FAQs for Buyers
How does an Advanced Structural Assessment help me?
The Advanced Structural Assessment is designed to give buyers a better understanding of the house structure than is possible during a routine home inspection. During a routine home inspection, your inspector will make visual observations about the house structure. Unfortunately, a visual inspection is not always enough to identify some structural problems. In modern houses most of the structure is concealed by drywall and not visible. If you can’t see a defect, then how do you know it’s there? The answer is measurements. Detailed measurements of the house structure can often uncover a condition that would not be found under normal inspection practices. As part of the Advanced Structural Assessment service, the data your inspector collects will be analyzed by a Professional Engineer and an engineering report will be provided.
Is it enough to start the inspection and if my inspector finds a structural issue, to add the Advanced Structural Assessment at that point?
Not really. The magic of the Advanced Structural Assessment is that it can identify many structural conditions that there is no way for an inspector to see. If you want to find structural issues, always get an Advanced Structural Assessment.
That said, if you didn’t get the ASA up front, and your inspector notices a structural concern like a foundation crack, termite damage, etc., then adding the Advanced Structural Assessment at that time is the right move. The data your inspector collects will be analyzed by a Professional Engineer and an engineering report will be provided detailing the various structural conditions that may exist.
What are the most common structural issues identified during an Advanced Structural Assessment?
Actually, most Advanced Structural Assessments serve to demonstrate that the house is structurally sound, giving you peace of mind. However, when issues are found they are often foundation failures and joist failures, which are definitely things you want to know before you move forward with the purchase.
Why do so few home inspection companies offer the Advanced Structural Assessment?
To offer the Advanced Structural Assessment, an inspector must be qualified by ASA Engineering Group, LLC. It’s a big investment getting qualified. The training takes time. Many home inspectors are not experienced enough to collect the necessary data. It’s a specialty not every inspector is suited for.
I had never heard of the Advanced Structural Assessment until now. Is it new?
ASA Engineering Group, LLC developed the procedures for the Advanced Structural Assessment over a ten-year period. It’s only recently we have partnered with home inspectors to bring the service to a broader market.
We believe the Advanced Structural Assessment is the next big thing in home inspections. As home prices rise, homebuyers are looking for ways to learn as much as possible about their investment.
Does the Advanced Structural Assessment guarantee that all structural defects are found?
Unfortunately, no. As an example, there can be hidden water damage to the floor structure and until the damage is severe enough to cause the floors to slope, there would be no way to detect this condition. However, the good news is that if there is hidden damage and the floors have not moved then it is not a significant defect or concern.
Is the Advanced Structural Assessment necessary for a new house?
The Advanced Structural Assessment is generally more beneficial the older the house is, but we have found $30k+ structural issues on houses less than 2 years old. As a general observation, houses more than 50 years old have a reasonable likelihood of needing $5k-$10k of structural improvements and an increased chance of more expensive issues.