Site Visit & Report
If you need us to come and help you with a specific structural issue with a project (or to provide a site consultation regarding a specific problem with your home), then we can help you with just that issue. You may already have a project underway and the municipal building inspector has asked to you have a structural engineer carry out a site visit and provide a site report confirming the adequacy of some part of the building. Often this can be done by way of a site visit plus a report which costs $560+HST (as of March 2017, fee is subject to change and is valid within the immediate Toronto area… extra fees apply for travel outside of Toronto). Payment for this kind of service is due at the time of our site visit/site consultation.
When we carry out a site visit or site consultation, we assume that we will spend about 1h on site providing you with advice and opinions that you may need and we then follow up with a written site report. Site visits are not a substitute for us providing you with structural “design” services for a project.
Also, we can only report on what we can see or reasonably infer from our site observations. We are not magic… and we must be careful to not take on liability by approving of any work which we cannot review directly by way of a site visit. The purpose of our site report is to document our findings so that there is a record of our findings and recommendations – this helps to clarify issues and to ensure that there is no confusion after-the-fact.
Questions & Answers
Do you do home inspections?
We do lots of “site visits” to review and report on structural problems with houses, but we are not “Home Inspectors” who review mostly the “non-structural” aspects of houses. So yes, we can come out and advise on structural concerns that you may have with you home, and provide you with valuable advice and recommendations.
Often a home is sold “conditional upon satisfactory report from a structural engineer”, on the advice of a Home Inspector who thinks that a problem may exist. Home inspection firms review many components of a home, usually at the time of purchase or sale.
If you are buying a house, always have a home inspection done by a qualified home inspector before signing on the dotted line. When a home inspector thinks that there is a structural problem with a house, they will they recommend that you hire us to come out to review those problems on site.
Could I get permits from a site report
No, a site report is just a letter which summarizes what we observed on site and often contains recommendations related to a problem or condition that we observed on site. In order to get a permit for a construction project, you need to have plans and specifications prepared which show the work that is to be done by a contractor. Only once plans and specifications have been drawn up can you apply for a building permit.
Would I still get charged site visit fees if we decide to do the building permit drawings with your company?
If you ask us to carry out a site visit, but then during our site visit you decide that you don’t need a site report but rather, you want us to prepare design drawings, then we can credit back to you half of the site visit cost once you retain us to do the design drawings. However, this must happen before we prepare the site report…otherwise we can’t offer you this credit.
How long does it take to schedule a site visit, I need it ASAP, along with the report.
If you have an urgent need for a site visit and report to be prepared immediately, please let us know and we can sometimes arrange for same-day service. Usually we can attend within 24 to 48 hours. We try to send site reports within about 48 to 72 hours of our site visit, but depending upon workload, it may take a bit longer.
How much will it cost to have an engineer come to my house?
In most cases, we charge a fee of $560+HST to carry out a site visit (as of March 2017, fee is subject to change and is valid within the immediate Toronto area). Site visits always include a written report which contains our written comments and recommendations. For locations outside of Toronto, additional fees apply.
Will you provide a report after you come for a site visit?
Yes, our policy is to always provide a written report after we carry out a site visit; this is very important so as to ensure that there is a clear written record of our site visit and recommendations. We don’t do site visits without providing a written report, for liability reasons.
My renovation was just finished and my contractor didn’t call the Municipality for any inspections... can you help?
This can be a difficult situation to resolve. First, you need to find out what exactly the Building Inspector needs to have reviewed and what reports are required in order for the Inspector to be satisfied and to close the permit. If important components need to be reviewed, then they must be exposed so that they can be properly examined. Sometimes, this means cutting open walls, floors, and ceilings. Failure of a contractor to call for Municipal Building Inspection is a very significant error on the part of the Contractor since in some rare cases, the work may have to be demolished in order to permit the required inspections. Fees for resolving this sort of thing can be several thousand dollars and take several weeks to complete.
I have a wet basement, does your company inspect these problems?
Water leaks in basements can be difficult to diagnose, and usually are present due to improper grading and drainage around the outside of the house. Usually a leaky basement cannot be fixed with a simple “patch”, but rather a more comprehensive review of why water is accumulating beside the foundation wall of the house is needed. Common remedies include re-grading, new exterior waterproofing, or the installation of a comprehensive interior water management system. Many people are surprised to find out that basement waterproofing is not a building code requirement for new home construction – only damp-proofing is required!
Wet basements are not within the realm of structural engineering, but we do consult on these sorts of problems since we work extensively with foundation wall design and we are well aware of the issues around ensuring that a basement remain dry.
Certainly, if you have cracks in your foundation walls and those cracks are the source of water, then it is probably worth calling us to check the structure of the foundation wall, after which, we can provide recommendations on how to eliminate the water leaks.
Interested in purchasing a new home, we need an inspection prior to purchasing.
If you or your home inspector has identified possible structural problems with the house, then we can carry out a site visit to prepare a report on these perceived problems. Usually we attend to report on sagging or sloping floors, cracked foundation walls, slanted stairs, etc. Note that we only report on the structural issues…we are not a substitute for a qualified home inspector.
My floors are sloping – can you tell us how to fix this?
Yes, we have a great deal of experience with this sort of thing. The first step is to attend the site to determine whether or not this is a foundation support problem, or an interior structural framing problem. Once we narrow down the problem, we can advise you on what can be done to stabilize the structure and/or repair it.
By taking some fairly basic measurements, we are usually able to determine, with a high degree of certainty, why the problem exists and how you would go about solving the problem. We also operate a Construction Company that has undertaken many structural related construction projects where we have fixed sloping floors and stabilized foundations; we are very well equipped to advise you.
A site visit by our staff would be the first step towards fixing this kind of problem.
Download a sample of a site report.
Gallery of sample projects.