The balance between engineering and fixing--what should determine?

Home Builder with David Edwards Construction, LLC

I received a call today from a Realtor that has a house under contract.  During the inspection a problem was discovered with the girders and floor system.  (Dormant termite damage)  It turns out this amount of damage will require engineering and permitting to fix.  The unfortunate aspect is the loss of the prospect because of the perceived defect with the house and the time frame required to fix the problem.  Many times I have encountered over anxious home inspectors and even more anxious Realtors during these quite common scenarios.  Example one:  the inspector is flat wrong, causing the loss of a sale.  Example two:  the inspector is right, but the Realtor wants it fixed fast.  The hard part is finding that balance between the two.  When does the situation warrant full scale engineering and permits, and when do you skip this and fix it fast?  Often times, a contractor "can" fix the problem without the engineering and permitting, but is this wise?  In this case, I will not perform the work with out the engineering doesn't take that much more time or money to do it right.  But I am curious as to what others consider the "threshold".

Comments (1)

Jim Luttrall
Mr. - Allen, TX

David, as an inspector, I rarely recommend an engineer be consulted if the problem is straight forward damage that needs repair. 

If there is no apparent reason for a sloping floor or bowing wall, then an engineer might be appropriate.

I normally just recommend a qualified, licensed xxxx to perform repairs. 

I figure if that qualified person needs help designing a fix, then he is a big boy and can see to that himself.  Home ownern and handy-man repairs are a definite no-no.



Mar 21, 2007 03:39 PM

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