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Many inspectors, based on their experience and capability will conduct many different inspection types from commercial inspections to expert witness testimony. Here are some of the most common types of inspections which most professional inspectors offer in their array of services.
Standard Home Inspection
This involves the inspection of existing homes for resale or maintenance planning purposes. All home inspector associations were established to address the requirements of this type of inspection. These inspections can be conducted for the seller under a seller’s disclosure inspection or for the new homeowner/investor under a buyer’s inspection and relate to condominium/ single family home inspections and small multi-family investment buildings.
New Construction - Residential Inspection
This type involves the inspection of new homes under construction, at the end of construction or at the end of the one-year builder’s warranty after the homeowner has occupied the home. With this type of inspection, choosing a home inspector that has experience of the codes or construction is critical. Many inspectors offer cosmetic walkthroughs or inspections which are of little value to any potential new homeowner.
While these inspections will improve quality and hold builders to a higher standard, they will also add both time and expense to the building team. Your decision to conduct such an inspection may be met with resistance by some builders, however, most of the professional builders welcome an additional level of quality control and see it as a way of limiting their liability for hidden/unexpected surprises.
Are you spending a lot of money remodeling, adding on to or conducting remediation repairs to your home without proper representation? How do you know if the quality is acceptable or not? Are you relying on the building contractor or remediation company to oversee their own work? A professional inspector qualified in building construction can ensure that works in progress are conducted in the manner and quality needed for your peace of mind.
Most inspectors are not qualified to conduct commercial inspections and as such, will not offer advice or quotes on such inspections. When choosing an inspector for these buildings, confirm their past experience with commercial construction or consultancy. Licensed contractors and engineers are more qualified than any of the home inspection qualifications. Make sure that you receive a written proposal with regard to this inspection type as there are no set guidelines or code of ethics for commercial inspectors to follow.
New construction - Commercial Inspection
The code requirements for public health and safety on commercial construction are much different than those for residential new construction. If you are building a commercial building without client representation, you can be exposed to potentially huge issues. Choosing an inspector with commercial construction experience is crucial.
Condo Association Inspection
Experience has shown that many condominium associations have suffered at the hands of incompetent contractors and/or mismanagement of funds for construction repairs. The lack of quality control has resulted in monies being consistently spent on short-term repairs or sub- standard work. Are you losing control of the condo association fees? Are you making sure that repairs are being conducted correctly and completely? Having an owner's representative qualify repairs or outline the exact condition of each building or issue is far cheaper than uncontrolled spending.
Mold Screening Inspection/Pre-Sampling Mold Inspection
These are baseline mold inspection evaluations designed to minimize the risk of mold contamination in your new home or building. They are typically based on visual inspections only of the building in question and may or may not include testing. The inspection will outline any visible areas of moisture or moisture related issues throughout your home or building. Testing will be based on the date and time of inspection only. Testing for moisture content and the percentage of relative humidity are normally conducted as part of this service. Consult each inspection company for their respective procedures and policies.
Infrared cameras detect variations in temperature and humidity without destructive investigations. This is a relatively new area of inspection for most home inspectors. The objective is to use infrared cameras to detect inner wall moisture or moisture related issues. Interpretation of photograph results is critical. Based on the expense of infrared cameras (in excess of $15,000), inspectors charge an additional fee for this service.
Storm Damage - Insurance Inspection
Experience has shown that many homeowners have suffered storm damage, only to have to pay for repairs themselves because it went unnoticed until the home or building sold and a buyer’s inspection was conducted. Insurance adjustors are not motivated to find every issue with regard to your insurance claim. Some may or may not enter your attic, or spend the time necessary to conduct a detailed inspection. Having your home or building inspected by an independent inspector qualified in building defects will give you the exact picture of your home or building to present to your adjustor. Get what you deserve and make sure your home or building is fixed correctly.
Roof replacement inspections, roof leakage inspections, infrared roof inspections, etc. Roofing systems are one of the primary components protecting your home or building from the elements. Having a roof inspection prior to making the final payment to the contractor for maintenance or replacement repairs or to diagnose a roof issue may mean the difference between a functional roof or incomplete/incorrect repairs or replacements costing you thousands of dollars.
Siding and Stucco Inspection
Have you suffered as a result of incomplete siding or stucco applications? Do you now have to spend thousands of dollars fixing these issues? Client representation will help to eliminate these problems from reoccurring. This type of inspection can be carried out at the end, or throughout the entire project.
Expert Witness Inspection
Are you experiencing problems with your new home or building? Have you spoken to an attorney? Expert witness reports must stand up in court. Make sure your inspector is qualified to conduct such a service.
Wind Certification Inspection
How will your home fare against a hurricane? Is your roof structure properly braced? Are your walls properly anchored? Are your doors and windows impact resistant? Many inspectors are offering these services to existing homeowners and using reports to possibly reduce their ever- increasing homeowner's insurance costs. Know the true facts about your new home.
4-Point Insurance Inspection
Insurance costs seem to be increasing more and more every year. Insurance requirements are also getting more and more stringent. Many homes may not be insurable and many others may need special insurance inspections before they get coverage. Most insurance companies require inspections on the roof covering, electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems for older homes. Some insurance companies require inspectors to be licensed contractors or ASHI inspectors before they will accept the report. Make sure your inspector is qualified to perform this type of inspection before hiring them.
You Should Know: Insurance Coverage
Because home inspection is not licensed, many inspectors do not carry insurance for their business. Most professional inspection companies carry general liability insurance. Some companies carry errors and omissions insurance, and depending on the size of the company, some, albeit few, will carry worker’s compensation insurance for their employee inspectors.
Falling through an attic, roof accidents and electrical accidents are daily occurrences in the home inspection industry. Sellers will be more at risk for inspector injuries in the field when the inspector they have hired does not carry worker’s compensation insurance.
In the last few years there has been a huge increase in the cost of insurance for home inspectors. Many inspection companies are having to pass the cost on to customers because of the expense, and the fact that they are competing in an un insured market. In the same way renting cars requires various levels of insurance, the home inspection industry is beginning to take the same steps.
When choosing an inspection company or inspector, make sure they are adequately insured. Don't place yourself, the Realtor or existing homeowner at risk to inspector injuries, missed defects or poor service.
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