Site Visit & Report
Do you need help from a Structural Engineer, to get to the root of an underlying problem, or investigate the feasibility of making some sort of structural change to a home? Or have you received contradictory advice from different Contractors, and you want a Professional to properly diagnose the true cause of a problem before going ahead with some sort of repairs.
We are here to help, and usually an on-site Structural Consultation by one of our Structural Engineers is a step in the right direction. Site visit fees vary depending upon the travel time to the site… please call us for a quote! Payment for this service is due at the time of our visit. A follow up report is always provided for liability reasons, and all reports bear the seal of the Professional Engineer that attended the home. We endeavour to deliver our reports within a few days of our visit. (faster turnaround available in cases of pending real estate transactions). Our firm is fully licensed by the PEO and insured to provide engineering services to the public.
When we carry out an on-site Structural Consultation, we assume that we will spend around 60 – 90 minutes at your home, providing you with one-on-one advice that speaks directly to the problems that you are having.
Structural Consultations are not a substitute for obtaining structural “design” services for a new project; Rather, an on-site Structural Consultation is intended to provide assistance and advice regarding a Structural related issue with a house, and to advise on how to move forward. In some cases, very specific recommendations may be provided, say to address a simple technical issue.
A Structural Consultation Report is a 2-3-page document containing a summary of the observations and recommendations made verbally during our visit.
Please note the following:
- Our report is always based upon our visual assessment of your home. (i.e.: no physical testing of materials is done as part of this consultation.)
- We can only report on what we can see or reasonably infer from our site observations. We are not magic…so in some cases, you may need to expose foundation walls, floor joists, beams, and the like, and provide us with access to areas of concern, so that we can offer you our best advice.
- If you already have construction work in-progress that is being done under a Building Permit, then your first contact should be with whomever designed your project. Check your approved permit drawings for the seal of a Professional Engineer. There may also be seals from an Architect, or a Designer with a BCIN# and they should be your first point of contact for an ongoing construction project.
- Professional Engineering of Ontario (PEO) Practice guidelines do not allow Licensed Engineers to carry out field reviews of new construction work that is being done without a permit (when a permit would otherwise be required).
- Construction Site Visits are completely different from an on-site Structural Consultation, as described here. A Construction Site Visit is simply a quality control measure done during a construction project, often by a Junior Engineer, to check that items shown on design drawings have been installed by a Contractor in accordance with the design drawings.
Questions & Answers
Do you do home inspections?
We do lots of “site visits” to review and report on structural problems with houses, but we are not “Home Inspectors” who review mostly the “non-structural” aspects of houses. So yes, we can come out and advise on structural concerns that you may have with you home, and provide you with valuable advice and recommendations.
Often a home is sold “conditional upon satisfactory report from a structural engineer”, on the advice of a Home Inspector who thinks that a problem may exist. Home inspection firms review many components of a home, usually at the time of purchase or sale.
If you are buying a house, always have a home inspection done by a qualified home inspector before signing on the dotted line. When a home inspector thinks that there is a structural problem with a house, they will they recommend that you hire us to come out to review those problems on site.
Could I get permits from a site report
No, a site report is just a letter which summarizes what we observed on site and often contains recommendations related to a problem or condition that we observed on site. In order to get a permit for a construction project, you need to have plans and specifications prepared which show the work that is to be done by a contractor. Only once plans and specifications have been drawn up can you apply for a building permit.
Would I still get charged site visit fees if we decide to do the building permit drawings with your company?
If you ask us to carry out a site visit, but then during our site visit you decide that you don’t need a site report but rather, you want us to prepare design drawings, then we can credit back to you half of the site visit cost once you retain us to do the design drawings. However, this must happen before we prepare the site report…otherwise we can’t offer you this credit.
How long does it take to schedule a site visit, I need it ASAP, along with the report.
If you have an urgent need for a site visit and report to be prepared immediately, please let us know and we can sometimes arrange for same-day service. Usually we can attend within 24 to 48 hours. We try to send site reports within about 48 to 72 hours of our site visit, but depending upon workload, it may take a bit longer.
How much will it cost to have an engineer come to my house?
Site visit fees vary depending upon the travel time to the site… please call us for a quote. Payment for this service is due at the time of our visit. A follow up report is always provided for liability reasons, and all reports bear the seal of the Professional Engineer that attended the home.
Will you provide a report after you come for a site visit?
Yes, our policy is to always provide a written report after we carry out a site visit; this is very important so as to ensure that there is a clear written record of our site visit and recommendations. We don’t do site visits without providing a written report, for liability reasons.
My renovation was just finished and my contractor didn’t call the Municipality for any inspections ... can you help?
This can be a difficult situation to resolve. First, you need to find out what exactly the Building Inspector needs to have reviewed and what reports are required in order for the Inspector to be satisfied and to close the permit. If important components need to be reviewed, then they must be exposed so that they can be properly examined. Sometimes, this means cutting open walls, floors, and ceilings. Failure of a contractor to call for Municipal Building Inspection is a very significant error on the part of the Contractor since in some rare cases, the work may have to be demolished in order to permit the required inspections. Fees for resolving this sort of thing can be several thousand dollars and take several weeks to complete.
I have a wet basement, does your company inspect these problems?
Water leaks in basements can be difficult to diagnose, and usually are present due to improper grading and drainage around the outside of the house. Usually a leaky basement cannot be fixed with a simple “patch”, but rather a more comprehensive review of why water is accumulating beside the foundation wall of the house is needed. Common remedies include re-grading, new exterior waterproofing, or the installation of a comprehensive interior water management system. Many people are surprised to find out that basement waterproofing is not a building code requirement for new home construction – only damp-proofing is required!
Wet basements are not within the realm of structural engineering, but we do consult on these sorts of problems since we work extensively with foundation wall design and we are well aware of the issues around ensuring that a basement remain dry.
Certainly, if you have cracks in your foundation walls and those cracks are the source of water, then it is probably worth calling us to check the structure of the foundation wall, after which, we can provide recommendations on how to eliminate the water leaks.
Interested in purchasing a new home, we need an inspection prior to purchasing.
If you or your home inspector has identified possible structural problems with the house, then we can carry out a site visit to prepare a report on these perceived problems. Usually we attend to report on sagging or sloping floors, cracked foundation walls, slanted stairs, etc. Note that we only report on the structural issues…we are not a substitute for a qualified home inspector.
My floors are sloping – can you tell us how to fix this?
Yes, we have a great deal of experience with this sort of thing. The first step is to attend the site to determine whether or not this is a foundation support problem, or an interior structural framing problem. Once we narrow down the problem, we can advise you on what can be done to stabilize the structure and/or repair it.
By taking some fairly basic measurements, we are usually able to determine, with a high degree of certainty, why the problem exists and how you would go about solving the problem. We also operate a Construction Company that has undertaken many structural related construction projects where we have fixed sloping floors and stabilized foundations; we are very well equipped to advise you.
A site visit by our staff would be the first step towards fixing this kind of problem.
Download a sample of a site report.
Gallery of sample projects.