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What to Expect During Your Structural Inspection

Structural inspections are key safety measures, both to fix damage after an earthquake, and to prevent possible damage from future seismic activity. However, many property owners don’t know what to expect from the initial inspection. When do you need a structural inspection, and how can you prepare for the visit?

There are three primary reasons that individuals call us for a structural inspection:

  1. They own a building and want to ensure that it’s structurally safe to live in, work in, etc.
  2. They’re planning to purchase a building, and want to make sure it’s safe before buying, or they need an estimate on needed retrofit and repairs.
  3. They’ve identified damage to the building, and want to determine how extensive it is and how they need to proceed in order to fix current damage and prevent future damage.

Structural inspections can also be an important first step to ensure that your building is up to code with local and state regulations for earthquake safety. Here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect during a structural inspection of your building:

Interior/Exterior Of The Building

Structural inspectors will review both the inside and outside of a building. They will specifically be looking for any deteriorated or distressed areas around the building.

Roof Inspection

Another important aspect of a structural inspection is a roof inspection, which can vary widely from one structure to another. An inspection will review surfacing, gutter conditions, or any leakage on the roof.

Crawl Space or Basements

If you have a crawl space or basement the structural inspectors will also be checking these areas for water risks that can impair the structure of the building including drainage systems, water control systems, signs of water damage, and potential flood areas.


One of the most obvious and important structural areas of any building is the foundations. During the inspection, an inspector will look for any signs of stress on the foundation, including deterioration, cracks, movement, or any other visible signs.


Framing is a key place where we can see signs of movement and instability that could be caused by seismic activity and provide a future risk. Particularly, the framing should be in line with the foundation in order to reinforce structural stability.

What Happens After the Inspection?

After a structural inspection, you will receive a report.  If you receive a clean bill of health you will be given a Professional Engineer’s Seal. If not, then your inspector will cover the issues with you and review what needs to be fixed.

Contact Saunders Seismic for more information.

Posted Under: earthquake preparedness, Earthquake Safety, structural inspectors