Storm damage to a residence cannot be properly investigated without extensive knowledge of building design and construction . A structural engineer is able to evaluate interior and exterior changes to your house that are caused by storms.
Is an evaluation of your house by a structural engineer worth the cost? The only way to answer that question is to discuss how a structural engineer can find what other inspectors will not even look for.
After Hurricane Michael struck Florida in 2018, many homeowners ended up in a situation where they could tell that their home suffered damage, but they were not sure how to find out how much and what types. BE Structural was called upon to inspect and write a report for just such a homeowner in just such a home.
A home inspector who is not a structural engineer does not perform the same inspection a structural engineer performs. A structural engineer is equipped with and in-depth knowledge of how structures are designed and built, crucial to evaluate storm damage. Hurricane Michael caused damage easily visible to anyone looking at a damaged structure, but after a careful examination and measuring our structural engineer uncovered evidence that the entire house had been moved by the hurricane. A cursory inspection could easily have missed such damage.
The inspection performed by BE Structural was based on a knowledge of how much force caused by winds a house can withstand, how much force high winds place on a house, and how to determine if damage to the house was caused by winds that produced more force than the house was built to withstand. Few, if any, house inspectors are able to perform such an analysis.
Can a house changing shape during a hurricane cause damage? Here again, it takes a structural engineer to make such a determination. If the house does change shape, what type of damage to the structure might result, and how is such damage to be found? For the Florida residence, the answers were uncovered with calculations performed by our structural engineer and supported by a forensic inspection. Sure enough, the house did change shape, and a careful inspection revealed damage to window and door frames that opened the structure up to even more damage.
Finally, storm damage is often caused by water intrusion that is not visible. Structural damage, as well as mold, can result and, if not discovered and resolved, can lead to more damage. Our structural engineer was able to determine whether the house design and construction conformed with building code requirements requiring a design that would allow water finding its way behind exterior stucco walls to have a path to safely drain from behind those walls.
These are just a few examples of why structural engineers should be part of your storm damage evaluation. An in-depth knowledge of building design and construction also equips our team to evaluate structures for design and construction defects. A well-designed structure cannot perform as designed if the appropriate tools, techniques and materials are not used during the construction phase. Similarly, a poorly designed structure may be doomed to failure, even if constructed without shortcuts.
Contact our team with questions. A consultation and forensic inspection by a structural engineer can provide valuable information and guidance about the most valuable investment most people will make. Call us at 866-682-2693, email us at email@example.com, or visit our website at BE Structural