Heimer Engineering New York pre-purchase home, building, condo, and co‑op inspection

646.757.4500 • 800.605.1500
Home, Building, Condo, And
Co-op Engineering Inspections
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Roof Systems And
Pre-Purchase Home Inspections

Pre-Purchase Inspections
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. Smile

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The roof keeps rain and other weather elements out of the home, building, condo unit, or co-op unit.The roof keeps rain and other weather elements out of the home or building. The Engineer evaluates the general condition of the roof and estimates the remaining life on the roof. Evidence of past or present roof leakage is also assessed. The engineering report includes an expense analysis of any upcoming roof repair or replacement costs.

Most roofs are made of either asphalt, cedar, slate, or clay tile. If a building has a pitched roof, the roof can be viewed from the site. (It is not advisable to climb onto this type of roof as a means of checking it. Climbing on the roof can damage roof shingles, especially older shingles. A leakage problem can be created simply by walking on a pitched roof surface.)

When the Engineer finds that a roof leaks, needs repairs, or will soon need replacement, an expense analysis of the needed repairs and replacement is provided.When the Engineer finds that a roof leaks, needs repairs, or will soon need replacement, an expense analysis of the needed repairs and replacement is provided. This helps you plan for any upcoming roof replacement.

If the building has a pitched roof and an accessible attic, the Engineer looks for evidence of roof leakage or damage to the sheathing. The Engineer also looks for problems in the attic such as the amount of insulation present, water damage, and insufficient attic ventilation.

The amount of attic ventilation can have a significant effect on air-conditioning costs. The majority of buildings in the Metro New York area were built when fuel was much less expensive. Given today's high cost of fuel, checking for attic insulation is especially important.

Some inspectors advocate walking on pitched asphalt, slate, and tile roofs. There are 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.

Walking on a pitched roof during a home, building, condo, and co-op inspection can cause serious damageMost asphalt roof shingles are self-sealing. Lifting an asphalt roof shingle damages the seal and makes the roof susceptible to wind damage. There is no way to examine the membrane under the roof shingles. Some roofing manufacturers will void a roof warranty if they determine the damage was caused by an inspector on the roof.

An experienced inspector can determine the condition of the roof by visual examination. If an inspector needs to walk on the roof or lift the shingles to examine it, you should ask; Why can't this inspector determine the condition of the roof visually?  Can't this inspector see that the roof shingles are old?  Can't this inspector see that the roof shingles are irregular?

SatelliteIn 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, available satellite images of the roof are used to assess the roof. This includes historical satellite images, which can allow the roof history to be determined. Fortunately, satellite images of most of the metropolitan New York area are available.

Storm And Earthquake Roof Damage

Hurricane Sandy in late October of 2012 caused leaks in even new properly installed roofs.The major storms that occurred during the late summer of 2011, combined with the earthquake during the late summer of 2011, caused roof and chimney problems to develop. Hurricane Sandy in late October of 2012 caused leaks in even new properly installed roofs. Roofs that were previously leak-free were damaged by wind and falling branches. Chimneys were displaced by the earthquake and strong winds. Cracks developed in chimneys, or between the chimney and the house as a result of the earthquake. Other damage both inside and outside the building also occurred.

➜ Storm Damage

➜ Hurricane Sandy

Leaks may not show up until months and sometimes years after the storm damage occurred. If your home or building has suffered such damage, contact your insurance company to see if the repairs are covered. You can also contact Heimer Engineering if you need a consultation on storm or earthquake damage.

Flat Roofs

Some buildings have flat roofs, which are accessed by a roof hatch.  Larger buildings have a bulkhead and steps to the roof.Some buildings have flat roofs, which are accessed by a roof hatch. Larger buildings have a bulkhead and steps to the roof.

If steps or a safe permanent ladder is provided (and it is not blocked), the ladder can be used to access the roof. The coping and parapets are examined, as they are often a source of roof leakage.

It would be advisable to ask the seller or real estate broker about flat roof access. In many smaller homes, the seller has removed the roof access ladder. Ask the seller to reinstall the ladder prior to the inspection.

Beware if you are told the roof has had work done on it.Beware if you are told the roof has "had work done on it". Often, a roof that has "had work done" will need upcoming replacement. If the roof has had work done on it, ask for a bill of sale and a warranty confirming the scope of the work.

If there is no safe access to the roof, then evidence of leakage is examined. Recommendations will also be made based upon the probable age of the roof. Because of the Engineer's experience, appropriate recommendations can be made even if there is no direct access to the roof. This is important, since many flat-roofed buildings have no roof access.

Trust a Licensed Engineer to assess the roofing system.

Pre-Purchase Inspections

During the inspection, the Licensed Engineer examines, analyzes, and/or reports on (as appropriate based on the building):

Hot Water
Leaders &
And Doors

Contact Heimer Engineering 24/7

Cal for a Home InspectionHeimer 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.

Heimer Engineering New York pre-purchase home, building, condo, and co‑op inspectionsTo 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. 

➜ 24/7 Contact Information

Statue of LibertyHeimer 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).

Locked keyboardHeimer 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.

Call 911In 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.


United States FlagIn 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 New York pre-purchase home, building, condo, and co‑op inspectionInspections are performed only after the client signs a pre-inspection agreement.  The use of this website is governed by our Terms of Use. This website is made available for informational purposes and does not represent a professional opinion of your particular situation.

➜ Download A Pre-Inspection Agreement

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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Heimer Engineering PC f/k/a Richard L Heimer PE PC
2171 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 230
Commack, New York, USA 11725-2947

New York Metro Area: 800.605.1500, 646.757.4500
Bronx, New York: 718.547.2000
Brooklyn, New York: 718.237.7777
Manhattan, New York: 212.563.4777
Long Island, New York: 631.549.2500
Nassau County, New York: 516.487.2100
Putnam County, New York: 845.638.4900
Queens, New York: 718.544.3000
Staten Island, New York: 718.227.5000
Suffolk County, New York: 631.858.5500, 631.288.3900
Westchester County, New York: 914.576.6100
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International Standard of Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) Revision 4 Classification: 71
North American Industry Classification System (SAISC) Classification: 541330, 541350