Attorneys or Real Estate Agents involved in real estate transactions as part of due diligence you are recommending the buyers of properties to hire a Professional Building Inspector. This is a helpful and valuable service that you routinely recommend to clients and may be required by lenders, however if the inspection is not done objectively and carefully, it may lead to major issues.
Many Inspection Companies employ inspectors with little or no previous experience in building construction or inspection. Some employ Professional Engineers but are not engineering firms and, therefore, cannot provide evaluation of structural, mechanical or electrical integrity. Both types of firms can only note items of concern that would need to be evaluated by a Professional Engineer in private practice or working in an Engineering Firm.
The term “building inspector” is often a self-issued title and, with the exception of a few states, there is very little regulation in this rapidly growing industry. On the other hand, Professional Engineers are licensed by the state in which they practice, and they:
- Have completed an accredited, degreed engineering program;
- Have four years of work under the direction of other engineers;
- Passed a comprehensive two-day exam;
- Are bound by a code of ethics and state law to practice only in areas where they are qualified.
What credentials does a New York licensed professional engineer have?
A licensed New York PE has earned a minimum of 12 years of education/experience credit and has passed a 16-hour national licensing examination. Most New York PEs have a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited engineering program and have earned qualifying experience as an intern engineer. Many engineers also have a master’s degree in their field.
When would I use the services of a professional engineer?
You might employ a PE to:
- evaluate the structural integrity, electrical, and/or mechanical systems of a house or building prior to purchase or renovation;
Professional Engineers Can Save Time & Money
By law in most states, including New York, only a licensed, Professional Engineer, in Private Practice or in an Engineering Firm, is permitted to render an opinion as to the structural integrity of a building. A building inspector may be qualified to find the symptoms that a building presents (i.e., there is a crack), but then must suggest the consulting services of a licensed, Professional Engineer for further evaluation. This can be an expensive and time delaying addition to the inspection process. Hiring a building inspector who is a licensed Professional Engineer in an Engineering Firm in the first place, can save your client additional consulting fees and valuable time.
Whether your clients are large corporations, real estate investment trusts or individual investors, engaging with licensed Professional Engineers will give your clients the peace of mind that they are getting the most professional advice available.
At Schmitt Engineering we have more than 60 years of experience inspecting tens of thousands of commercial projects across the country. Our inspectors are licensed, Professional Engineers with years of building-related experience. We clearly explain a building’s condition, so our clients can make confident, informed decisions about their purchase.