missing wiring problems because of their narrow focus?
Trust a Licensed Engineer to assess the sufficiency of the electrical system.
Leaks And Thermal Imaging
Some home inspectors claim thermal imaging provides better information than traditional methods of inspection. Claims of an ability to detect leaks and hidden structural defects have been used in home inspection advertising.
Contrary to what some home inspectors claim, thermal imaging cannot detect invisible leaks, concealed overheated wiring, structural defects, termite damage, old pipes, asbestos, and mold. Thermal imaging is looking at the infrared emissions (essentially, the temperature) of an object. Thermal imaging provides no special ability to detect concealed defect.
A pre-purchase inspection is not an environmental inspection. Pre-purchase inspection standards specifically exclude environmental inspections. Some companies imply they are providing environmental inspections by pointing out environmental concerns. These inspectors often have limited environmental experience, and may unnecessarily alarm real estate purchasers.
Our Licensed Engineers point out environmental concerns just like other inspectors. However, Heimer Engineering will not deceive you by claiming the pre-purchase inspection is an environmental inspection.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to advise you of environmental concerns.
Code Of Ethics
Standards Of Practice
A Home Inspector's Code of Ethics deals with non-inspection issues such as the Inspector's relationship with the buyer, seller, real estate broker, etc. The Standards of Practice deals with what is inspected, what the client can expect, what an inspector is permitted to do, etc.
The Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering substantially adhere to multiple home inspection codes of ethics and standards of practice. If the Code of Ethics or Standards of Practice conflict with the Licensed Engineer's responsibility to his client, the Licensed Engineer will use his professional judgment.
The Licensed Engineer does not share the inspection findings with anyone other than our client and their Attorney. The Engineer is required to use information obtained during the inspection only for the benefit of his client. If someone other than the client or their Attorney calls for information, we require the client's written authorization before we can speak with them.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to adhere to a Code of Ethics and follow a Standards of Practice.
A pre-purchase inspection describes the condition of the site at the time of the inspection. The condition of the building can change after the initial inspection. A pre-closing inspection helps you find out what has changed.
A pre-closing inspection is important because:
- Furniture and stored material should have been removed, providing access to more areas and possibly exposing defects;
- Leaks may have develop after the original inspection;
- A system that was functioning during the original inspection may break;
- During the winter, pipes may freeze;
- A strong storm, neighborhood construction, very hot or very cold weather, etc. may damage the building;
- Equipment or appliances may fail;
- A repair the seller makes may be improper;
- And many, many more changes can occur.
The best way to protect yourself is a pre-closing inspection. The Licensed Engineer returns to the site just before closing, and checks to determine what has changed. A pre-closing inspection gives you the opportunity to have adjustments made at closing.
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Contact Heimer Engineering 24/7
Heimer Engineering is happy to help you. Staff members are available to answer your questions from Monday through Friday from 9:15 AM to 5:00 PM. Messages are checked Sunday evening through Thursday evening. Inspections are performed seven days a week.
To set up an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection, or to find out about Engineering services or expert court testimony, click below for a contact form, send us an email, send a text to 888.769.6910, call 646.757.4500, or call 800.605.1500. If no staff member is in the office, leave a message. Remember to ask about a web discount.
Heimer Engineering serves the Metro New York area, including New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island), Long Island (Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Upstate New York (Rockland County, Putnam County, and Westchester County).
Heimer Engineering respects your privacy. Some inspection firms share information with insurance, landscaping, home maintenance, moving, cable, mortgage, and other companies. You will not receive phone calls or solicitation emails from third parties as a result of providing personal information.
In the event of a life-threatening emergency call 911. Emergency situations need to be handled by first-responders who can evacuate buildings, shut utilities off, and take other steps necessary to preserve life.
In addition to the webpage discount, discounts are available for referrals (attorney, real estate broker, mortgage broker, co-worker, friend) first time buyers, senior citizens, military (army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard), first responders (police, ambulance, fire), municipal employees, security personnel, and union members.
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Heimer Engineering performs home inspections, building inspections, condominium inspections, and co-op inspections in the State of New York. We do not perform inspections or recommend Inspectors or Engineers outside of the State of New York. We provide Licensed Professional Engineer consultation services including hurricane and storm damage and damage from adjoining construction. Expert witness services are provided regarding playground injuries, parking lot, walkway, and stairway slip, trip, and fall.
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