Home, Building, Condo, and
Co-op Inspection Basics
Insight Only Heimer Engineering℠
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This webpage contains general information on pre-purchase home, building, condo, new condo punch list, and co-op inspections. You can scroll down, or choose one of the following targeted information webpages.
Why Choose Heimer Engineering℠?
- Heimer Engineering℠ uses only State of New York Licensed Professional Engineers to perform pre-purchase home, building, condo, and co-op inspections. You will not have to pay for a second inspection to check the structure
- Heimer Engineering℠ provides you with an on-site verbal report, an on-site summary report, a termite report, and a full emailed written report.
- The Better Business Bureau gives Heimer Engineering℠ an A+ rating.
- Heimer Engineering's℠ reports are emailed in mobile-friendly smartphone accessible PDF format.
- Heimer Engineering℠ includes cost factors where applicable in the written reports. This helps you understand the cost of needed repairs.
- Heimer Engineering℠ is a full-time Engineering company. Heimer Engineering℠ is here for you. You can always reach Heimer Engineering's℠ owner Harold Krongelb PE at 646.757.4511 or HK@heimer.com.
- Read on for more reasons to choose Heimer Engineering℠.
Six Reasons to Choose
- A Licensed Engineer does everything that a Home Inspector does, and more. A Home Inspector who is not a Licensed Engineer cannot advise you about structural soundness.
- Heimer Engineering's℠ inspection reports go through multiple quality control steps. Don't settle for an instant report that with its instant report errors.
- Becoming a Licensed Engineer requires a minimum of four years of Engineering College and four years of relevant experience, and passing two Engineering exams. A Licensed Engineer is required to take continuing education classes.
- Engineers seek solutions. When unusual conditions are found, Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer acts as a detective to find the cause.
- Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers assesses the systems of a building and how they work together. Both the function and the interaction of these systems must be evaluated.
- Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers' training and experience help them detect deficiencies non-Engineers would miss. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers analyze areas of concern and provides you with Engineering recommendations.
Home Inspector Versus Heimer Engineering℠
Some Home Inspectors have 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, learn the truth.
You may be told, "You shouldn't use an Engineer because they have so many disclaimers in their report". Heimer Engineering℠ discloses limitation in the report. There are two reasons for this:
- Heimer Engineering℠ is doing more for you than an ordinary Home Inspector. Naturally, there are more limitations that need to be disclosed to you.
- A non-Engineer Home Inspector can use a simple disclaimer: "I'm not an Engineer". Heimer Engineering℠ needs to be specific because much more is inspected.
Why Pay Twice?
Why risk having a low-cost or inexperienced inspector tell you, "only a Licensed Engineer can tell you if this crack is structural".
Heimer Engineering's℠ is often asked to perform an inspection after a non-Engineer has performed a home inspection. 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 Licensed Engineer's inspection.
One of the biggest concerns of home and building buyers is the structure. Fortunately, structural defects are less common in the Metro New York area than in some other parts of the country. Building codes help limit the number of structural defects.
If you buy a house or building with a structural defect, the fact that most buildings in the New York area do not have structural defects is of little comfort. You want to know if the home or building is structurally sound. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers provide you with this information.
Some home and building buyers believe structural defects are only a concern in older buildings. Other real estate purchasers feel they can find structural defects by "looking carefully". Still other home and building buyers feel that an old house that is standing must have no structural defects.
There are non-Engineer home inspectors who advocate the "bounce test." They jump on the floor and if they do not feel the floor bounce, the house or building is declared structurally sound. In the State of New York, only a Licensed Engineer can render an opinion as to whether a home or building is structurally sound. Do not be fooled by someone offering the "bounce test".
Water in the Basement
Home and building purchasers are concerned that basement water indicates a structural problem. Most foundation walls have cracks, so basement water does not necessarily indicate a structural defect. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers advise you as to whether foundation walls cracks are structurally significant.
Most houses and buildings do not regularly have water in the basement, but are damp during part of the year. If the basement is damp, it may affect your ability to store personal belongings. Basement dampness is a concern to people with allergies or other medical conditions because dampness can increase the risk of mold.
Most houses and buildings are not inspected during heavy rain. When inspecting a house or building on a dry day, Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer looks for water evidence in the basement to determine what you can expect during a heavy rain or with melting snow.
Houses and buildings in the Metro New York area have a heating system. The heating system keeps the home or building comfortably warm during the winter months. In many newer homes and buildings, the heating system and air conditioning system are combined.
The most common types of heating systems found in homes and buildings are forced hot air, hot water (or hydronic), steam, 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 home or building. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers assess the sufficiency of the heating system. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer also assess the age of the heating system, if there are hazardous conditions, if the heating system is outdated, etc.
Hot Water System
Homes and buildings have 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 home or building, and find that you do not have enough hot water the first time you shower.
Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers evaluate the hot water system and advise you if it is sufficient. You are also advised of the need to budget for upcoming replacement of the hot water system.
