Two Different Types of "Home Inspections"


There are two different types of home inspectors and home inspections.  In Juneau, until recently, almost all home inspections were conducted by licensed Professional Engineers and stamped with their professional seals. In July 2004, the State of Alaska created a licensing program for Home Inspectors to protect the consumer from individuals calling themselves "Home Inspectors" with little if any training or background in the industry.  


The regulated, 'professional' inspector approaches the inspection in a new way.  He conducts a much more thorough, detailed and professional job.  He is not just concerned with the house 'meeting codes', pleasing the referring Realtor or doing a quick walk-through inspection.  He is prohibited by law from providing referral incentives, or offering to repair the discrepancies he documents in his report.  A professional home inspector works with, and for the client to ensure that the house is safe and that it will retain its value for many years to come.


It's not just the old  'you get what you pay for', it's really a new standard of competence, training and effort.  


Why Is There Confusion About Whether
I Should Use An Engineer Or A Home Inspector?


Some people in the Real-estate industry would have you believe that only an engineer is REALLY qualified to perform home inspections. In some cases consumers have been led to believe that a home inspection involves engineering analysis and therefore requires the use of a licensed Professional Engineer.  In other cases the Realtor may just want to check the block, get an inspection done, and close the deal.  A 4-6 page engineer's report verses a 20-30 page in depth professional home inspection report may do just that.


Visual home inspections or inspections performed under the Alaska Home Inspector Statutes and Regulations do not involve engineering analysis, even when performed by PE's. In fact, engineering is an entirely different type of investigation, which entails detailed scientific measurements, tests, calculations, and / or analysis. Such a technically exhaustive analysis involves considerable time and expense, and is only appropriate when visual evidence exists to indicate a problem that warrants further specialized investigation.  By Alaska Statute, a Home Inspection is a visual examination, performed in accordance with standards of practice adopted by the department, of the readily accessible parts of specific systems and components of a residence or intended residence.


Don't Let The "PE" Title Fool You. In Alaska a Professional Engineer can simply state that he/she is a PE, regardless whether the degree was obtained in mechanical, electrical, civil, sanitary, structural or any other discipline of engineering.  There Are No Engineering Degrees In Home Inspection. You should also be aware that the title of "certified inspector" or "home inspection engineer" is not given out or granted by any Alaska State agency. Alaska issues only a "Certificate of Registration" as a home inspector.  Titles of "Certified Home Inspector" are conveyed not by the state, but by the organizations and professional associations that set Standards of Practice and monitor this growing industry.


What Do You Want To learn About The Home You're Planning To Purchase? If you're like most home buyers, you want to know the condition of the house and its components.  Questions like: Is the roof leaking? Is the heating system working properly? Does the plumbing function properly? Are there any electrical hazards? Are there items in the house that will need repair or replacing and when? Does the wood framing have any damage? Do the doors and windows function properly? Does the basement get wet? Etc. Answering these, and other similar questions is precisely the job of a professional home inspector during a complete visual examination of the property.


A qualified Professional Home Inspector, through specific training and experience, understands not only how a home's systems and components should work, but also how they interact with each other, and how they stand the test of time. A good home inspector will, however, recommend either the services of a engineer, disciplined in a particular field, or other specialist when the need for further investigation is warranted.


Using a home inspector rather than an engineer for a basic home inspection is like visiting your family doctor for a general checkup. You don't visit a brain surgeon or heart specialist for a yearly physical. If the general practitioner finds something unusual or something that warrants further analysis, you will be referred to the appropriate specialist.


To get a better inspection, you would have to hire separate experts in all the different fields of home construction and maintenance, a Journeyman Electrician, a Licensed Plumber, a Master Carpenter, a Licensed HVAC contractor, a Licensed Structural Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, a Licensed Industrial Hygienist and many more.  Such a technically exhaustive inspection would be prohibitively expensive and take weeks!


Hire a Professional Home Inspector and receive the peace of mind that you need and deserve.


How do you know if your Home Inspector is qualified?  Here is a great web site that explains some of ways.



Click here to read the Standards or Practice for today's Professional Home Inspectors