Home, Building, Condo, And
Co-op Inspection Basics
Insight Only An Engineer Offers
Home, Building, Condo, and Co-op Inspections
in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx,
Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland,
Putnam, and Westchester
An Engineer's inspection, a home and building 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 if you have questions. We are happy to help you.
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All of Heimer Engineering's Inspectors are State of New York Licensed Engineers. Therefore, everything on these pages is from the point of view of an Engineer.
After reading this webpage, look at the topics listed on the right side of this page. Choose what you want more information about and visit Web pages dedicated to specific inspection topics.
Heimer Engineering is a professional home and building inspection company. The company has performed over 80,000 inspections over 40 years. With a staff of experienced Licensed Engineers, your inspection needs can be quickly accommodated.
The purchase of a home, building, condo, or co-op is a major investment. A thorough evaluation gives you the advantage in making an intelligent purchase decision. The included expense analysis helps you understand the expenses of owning the home, building, condo, or co-op. Whether it is the purchase of a small home or a large building, Heimer Engineering provides an in-depth engineering examination.
The State of New York, in their online brochure What You Should Know About Professional Engineers and Their Services states one of the reasons that you should use an Engineer is to evaluate the structural integrity, electrical, and/or mechanical systems of a house prior to purchase or renovation.
Under the laws of the State of New York, only a Licensed Engineer can offer engineering services to the public. Some home inspection companies will tell you that they have an Engineer on staff, an Engineer reviews the reports, or that an Engineer helped them set up the inspection system. Having an Engineer on staff is not the same as having an inspection performed by a Licensed Engineer.
There was a time when real estate was less expensive and was purchased without concern about whether the home or building had major defects. If a real estate purchaser was unlucky enough to buy a building with significant defects, they suffered.
Today, buildings are older, more expensive, and have more defects. Buyers have many concerns that were not issues even a few years ago. Having a pre-purchase inspection performed by an Engineer has become an essential part of the real estate purchase process.
Five 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. An Inspector who is not an Engineer cannot advise you about structural soundness.
- You gain much, and loose nothing, by choosing a Licensed Engineer. A Professional Engineer does everything that a Home Inspector does, and more.
- Becoming a Licensed Engineer requires a minimum of four years of Engineering College and four years of relevant experience with Building Codes, Engineering Standards, passing two Engineering exams, etc. A Licensed Engineer is also required to take continuing education to keep up-to-date. A New York Licensed Home Inspector only needs to take only a 140-hour class, which is the equivalent of one month of training.
- 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. A non-Engineer can just describe what is visible. No assessment is made of how the systems work together.
- 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 can analyze areas of concern and provide you with reliable recommendations.
Section 197-4.2 of the State of New York home inspector law requires home inspectors to have the following wording in the pre-inspection agreement:
Home inspectors are not permitted to provide engineering or architectural services.
THINK about the above restriction and why it is required when choosing who should inspect the home, building, condo, or co-op you are considering purchasing.
Remember, with Heimer Engineering, you receive a home/building inspection, Engineering inspection, and termite inspection with no extra fees.
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 you with four inspection reports optimizes delivery of this information to you. All four reports are included in the home or building 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 all information risks providing you with inaccurate answers.
The On-Site Written Inspection Report is a short-form report that highlights the Engineer's major findings. This on-site report includes major issues such as 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 (and sometimes four) quality control reviews. The first quality control review is performed in the field before the report is submitted for processing. When the report arrives in the office, it receives a second quality control review before being drafted. After the report is drafted, it is processed through a third quality control review. If any questions are raised in any of the quality control reviews, the report goes through a fourth quality control review to answer any outstanding questions.
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 we provide is often sufficient. If there is termite evidence, then termite control measures need to be applied. 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. Engineering judgment is used to assess the condition of the systems in the building. The reports are not driven by a photograph-based inspection template or what photographs well.
The Engineer needs to look at what is important to you regardless of how the defect looks in a photograph. Heimer Engineering's pre-purchase inspection reports are based on how to best provide you with the information needed to make an informed decision.
Photographs are often included in Home Inspector's reports showing a gutter draining near a foundation wall, a crack in a path, some rotted wood trim, or siding shingles close to ground level. You never see photographs showing that the electrical service is insufficient, that the boiler is insufficient in size, or that a house is structurally unsound. If, for example, someone were to photograph an insufficient electrical service, it would still require a Licensed Engineer to interpret the photograph to determine the electrical service is insufficient. Almost every photograph in a Home Inspector's inspection report provides little, if any, meaningful information.
If you want to remember what a room looks like, take photos. 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. Photographs add color to a report, but you need a Licensed Engineer to interpret what is in the photograph.