Plumbing describes different systems in a house or building. Plumbing means fixtures such as a sink or tub, the pipes that supply water, the pipes that drain the sewage, the gas lines, underground sprinkler systems, and heating pipes. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers check the plumbing for function, leaks, sufficiency of water supply, etc.
One concern of many home and building 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. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer inspects for both obvious leaks and difficult to detect plumbing leakage.
The roof keeps rain and other weather elements out of the house or building. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer evaluates the roof and estimates the remaining life on the roof. Evidence of past or present roof leakage is also assessed.
Most roofs are made of asphalt, slate, or clay tile. If the Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer finds that a roof leaks, needs repairs, or will soon need replacement, an expense analysis of the needed repairs and replacement is provided.
If the house or building has an accessible attic, Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer examines for roof leakage and sheathing damage. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer also check for insufficient attic insulation and ventilation.
Some Home Inspectors advocate walking on pitched asphalt, slate, and terracotta tile roofs. There are Home Inspectors who lift asphalt roof shingles to determine how they were installed. This may seem like a good way to check a roof, but it can damage the roof. The slates, cedar shingles, or terracotta tiles may suffer damage that causes the roof to leak.
Asphalt roof shingles are self-sealing. Lifting an asphalt roof shingle damages the seal. There is no way to examine the membrane under the roof shingles. Some roofing manufacturers will void a roof warranty if they determine damage was caused by an inspector on the roof.
Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers determine the condition of the roof by visual examination. If a Home Inspector needs to walk on the roof or lift the shingles, you should ask; Why can't this inspector determine the condition of the roof visually? Can't this Home Inspector see that the roof shingles are old? Can't this Home Inspector see that the roof shingles are irregular?
In some cases, it is not possible to safely observe the roof. The roof may not be visible because of local topology, because the roof is covered with snow, because there is no roof access hatch, or because the roof access hatch has been sealed.
If the roof is not visible, Heimer Engineering℠ uses available satellite images of the roof to assess the roof. This includes historical satellite images, which can allow the roof history to be determined.
The myth of needing to climb on a roof or use a ladder to view the roof came from roofers who went into the home inspection business part-time. Today, very few Home Inspectors climb on the roof or use a ladder to get a closer look at the roof.
A modern house or building requires electricity to run systems such as lighting, heating, hot water, appliances, the air-conditioning, etc. Because many appliances require electric power, some existing homes do not have enough circuits to support modern electrical demands.
Homes and buildings with insufficient electric service may not be old. Even a house or building constructed 25 years ago may not have the electric wiring to support the today's needs.
Electric service insufficiency is aggravated by owners who add appliances without upgrading the wiring. If a home or building owner adds appliances without upgrading the electric service, a hazardous condition may be created. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers check for sufficiency of the electrical system, and look for other wiring issues.
Only a Licensed Electrician should open a circuit breaker because of the risks. A Licensed Electrician can correct hazards created by opening electrical panels. Someone who is not a Licensed Electrician lacks the experience to deal with hazards. If a problem develops because of opening the panel, the Inspector is not in a position to resolve the problem. A responsible Home Inspector will not open electrical panels.
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.)
Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineers 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 creates 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?
Termites can structurally damage a building. Years ago, it was considered sufficient to have only a termite inspection performed before purchasing a home or building. If there was no evidence of a termite infestation, it was incorrectly assumed the building had no structural damage.
A termite control specialist can look for evidence of termite activity, but cannot assess the structural impact of termite damage. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer assesses the structural impact of termite damage. If repairs are needed, the expense analysis in the inspection report helps you understand the expenses.
Termite control specialists and Engineers look differently at termite evidence. Engineers look for the impact of the termites and termite damage. A termite control specialist is looking at the need for termite treatment. You should have the house checked for termites by both Heimer Engineering℠ and a termite control specialist. This maximizes your chances of finding termite activity and damage. You should also obtain a warranty against future termite activity from the termite control specialist.
Who Can Inspect
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.
Heimer Engineering℠ inspects 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, Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer checks for structural damage caused by termites.
Leaks and Thermal Imaging
Some Home Inspectors claim thermal imaging provides better information than traditional inspection methods. 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.
Complaints and Reviews
Many websites allow consumers to rate, recommend, or complain about a company. These reviews can assist or mislead consumers. The websites that post these reviews survive by generating advertising revenue.
The Better Business Bureau is careful about who posts reviews and complaints. Unlike other websites, the Better Business Bureau only posts verified reviews. The Better Business Bureau gives Heimer Engineering℠ a rating of A+.
Positive reviews show satisfied clients. Negative reviews from sellers are the equivalent of positive reviews from clients.
Four Inspection Reports
A lot of information is collected during an inspection by a Licensed Engineer from Heimer Engineering℠. Providing four inspection helps you understand the condition of the real estate you purchasing. All four reports are included in the inspection fee Heimer Engineering℠ quoted to you.
The On-Site Verbal Inspection Report is Heimer Engineering's℠ discussion of the inspection findings. 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 inaccurate answers.
