WHAT'S INCLUDED WITH YOUR REAL ESTATE INSPECTION

Structural Evaluation & Investigation including Foundation Elevation Survey

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 If you are purchasing a home or building a custom home, then you should have a Foundation Elevation Survey completed. A professional Foundation Elevation Survey performed by a Graduate Engineer, documents all the relative elevations of your home's Foundation and is crucial in determining the structural integrity of your home's Foundation. A Foundation Survey is "NOT" a Civil Survey that you get if you are buying or selling a home. A Foundation Survey is a document that shows a schematic floor plan of your house with elevation readings throughout the floor plan. The elevation readings represent the high and low points of your Foundation at the time the readings are taken. Consider it a snap shot of the current position of your Foundation. The initial benefit of having a Foundation Survey is that the document becomes a recorded independent document that shows the elevation readings of your Foundation at a specific point in time. The document can later be referenced if you ever suspect the Foundation may be moving, or Foundation related problems. If you suspect the Foundation may be moving, then another Foundation Elevation Survey can be completed and the elevation readings can be compared to provide you with information on the degree of movement, location of movement and the relative rate of movement.


Concrete Contractors and Custom Home Builders certainly try very hard to construct a level Foundation.  The Framing Contractor and the Hardwood Flooring Contractor appreciate a Foundation that is constructed level; however, constructing a perfectly level Foundation using common industry practices is not easily possible. Consider the task of icing a square flat cake. The icing material may be pasty enough to get a smooth finish, but because the icing knife is hard to control, then the icing finish will have slight highs and lows. You may not be able to see the difference, but they are there. That same phenomenon occurs with the construction of Concrete Foundations. Once the Concrete Foundation is constructed, it is not feasible to remove it and start over. Having a Foundation Survey once the Foundation is constructed will provide you with an orientation of where the highs and lows occur.  This information is very valuable in monitoring the performance of your Foundation. Consider the Foundation Elevation Survey a baseline of where your Foundation starts.


At A-PLUS Inspection Services, we use the ZIPLEVEL PRO-2000 by Technidea. This award-winning, high precision pressurized hydrostatic altimeter works much like an aircraft altimeter that measures the weight of the air above it, except that ZIPLEVEL does not use the atmosphere to measure elevation.  Instead, ZIPLEVEL is a pressurized system that measures the weight of a proprietary liquid sealed within its Cord, relative to a Reference Cell in the hub of its reel. This makes ZIPLEVEL 10,000 times as precise as an aircraft altimeter and immune from both barometric pressure and altitude changes. 

Wood Destroying Organism Inspection

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Structural pest inspections are extremely important and their value is often times significantly underestimated. Wood destroying pests can severely damage the structural integrity of any structure, causing thousands in damage. The most common wood destroying organisms include carpenter ants, termites, wood infesting beetles, and rot fungus.  While we are meticulously inspecting every square inch of your structure, we are also looking for any signs of active or previous Wood Destroying Organism infestation, or any possible "conducive" conditions that may lead to Wood Destroying Organisms.   

 

When we think of Wood-Destroying Organisms, often the first ones to come to mind are termites. Termites are insidious, because all too frequently, homeowners are unaware of their presence. This is because termites burrow deep within wood and feed on the pulp, largely unnoticed. In this manner, they can do extensive damage, eating large sections of a home’s framing or finish work without the homeowner’s knowledge. Replacing these wooden parts of a home can be expensive, and it’s hard to know when the problem has been thoroughly eradicated.

 

Some species of Beetles also destroy wood. They can be found in homes or wooden furniture or other outdoor structures. These beetles burrow into the wood and deposit their larvae. When the baby insects hatch, they emerge, leaving small holes behind. Thus, signs of a wood-eating beetle infestation include tiny holes similar to nail holes in a deck or other places in the home. These pests are more often attracted to old or decaying wood. To cut down on tempting this insect to take up residence, it’s best to dispose of any unused scrap wood or lumber.

 

While carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they can destroy it in the course of establishing a colony inside a wooden structure. Carpenter ants prefer wood that is moist and partially decayed. Signs of a carpenter ant infestation include shavings on the floor or ground beneath where they are building their nest.

Once the colony grows to a certain size, you can even hear them working inside the wood to expand their living quarters. Witnessing carpenter ants emerging from cracks or holes in walls or ceilings is a fairly sure sign of an infestation.

 

Wood, or carpenter bees also burrow into lumber and destroy it. Favorite targets are decks, sheds, and attics. Telltale signs of a carpenter bee infestation are pinky-finger-sized holes in wood that appear to have been drilled with a power tool.  That’s how smooth and even they are. Some also have sawdust underneath.

Similar to a carpenter ant infestation, with a carpenter bee infestation, you may be able to hear the colony working inside the wood.


