One important understanding about structural inspections is that inspectors normally look at a property at a single moment in time and provide recommendations based on that single visit. It is only in rare cases that an inspector knows when a foundation crack first appeared, or how long water damage has been present. A structural crack, for example, which has been present for twenty years and remained unchanged is a far different case than a crack that appeared two weeks ago. It is also important to understand that an inspector does not have the luxury of seeing one-hundred percent of the structure when making an evaluation because much of the structure is concealed behind walls and insulation. That is why inspectors sometimes recommend structural monitoring.
The purpose of structural monitoring is really about saving money. It would be easy for an inspector to always recommend repairs when a structural issue is found, but in many cases foundation cracks or drywall cracking represent conditions might have appeared years before and are now dormant. And because structural repairs can be very expensive, monitoring conditions is sometimes the smartest approach.
Structural monitoring normally requires detailed measurements at a set interval, usually several months apart. The goal is to determine if the condition is active (i.e. changing) or stable. In most cases, if the conditions do not change over several months, or show very little change over a year, the condition is considered acceptable.
To assist our clients, Kemp Home Inspections offers structural monitoring for both residential and commercial properties in the Maryland, Virginia and DC areas. Cost of monitoring is less than people expect because after an initial evaluation, follow-up visits are normally less than 30 minutes.