646.757.4500 • 800.605.1500
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
646.757.4500 • 800.605.1500
An Engineer's inspection, a pre-purchase 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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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.
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.
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.
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 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 most smartphones, allowing you quick access to the report.
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.
Who Can Inspect For Termites?
There is misleading web information regarding termite inspections. You will see statements such as licensed termite inspector, New York 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.
Licensed Engineers look for evidence of termite activity as part of the pre-purchase inspections. The Engineer knows about termite evidence, what conditions invite termite activity, where termites are likely to be found, etc. In addition, a Licensed Engineer checks for structural damage caused by termites.
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.
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.
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 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.
During the inspection, the Licensed Engineer examines, analyzes, and/or reports on (as appropriate based on the building):
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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 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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