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How Structural Engineers play a role with your residence structure


Structural Engineers role

Introduction:

In the dynamic world of real estate, structural engineers often become essential during transactions, either due to a note in a home inspection report or a concern from the buyer. If the property was structurally modified by a previous owner or investor, the role of the structural engineer becomes crucial. They play a vital role in assisting homeowners, buyers, sellers, and lenders in navigating the complexities of the housing market. Here is a look into the contributions of structural engineers and how their expertise safeguards your investment.


A structural engineer is a paid consultant and doesn’t offer free quotes because they aren’t the person who will be performing the job, if any work is needed. A structural engineer is not a salesperson trying to sell you a product.


It is important to note that per the code of ethics for engineers, “Engineers shall not request, propose, or accept a commission on a contingent basis under circumstances in which their judgement may be compromised”

 

A closer look before you make the offer:

Before you sign on the dotted line, structural engineers can provide a structural condition evaluation of a property's integrity. They assess the foundation, identify potential issues with load-bearing walls or beams and their trained eye can uncover hidden problems that might escape the untrained eye. This pre-purchase inspection offers buyers peace of mind, ensuring they are making an informed decision about the condition of their future home.


Seller's Advantage:

For sellers looking to maximize the value of their property, engaging a structural engineer can be a strategic move, especially if they plan a renovation to improve the value involving some structural modifications or if they notice any slight concerns. By addressing and rectifying structural issues beforehand, sellers can present a home in much better condition, potentially increasing its market value or, at least, not reducing its value due to flagged issues in the home inspection report. This proactive approach can also expedite the selling process, as buyers are more likely to be attracted to a property with a clean bill of structural health.


Lenders' Confidence:

Lenders, too, benefit from the expertise of structural engineers. Before approving a mortgage, financial institutions often require an evaluation of the property's structural soundness, especially if they notice sagging, cracks, or other issues in the basement structure. This not only protects the lender's investment, but also ensures that homeowners are not burdened with unexpected repair costs shortly after purchasing the property.

 

Renovation Guidance:

Homeowners planning renovations or expansions can avoid costly mistakes by consulting with a structural engineer. These professionals can provide guidance on the feasibility of proposed changes, ensuring that they comply with building code standards and maintain the structural integrity of the home. This collaboration ensures that the homeowner's vision is realized without compromising the overall stability of the property.


Conclusion:

While structural engineers may not always take center stage in the real estate narrative, their contributions are often critical. From pre-purchase inspections to aiding sellers in presenting their homes at their best and providing lenders with confidence, these experts play a vital role in ensuring that the foundations of our homes are sound, preventing unexpected costly repairs. When you hire a reputable, competent, and experienced structural engineer, you are hiring a professional to provide you with advice without selling you a product.


Written by Firas Abdelahad, P.E.*

Firas Abdelahad has been a practicing structural engineer since 2005, collaborating with a diverse range of professionals, including consultants, architects, investors, homeowners, contractors, and subcontractors. Together, they tackle the various challenges that can arise during the design and construction phases of projects.

Firas has reviewed, evaluated, and assessed thousands of properties across the state of Pennsylvania, spanning from State College to Erie and throughout Western PA.


*P.E. stands for Professional Engineer. It is a licensure for engineers granted by a state or jurisdiction

after meeting specific education, experience, and examination requirements. A licensed Professional

Engineer is authorized to practice engineering and is often responsible for ensuring the safety, reliability,

and efficiency of engineering projects. The P.E. designation signifies a commitment to high ethical

standards and a demonstrated ability to meet the rigorous qualifications set by the licensing board or

authority.

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