Introduction To Building Inspections


Home Owners for maintenance, renovation, improvements, updating the properties and to protect against future problems.

Families Considering to buy a home, a revenue property or a cottage in the future. It is recommended before leasing a space to establish a business.

Offers to Purchase to check the condition and operation of the property and to see what would be required to upgrade the property to avoid problems in the future.

Single Family Homes as it is often the first major purchase for a family. It can greatly influence the pleasurable or difficult experience of a family for years to come.

Multiplex, Duplex and three-plex properties carry very different components, condition of use, equipment and operation. Services and equipment need to be identified and found adequate. Their use and operation need to be described.

Apartments are revenue properties for the owners and a home for the tenants. Properly updating older buildings such as insulating ducts, heating and domestic hot water pipes and basements can very much decrease the cost of operation.

Businesses with long term leases can sometime partially update their premises to save on heating and air conditioning costs.

Large Commercial areas like shopping centers may sustain enormous damages by simply improperly removing accumulated snow and ice on the large area roofs after a major storm.

Institutional properties like older schools, churches, convents, state, provincial and city buildings may only have 1/20 of the insulation recommended economically today.

Governmental properties often more than 50 years old are not efficient to operate and some updating costs could be upset by the savings in less than one year.

Industrial and manufacturing complexes are oriented principally toward production. Buildings and facilities are often less cared for or upgraded. At times the heat lost produced by some industries is equivalent the needs in energy and heating of a small village.


Outside the Property

The Landscape

Drainage of runoff is extremely important to avoid sudden damages. The water table, foundation drains, the height of foundations, sump pumps, city sewers and ditches, outlets of septic tanks need to be checked if accessible. These information must be given to the purchaser for future use.

Slopes are as important. Is the building in a depressed area or on a bump? What is to be done about it?

Embankments with white stones, bark chips and crushed bricks or clay, top soil and impervious materials.

Retaining Walls and the causes of their toppling. The proper design using different materials.

Landscaped Terraces, their design and what to avoid.

Swimming Pools. The kinds and their location on a property.

Trees. The influence of their shade and roots.

Sun Orientation when adding windows, terraces, additions and attached solariums or greenhouses.

Fences location, use, utility, kind.

Privacy enhancement and use of trellises and vines.

Security needs and property design, fictive or real, behind your own bars or controlled opened space.

The Roof:

Type of Roofs, shapes, construction and materials. Basic standards of concepts, even when using new materials, need to be respected. As much the impervious membrane is needed, in the majority of cases, the aggregates or crushed stone layer is needed to protect and dissipate the sun heat.

Condition of actual roof, what should be seen and what should not be seen. What are the improvements and how to avoid replacement. See maintenance below.

Attic Vents The different kinds, placement at ridge as exit and the lower entrance soffits. Are they sufficient? Many kind of conditions are shown in this section further supported by photos.

Winter Conditions related to ventilation of attics and amount of insulation.

Summer Conditions related again to ventilation of attics, insulation and air conditioning. The rapid deterioration of roofs by heat entrapped in attics.

Attic Insulation for warm and cold climates, in winter and summer.

Maintenance of roofs and the need to improve some new conceptual roofs. The waterproof membrane and the protective cover of aggregates are both needed.

Replacement of roof caused by a lack of repair or lack of maintenance. Are new roofs better than old designs? Why guaranties have gone down from 20 to 25 years to 10 and in some cases only 5 years.

Outside Walls:

Material of Walls kinds, structure, construction, resistance and the problems and deterioration and their cause.

Maintenance of walls. Old and new ways to build walls with different materials. Advantage and disadvantages of some materials. The use of walls for different purposes.

Efflorescence or whitening of walls by calcium or lime. The causes, correction and components to be added to the walls to avoid future deterioration.

Weeper Holes and vent slots in window sills and at the base of brick walls on foundations.

Insulation of attics, walls and basements. What to do or avoid.

Windows of different kind. Their advantage and proper operation. The improvement of existing windows. What are the main reasons to consider replacing the windows.

Doors made in wood, aluminum, metal or other materials; old and new, advantages and setbacks.

Outside Entrance or main access, balcony, porch or verandah.

Balconies. The suspended balconies on upper levels or stories, materials, flaw in designs and maintenance.

Raised Terraces often in wood. Their foundation and basic design and what to avoid.

The Foundation:

of cracks , their importance, their causes and their repair. How to avoid the formation of cracks in walls, foundations and in basement or garage floors.

Columns of metal, solid concrete, concrete blocks, telescopic adjustable posts or wood. Their strength and soundness.

Foundations material, height, of cracks , maintenance and false or erroneous concepts. Material used for repairs.

Stucco on foundations or walls. How to use and what to avoid.


Inside the property

Attic and what can be seen and checked.

Stories/Floors what to check and expect to see.

Main Floor treated differently than other floors as it lies directly on the main structure of posts and beams.

Basement structure, insulation, room addition, accesses, windows, equipment, humidity, danger of inundation, protection.

Inside Walls, partitions, structural walls, supporting walls, divisions, fire walls, of cracks and maintenance.

Heating sources and distribution. The advantages and drawbacks.

Ventilation of the attics, ventilation of the different floors and the basement.

Water Supply, amount and quality, pressure and flow. Ways to improve the system. Some materials and choice of sizes may be questionable.

Sewers and drains, rainfall and storms evacuation, foundation drains, floor drains and sump pumps.

Electricity in older and new buildings; needs, adequacy, loads, improvements, safety. Size in relation to other sources of energy.

Humidity in attic, inside and basements. Also in all closed areas.

Security with operation of facilities or equipment.

Exits from different levels and areas.