Case Study: Should You Be Performing Home Inspections As A Design Professional?

home inspections

Home Inspections

You may be or have been approached by family member, friend, colleague or client prospect to perform a home inspection in conjunction with the purchase of a home. You are a licensed design professional and should have the qualifications to do so, right? Yes. But should you? Maybe. Only if you protect yourself. And, like other projects, you should be aware of the risks.


A structural engineer was asked by a family friend to provide a home inspection for a first-time home buyer as a ‘favor’ (i.e. no charge). The engineer provided a home inspection for a single-family home in Arizona. Since this was a family friend, no written contract was prepared. The buyer was not present when the home was inspected. The attic was full of boxes and the engineer was unable to fully view the floors and the walls. Several attempts were made to have the buyer remove the boxes from the attic, but these requests were ignored. The engineer issued his report based on his visual views only. Six months later, the engineer was served with a lawsuit related to his inspection (Note: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished). The lawsuit alleged that the inspection provided by the engineer was negligent in that he failed to discover certain defects, including cracking in the walls. The lawsuit continued for 12 months which included exchange of written discovery, appearance for depositions and finally a Court-ordered mediation. The matter resolved for a nominal sum, however, defense fees were incurred and, rather than focusing on his business, the engineer was otherwise preoccupied with a lawsuit.


First and foremost, by doing home inspections, you are taking on services that might not particularly be within your day-to-day expertise. Brace yourself knowing that the fee for this type of service is nominal.   Read more here.

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