March 1st, 2012
CRITERIUM ENGINEERS CELEBRATES 55 YEARS OF BUILDING INSPECTIONS
In 1957, Arthur Tauscher, P.E. a licensed engineer in the state of New York, offered for the first time, a systematic approach to inspecting buildings for owners and potential buyers. This was the beginning of the building inspection industry.
Being an engineer, Tauscher had seen how buildings fail over time and wanted to share that expertise with buyers who often are unaware of the true condition and liabilities of the property they owned or were buying. Tauscher also developed a systematic approach to such inspections involving specialized forms and a library of information to draw upon. That system became the cornerstone of what is today Criterium Engineers, a nationwide real estate engineering company. In 1988, H. Alan Mooney bought the company from Tauscher and continued its expansion. Today, the company offers building inspection and related services from 65 offices around the country.
In the early years, most of the inspections were of single family residences. It may seem counterintuitive, but the demand for building inspections in the residential sector pre-dated a similar demand in the commercial sector by some 25 years. That is because previously, investors in commercial property generally focused more on the finances. Real Estate Investment Trusts, which had been around since the 60s, just held mortgages, not real assets. However, with the failure of the commercial real estate market in the late 80s and early 90s, buyers (often in response to new regulations) now consider the condition of the building in all transactions.
Tauscher and Mooney continued to innovate. Although engineers who have been practicing in the fields of design, construction, and facilities management have the ideal background to evaluate existing buildings, no formal organization or engineering discipline existed in this practice area. So Mooney and Tauscher, along with Warren Cronacher, also of New York, formed the National Academy of Building Inspections Engineers in 1990. NABIE is an affinity group of the National Society of Professional Engineers. The organization has developed a certification process which formally establishes the engineering disciple of Building Inspection Engineer.
Today, Criterium Engineers continues to lead the way in building inspections, expanding into new markets such as community associations and quality assurance for new construction. According to Mooney, "Celebrating 55 years of service is a major achievement for any company. We prefer to look forward, however, and continue to innovate in a field that we were instrumental in creating.”
Each Criterium office operates as a local business providing reliable and cost effective services to the community in which it is based. However, unlike small local consulting firms, Criterium offices have resources available to them that can only be found in the nation's leading and largest firms. Services such as technical support, training, consultation, and excellent errors and omissions liability insurance help each local office stand out among all other firms in the area. According to Mooney, "Through our unique organization, each local office can offer a diversified range of services because they have the resources of the national organization to draw upon."
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