The On-Site Written Inspection Report is a short-form report that highlights Heimer Engineering'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. Additional information is included so you can make an informed decision about purchasing the real estate.
The Emailed Written Inspection Report goes through three quality control reviews. Only after all of these reviews does Heimer Engineering℠ send you the report.
Some inspection companies provide an instant report. A home or building is a major purchase. While quality control does not guarantee no errors, Heimer Engineering℠ makes every effort to minimize errors. Don't settle for an instant report that with its instant report errors..
The Termite Inspection Report is a specialized report banks often need to issue a mortgage. If there is no termite evidence, HHeimer Engineering's℠ 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.
Inspection Photographic Images
A Licensed Engineer's pre-purchase inspection is not performed to show you what the building looks like. 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 regardless of how the defect looks in a photographic image. Heimer Engineering's pre-purchase inspection reports are based on providing you with the information needed to make an informed decision.
Photographic images included in a Home Inspector's report may show a gutter draining near a foundation wall, a crack in a path, or siding shingles close to ground level. You never see photographs showing the insufficient electrical service, an undersized boiler, or that a structurally unsound house.
If you want to remember what a room looks like, take photographs. Photographic images add color to a report, but you need a Licensed Engineer to interpret the image. 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
One cannot keep up with the changes that affect home purchasers. Updated information available via the internet. Heimer Engineering's℠ reports contain links that help you learn more about your prospective purchase.
Many people use smartphones to read emails. Heimer Engineering℠ emails a PDF of the inspection report. Heimer Engineering's℠ reports are mobile-friendly and can be viewed on most smartphones, allowing you quick access to the report.
Is the Home Inspector a
Many inspection companies send non-Engineer inspectors when the buyer requested a Licensed Engineer. At the site, the non-Engineer Inspector promises a review by an Engineer in the office. It is unethical to send a non-Engineer when you expect Engineering services.
When you retain a Licensed Engineer to perform a pre-purchase inspection, you expect a Licensed Engineer to visit the site. It is unethical for a home inspection company to send a non-Engineer when you expect the services of a Licensed Engineer. Heimer Engineering℠ uses only Licensed Engineers to perform pre-purchase inspections.
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. A non-Engineer cannot lawfully obtain a State of New York Professional Engineer's photo ID.
Pre-purchase inspection standards specifically exclude environmental inspections. Some companies imply they provide environmental inspections by pointing out environmental concerns. These Inspectors often have limited environmental experience, and may unnecessarily alarm real estate purchasers.
The Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ point out environmental concerns like other Inspectors. Heimer Engineering℠ will not deceive you by claiming the pre-purchase inspection is an environmental inspection.
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, and real estate broker. 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 Heimer Engineering's℠ responsibility to you, the Licensed Engineer uses his professional judgment.
Heimer Engineering℠ only shares the inspection findings with you and you Attorney. Heimer Engineering℠ is required to use information obtained during the inspection only for your benefit. If someone other than you or your Attorney calls for information, Heimer Engineering℠ requires your written authorization before we speak with them.
During the inspection, the Heimer Engineering℠ examines, analyzes, and/or reports on (as appropriate based on the building):
Inspections New Condo
Punch List Co-op
Heimer Engineering's℠ pre-purchase inspection describes the condition at the time of the inspection. The condition of the building can change after the 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 or appliances that were functioning during the original inspection may break;
- A strong storm, neighborhood construction, very hot or very cold weather, etc. may damage the building;
- And many more changes can occur.
The best way to protect yourself is a pre-closing inspection. Heimer Engineering's℠ Licensed Engineer returns to the site before closing, and determines 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. Senior Staff members are available to answer your questions from Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. After 5 PM, please leave a message. Messages are checked during the day on Sunday, and Sunday evening through Thursday evening. Inspections are performed seven days a week. Choose Heimer Engineering℠.
Inspection orders are taken by senior staff members. A real estate purchase is complex, and you should be able to speak with someone who can give you real answers to your inspection questions.
To set up an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection, or to find out about Engineering services or expert court testimony send Heimer Engineering℠ an email at WebInfoRequest@heimer.com, send Heimer Engineering℠ a text at 888.769.6910, call Heimer Engineering℠ at 800.605.1500, or call Heimer Engineering℠ at 646.757.4500. If no staff member is in the office, leave a message.
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.
Heimer Engineering℠ Standards of PracticeThe Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Code of Ethics, to Subpart 197-4 of the State of New York Code of Ethics and Regulations for Home Inspectors, and to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE®) Code of Ethics. All State of New York Licensed Engineers are also bound by New York State Education Law Article 145.
Heimer Engineering℠ Code of Ethics
The Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Standards of Practice and the ASHI® Standards of Practice. In the event of a conflict, the Licensed Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ use Engineering judgment to decide what standard or Engineering principle takes precedence.
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f/k/a Richard L Heimer PE PC
2171 Jericho Turnpike
Commack, New York, USA 11725-2947