What's in a Foundation/Structural Engineer's Report?
First, remember that a standard foundation engineer's report is
based on a visual inspection of the property.
Invasive procedures may be implemented, at a cost,
to further investigate the structure, but most
invasive procedures are expensive and the results
usually do no warrant the costs, especially on
Invasive procedures in an engineer's inspection may
be more recommended on bridges and large buildings,
including soil tests, but are not the normal
procedure in the standard engineer's report on a
residential structure. Usually, a visual inspection,
if properly done, may reveal most foundation
defects, in most residences.
Also, remember that the standard engineer's report
is a substructure evaluation, not the
superstructure. The superstructure is the area above
the floor, such as in the attic and the walls, and
the substructure will usually include the floor and
the structure below it. However, if the engineer
notices a problem in the superstructure, it may be
included in his engineer's report.
Superstructure evaluations can be performed for an
additional price. The engineer will be required to
enter the attic area, and an inspection of the
structure from there will commence. There are
sometimes defects in the bracing, purlins, collar
ties, and the like. Roof joists and ceiling joists
may be undersized, bowing, twisted, or coming apart
at the ridge or the wall plate. A standard sized
home that has adequate space in the attic may cost
about $400 for a superstructure inspection.
Most engineer's reports do not include detached
structures, sidewalks, driveways, patios, sheds, or
air conditioning pads.
Although many engineers perform a substructure
inspection differently, they are still governed by
the Engineer's Board of the State of Texas. The
Engineer's Board will require the engineer to
perform professionally to meet accepted engineering
In Bedrock's opinion, an engineer's report on a
residential foundation, should contain these areas:
identify the problems, if any.
identify un-level areas of the foundation, if any.
identify drainage corrections needed to the
identify foundation defects revealed through a
visual inspection, if any.
conclude with some possible causes of the defects,
and by what measures you used to determine your
make recommendations how the defects or corrections
should be made.
may include a map or diagram of proposed plans.
should include maintenance procedures to protect the
foundation from future movement.
should be adjusted to accommodate the age, price,
and style of the structure.
Good recommendations protect the seller of a home
from future litigation resulting from foundation
issues, and they protect a buyer from unknown future
expenses related to the foundation and drainage.
Is the engineer's evaluation complete and cover all
defects to the foundation? Absolutely not, but a
visual inspection from a registered professional
engineer is a step in the right direction from an
expert. An engineer's opinion is based on years of
experience and training, and will protect a new
homeowner considerably, but Mother Nature is hard to
predict, and other issues may arise that are
difficult to detect from either a visual inspection
or an invasive inspection.
DFW Cities that Require an Engineers Report for
Find out if a permit or engineers report is required for
foundation repair in your Texas area
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