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Knowing the Difference Between Property Inspectors & Engineers

shutterstock_118821052Property inspectors are like hidden gems in the daily madness of the real estate industry and housing market. These professionals are trained to be in tune with what makes or breaks a house and are responsible for articulating its strengths, as well as its deficiencies. Although engineers are highly respected workers whose duties often intersect with that of inspectors, it’s important to be able to differentiate their capabilities. Not knowing the difference can lead aspiring inspectors and engineers to take the wrong career path, or clients who are confused on how to maneuver through the home reconstruction process. Get the facts here.

Inspectors Don’t Make Recommendations on Structural Changes

Property inspectors do strictly what their title suggests: they inspect properties. This process involves assessing the present state of a house for sellers or potential homebuyers. It does not, however, involve making suggestions on how to adjust or repair structural components. This task is normally left up to qualified engineers who make a living off of defining and fixing structural damage. Inspectors can only provide unbiased reports about the overall condition of the property surveyed and, if necessary, refer clients to engineers who can further assist them.

Educational Requirements Differ

While it’s vital for both inspectors and engineers to get adequate training to do their jobs, it must be noted that the backgrounds of these professionals are quite different. The majority of property inspectors get on-the-job training before becoming certified or pursuing licensure. Engineers, on the other hand, are typically required to attend a 4-year college, in addition to passing a 16-hour exam on engineering principles and completion of an apprenticeship under another seasoned engineer. This is the assessment that engineers make on homes are more in depth since they have to account for mechanical, electrical, and structural issues.

Opposite Career Goals

The respective career paths of property inspectors aren’t congruent with most engineers’ professional goals. Both occupations require individuals to carry out a great deal of their work independently, but inspectors tend to focus on setting up their own businesses whereas engineers may be independent contractors or they’re employed with engineering firms. Inspectors who are small business owners often have the burden of marketing their services, as well as fulfilling the general duties in their line of work. Professionals in both realms are encouraged to join associations where they fellowship with others in their field and stay current with trends in their field of study.

The Equipment isn’t the Same

Property inspectors typically only need to have access to the materials that enable them to convey a property’s condition to their clients. More of these professionals appreciate the convenience, timeliness, and accuracy of inspection software that can be downloaded and utilized on a mobile phone or tablet. On the contrary, engineers are known for using a wide range of tools, such as measuring devices, calibration systems, scanners, and dimensional instruments. Additional engineering inspection equipment may include, but isn’t limited to, gauges, digital indicators, and precision hand tools.


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