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Should I Hire an Engineer or a Home Inspector


I am often asked by potential clients if I am an engineer or not. I always reply with the truthful answer, which is no. I ask them why they feel that they need an engineer, and the usual reply is that their real estate agent told them to call one. I often think that something gets lost in the translation from the agents mouth to the clients ears, because most of the agents I know are aware of which professional to call for a home inspection. I would like to spend a little time discussing the differences between the traditional home inspector and the professional engineer.

Visual, non-invasive home inspections do not involve engineering analysis, even when performed by PE's. Engineering is an entirely different discipline and type of investigation, one which involves detailed scientific measurements, and analysis. This type of technically exhaustive analysis usually requires a great deal of time and expense, and is usually reserved for when evidence points to problem that warrants further investigation.

What qualifies a Professional Engineer to be a home inspector?

In most states a Professional Engineer can simply that he/she is a PE, regardless whether the degree was obtained in mechanical, electrical, civil, sanitary, structural or any other discipline of engineering. There is an entirely different type of training involved in home inspection,more based in defect recognition and prevention rather than the forensic nature of engineering.

It's fortunate for the consumer that states does not practice giving out Professional Real Estate Inspectors licenses to just any engineer anymore. However, there are still many PE's out there that have a Professional Real Estate License that have little or no real life, experience in the home industry. Before hiring an engineer, find out which discipline his degree is in.

This is not to say that engineering professionals cannot be good home inspectors, in fact quite the opposite is true. The issue is the public perception that an engineer is far superior than a traditional home inspector. If I were looking for a structural calculation or design an engineer would be my professional of choice. When searching for a home inspector, pay close attention to the training that the inspector has received. That will give you a true reflection of the inspectors qualifications.

Submitted by DrewLevy on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 02:29.

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