What a building inspector is
A building inspection is an inspection performed by a building inspector, a person who is employed by either a city, township or county and is usually certified in one or more disciplines qualifying them to make professional judgment about whether a building meets building code requirements. A building inspector may be certified either as a residential or commercial building inspector, or as a plumbing, electrical or mechanical inspector or other specialty-focused inspector who may inspect structures at different stages of completion.
When you need a building inspector
As a general rule, you technically would need a permit for anything connected to the city which would include any changes to the electrical or plumbing within the walls, ceilings, etc or anything that would be a possible safety issue which would included any structural changes.
The only exclusions are external items such paint, carpet, fixtures, etc (ie: changes to a faucet, toilet, ceiling fan) that don't require any changes to the internal (hidden, within walls, etc.) areas of the house.
Where do you find a building inspector
You will need to get in contact with your cities government office. Most cities websites have an option to request a building inspector.
Cost of building inspection
Depending on the extensiveness, quality, and area of the building inspection, they can range from $200-$450.
Preparing for home inspection
- Accessibility: Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible, especially to the attic and crawl space. It’s also a good idea to trim any trees and shrubs that may make an inspection of the exterior of the property difficult.
- Housekeeping: The inspector may photograph your home for the inspection report, so clearing the clutter and moving vehicles from the front of the home will help the inspection go smoother.
- Maintenance: Repair minor things like leaky faucets, missing door handles, and trim.
- Foundation: Are there cracks? These could be a cause for concern and an inspector will most likely give you a lower score. It is usually worth it to have an engineer take a look at it.
- Roof & Gutters: Having a well maintained and structurally sound roof is very important. It protects you from the elements and keeps energy inside. If your roof is over 10 years old, a new roof will be in order in most cases. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are secure and clog free.
- Siding: Siding is another important thing to take care of before an inspector comes. Having siding in good condition makes your house look good and if it's not in good condition, it's fairly obvious. If it is in need of painting, do it in the summer. If you have any loose boards, get them fixed. If it's natural wood, make sure you treat it every 4-6 years. The longer you wait to repair siding, the worse the damage gets.
- Windows: You windows will need to be replaced if they have not been replaced in over 20 years. Replacing your windows will quickly pay for itself as old windows are one of the most inefficient things a home can have. If not, they will at least need to be caulked every year to keep them running at highest efficiency.
- Electrical: If the inspection report says that you need more load to handle the tvs, computers, printers, and other electrical items, do this as soon as possible, especially if this is an older home.
- Heating & Air:Change the filters 2 or 3 times a year. If your system is older than 15 years, you should seriously consider upgrading as the older systems' efficiency is terrible and wastes a lot of money.
- Ducts & Vents:Clean your ducts every two years. This is a very cheap process and should not be overlooked. Ensure your attic has proper ventilation and that heat is not escaping to the attic during winter time.
- Water Heater:If your water heater is around 15 years old, you should replace it. It becomes a liability and costs you more money keeping the old one than it would cost you to get a new one.
- Smoke Alarms:Smoke alarms need to be in every room. Make sure they all work every few months.
- Insulation:Having good insulation is more important in the attic during winter time as having heat escape your house and go into the attic is a very expensive inconvenience.