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Commercial Building Inspections: Why You Should Hire an Engineer Versus a Building Inspector

For every real estate transaction that you are involved in—chances are—as part of the due-diligence process you are hiring a commercial building inspection professional to inspect the property. This is a helpful and valuable service that you routinely recommend to clients any may be required by lenders, however if the inspection is not done objectively and carefully, it may lead to major issues.

Whether you need a commercial building inspection or the gold-standard property condition assessment, the inspection is a critical step in the process—and you need an experienced expert on your side.

The term “building inspector” is often a self-issued title and, with the exception of a few states, there is very little regulation in this rapidly growing industry. On the other hand, Professional Engineers are licensed by the state in which they practice, and they:

  • Have completed an accredited, degreed engineering program;
  • Have four years of work under the direction of other engineers;
  • Passed a comprehensive two-day exam;
  • Are bound by a code of ethics and state law to practice only in areas where they are qualified.

Professional Engineers Can Save Time & Money

By law in most states, only a licensed, Professional Engineer is permitted to render an opinion as to the structural integrity of a building. A building inspector may be qualified to find the symptoms that a building presents (i.e., there is a crack), but then must suggest the consulting services of a licensed, Professional Engineer for further evaluation. This can be an expensive and time delaying addition to the inspection process. Hiring a building inspector who is a licensed, Professional Engineer, in the first place, can save your client additional consulting fees and valuable time.

Professional Engineers Are Insured

Another important aspect is that licensed, Professional Engineers maintain comprehensive professional liability insurance with nationally recognized insurance carriers. As licensed, Professional Engineers, we strive to deliver on our promises. In the event of an error or oversight, having professional liability coverage means we have the financial means to back up our work.

Professional Engineers Are Legally Accountable

The most important quality is the accountability as Professional Engineers. They stand behind their work and are legally and ethically accountable.

Whether your clients are large corporations, real estate investment trusts or individual investors, engaging with licensed, Professional Engineers will give your clients the peace of mind that they are getting the most professional advice available.

At Criterium Engineers we have more than 60 years of experience inspecting tens of thousands of commercial projects across the country. Our inspectors are licensed, Professional Engineers with years of building-related experience. They are further trained by Criterium Engineers to provide inspections and must participate in peer review and continuing education programs. Our commercial building inspection reports provide a detailed summary of our findings, highlighting building strengths as well as any identifying weaknesses or potential problems. We clearly explain a building’s condition, so our clients can make confident, informed decisions about their purchase.

2 Comments

Angela Waterford

There’s a commercial building that I inherited from my mother that I would like to improve so that I can lease it to companies in the future. I never knew that a professional, licensed engineer is the only one who is allowed by law to render an opinion regarding its current state. If I were to choose, I think I’ll hire a service to help me assess what needs to be repaired so I won’t have to worry about anything when I advertise it for leasing.

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Peggy Leonard

Thank you for your comment, Angela. We’d be happy to talk to you about your building. Call us at 800-242-1969 and ask for Cole Smith.

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