Lastly, fungus, while not an insect, is a living thing that can also destroy wood. There are two basic kinds of wood destroying fungus, dry rot and wet rot. Both thrive in damp and humid conditions, but they look different. Wood affected by dry rot has a whitish-yellowing tinge and an odor. Wood that is affected by wet rot may look darker, but if it is painted, you may not notice any change. The only way to diagnose wet rot is to probe the wood to see if it yields or has a spongy feel. Dry rot spreads faster than wet rot, but both must be removed and replaced to stop progression. And the source of the problem must be rectified so that the problem does not return. Sometimes this is done by repairing leaks, improving ventilation or adding a humidifier.


Thermal Imaging Inspection and Whole-House Scan

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Thermal Imaging is a technology that far exceeds a typical "visual inspection" and allows us to show you things about a Structure that no one can show you using other inspection methods. Thermal Imaging, or Infrared Thermography, reveals things at a much higher dimension, producing images of invisible heat energy emitted from objects and systems in the Structure and allows us to measure it. Thermal Imaging helps to diagnose the problem, rather than merely identify symptoms and can sometimes, but not always, identify and document:


  • Electrical faults before they cause a fire
  • Overloaded and undersized circuits
  • Circuit breakers in need of immediate replacement
  • Missing, damaged and/or wet insulation
  • Heat loss and air infiltration in Walls, Ceilings, Floors, Windows and Doors
  • Moisture intrusion that could lead to environmental issues
  • Possible pest infestation
  • Hidden Roof leaks, before they cause serious damage
  • Air conditioner compressor leaks
  • Under fastening and/or missing framing members
  • Structural defects
  • Broken seals in Double-Pane Insulated Windows
  • Energy loss and efficiency
  • Dangerous flue leaks
  • Damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems
  • Unknown plumbing leaks
  • Overheated equipment 


Thermal Imaging Cameras detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images of that radiation. Although Infrared Thermography is a far better diagnostic tool than the naked eye, it does not guarantee 100% accuracy, unless removal or destruction of components can be achieved to validate findings.  

Irrigation System

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An automatic irrigation system is the only way to maintain a health, beautiful landscape which you can enjoy with your friends and family. It is the most efficient and convenient way to ensure your landscape gets the water it needs without over and/or under watering. When an irrigation system is properly installed and maintained, it is designed to conserve water. Keep in mind that there is more to an irrigation system than just sprinklers.  System design and installation are critical factors that affect your systems longevity and performance.

  

Our thorough and comprehensive irrigation system inspection will give you the piece of mind you are looking for when purchasing your new property.

Mold Inspection

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 All molds have the potential to cause illness, especially to individuals with sensitivities, asthma, low immune defenses and other health problems. There are over 60,000 different types of molds in the U.S. and scientist have only researched a very small percentage of them. New research is coming out yearly that helps us understand more about the potential health problems associated with mold. While there is a misconception that only certain types of molds are bad (for instance, some have heard that only "black mold" is harmful), all molds could potentially cause health issues. Molds can produce allergens, irritants and mycotoxins that some people may react to. There are many variables that affect the type and severity of symptoms including type of mold, a person's age, to what degree of exposure and their existing allergies and sensitivities.  


 Our mold inspection is a visual assessment in which we look for any signs of mold, mildew, fungus or algae growth that would affect indoor air quality. We use specialized instruments, including moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to assist in detecting the presence of environmental/biological growth. 

Environmental Report

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 Protect your family from contaminated soil and groundwater. The Neighborhood Environmental Report provided by Environmental Data Resources, Inc., scans over (1400) governmental databases and searches over (23) million records of potential land and groundwater contamination within (1) mile of the property inspected. Environmental Data Resources, Inc., is the leading national provider of environmental risk information to environmental professionals. This specialized report will show you the locations of:


  • Leaking Tanks (e.g., Gas Stations)
  • Spills (e.g., Dry Cleaners)
  • Residential Oil Spills
  • Clandestine Drug Labs (34,000+ known in the U.S.)
  • Superfund Sites (1,300+ known in the U.S.)
  • State Hazardous Waste Sites
  • Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage & Disposal Sites
  • Discovery and Assessment Sites
  • Emergency Response Notification Sites
  • Active/Former Department of Defense Sites
  • Manufactured Gas Plants
  • Radioactive Material Activity Sites


Your Neighborhood Environmental Report contains the most updated FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Flood Zone Map, detailing both the 100-Year & 500-Year Flood Zones within a (1) mile radius of the property inspected.  

Your Neighborhood Environmental Report also contains the most updated National Wetlands Inventory Map, detailing both State & National Wetlands Inventory. Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economical and social benefits. The provide habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants.  Wetlands are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Wetlands are also important landscape features because they hold and slowly release flood water and snow melt, recharge groundwater, recycle nutrients and provide recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people. 

A-PLUS Inspection Services, Since 1967

INSPECTORS  |  CONSULTANTS  |  BUILDERS  |  THERMAL IMAGING

GRADUATE ENGINEERS  |  FORENSICS  |  EXPERT WITNESSES


Chris Chitsey - M.Engr., CMI, TREC #5011

Chris@BestAustinInspectors.com

Direct Cell:  512.695.2182


13114 South Ridge Circle

Leander, TX  78641-9411

512.258.8766


Copyright © 2019 A-PLUS Inspection Services, Since 1967.  All Rights Reserved.