Do You Need An Engineer Or A Home Inspector?

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

Are only professional licensed engineers 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.

Don't Let The "PE" Title Fool You 

In most states 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. 

In Alaska, only Professional Home Inspectors are licensed to conduct home inspections. 

Inspections performed under the Alaska Home Inspection Statutes do not involve engineering analysis, even when performed by PE's, and only those PE's who are registered both as a Home Inspector and a PE are licensed to perform them.  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.

What Do You Want To learn About The Home You're Planning To Purchase?

You want to know the condition of the house and its components.  If you're like most home buyers 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.

Some Real Estate Professionals would rather you order an Engineering Report

What is their motivation?  Is your motivation to quickly move to closing, and possibly face unexpected maintenance expenses down the line?  It is certainly easier to address the concerns in a 4-6 page engineer report than a well written 24-30 page Home Inspection.  But which better protects you as the consumer?

A 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 would be like visiting your family doctor rather than a specialist 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, he / she will refer you to the appropriate specialist.