Mobile-Friendly Inspection Reports
It is almost impossible to keep up with the changes that affect home purchasers. However, there is updated information available via the internet. Heimer Engineering's emailed reports contain links to websites that help you to learn more about your prospective purchase.
Many people regularly use their smartphones to read emails. Heimer Engineering emails you a PDF of the inspection report. These reports are designed to be mobile-friendly, and can be viewed on many smartphones, allowing you quick access to the report.
Is The Inspector A
Many inspection companies send out non-Engineer inspectors when the buyer expects 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 expect and are paying for Engineering services.
Section §197-4.2 of the State of New York State home inspector law requires non-Engineer home inspectors to have 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.
Who Can Inspect For Termites?
There is a lot of misleading information on the web regarding termite inspections. You will see statements such as licensed termite inspector, New York State licensed termite inspection, New York approved termite inspector, trained in termite inspections by New York, New York certified termite inspector, and many more.
The State of New York neither trains nor licenses termite inspectors. The State of New York licenses pesticide applicators and pesticide technicians. In the State of New York, you are required to be licensed to purchase or apply pesticides, including pesticides used in the control of termites.
Licensed Engineers inspect for termites in their role as Engineers. An Engineer is knowledgeable about what termite evidence looks like, what conditions make it likely termites will damage a building, where termites are most likely to be found, etc. In addition, a Licensed Engineer checks for structural damage caused by termites.
Termite inspections by pesticide applicators should be performed as part of the real estate purchase process after the stored material has been removed. In addition, termite inspections are performed as part of the normal maintenance of a building. The Licensed Engineer will advise you when termite inspections are needed as part of normal maintenance.
Why Pay Twice?
Heimer Engineering is often asked to perform an inspection after a non-Engineer has performed an inspection. The reason is the non-Engineer's report said, "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 inspection performed by an Engineer.
Heimer Engineering uses 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 with no extra fees.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to advise you of visible structural defects.
A pre-purchase inspection is not an environmental inspection. Pre-purchase inspection standards specifically exclude environmental inspections. Some companies imply that they are providing environmental inspections by pointing out environmental concerns. These inspectors often have limited environmental experience, and may unnecessarily alarm prospective purchasers.
Our Licensed Engineers point out environmental concerns just like other inspectors. However, Heimer Engineering will not deceive you by claiming that 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 aspects of the inspection such as the Inspector's relationship with the buyer, seller, real estate broker, etc. The Standards of Practice deals with aspects of the home inspection such as 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. In the event of a conflict between, or 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 as to what should be inspected.
The Licensed Engineer does not share the findings of the inspection with anyone other than our client and their Attorney. The Engineer is required to use any information obtained during the inspection only for the benefit of his client. If someone other than our client or their Attorney calls for information, we require your written authorization from you before we can speak with them.
Trust a Licensed Engineer to adhere to a Code of Ethics and follow a Standards of Practice.
Leaks And Thermal Imaging
Some home inspectors claim thermal imaging provides better information than traditional methods of inspection. Claims of a super-ability to detect leaks have been published. Thermal imaging is looking at the infrared emissions (essentially, the temperature) of an object.
Contrary to what some have claimed, thermal imaging cannot detect invisible leaks, concealed overheated wiring, structural defects, termite damage, old pipes, asbestos, and mold.
The initial inspection describes the condition of the site at the time of the inspection. Many things can change after the initial inspection. In addition to the emailed report, you receive an on-site report that can help you get adjustments at closing.
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 cause damage;
- 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.
After the Inspection
Just because you purchase a home or building does not mean that things are stagnant. Heimer Engineering sends out periodic emails to help you keep your home or building up to date. (You can opt out at any time). Among the emails we sent out over the last year:
During the inspection, the Licensed Engineer examines, analyzes, and/or reports on (as appropriate based on the building):
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Contact Heimer Engineering 24/7
We are happy to help you. 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, text us at 6602 0091 55, 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. Some inspection firms sell their client lists. These practices are unethical. 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 (fire, building in danger of collapse, facade with loose bricks, debris falling from a building, gas leak, etc.) do not call Heimer Engineering. If there is a life-threatening emergency or other hazardous condition, 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.
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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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2171 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 230
Commack, New York, USA 11725-2947
New York Metro Area: 800.605.1500
Bronx, New York: 718.547.2000
Brooklyn, New York: 718.237.7777
Manhattan, New York: 212.563.4777
Nassau County, New York: 516.487.2100
Putnam County, New York: 845.638.4900
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Staten Island, New York: 718.227.5000
Suffolk County, New York: 631.858.5500, 631.549.2500, 631.288.3900
Westchester County, New York: 914.576.6100
Fax: 631.858.5599, 646.795.4571
Coordinates: 40.8439215, -73.2871259
International Standard of Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) Revision 4 Classification: 71
North American Industry Classification System (SAISC) Classification: 541330, 541350