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re: home evaluation

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I do these types of home evaluations/investigations, as I feel everyone deserves a good structural engineer such as yourself (not trying to put myself over either). I have come across a TON of settlement problems. In FL with our sandy soil and weak limestone layer, lots of rainfall, and lack of proper footing compaction, and largely spaced reinforcement (if any) in the CMU walls, there are settlement cracks in nearly every masonry structure around.... Also see if there are gutters, obvious roof runoff, or sprinkler systems, these can also exacerbate subsidence.
Just limit your liaibility with a good, clearly worded contract, saying you are only performing a limited structural investigation of obvious, existing problems. Put limitiations of liaiblity, and clearly state you are just offering a professional opinion, you are not doing repair design work and not guaranteeing that the problems will not reoccur or continue, whatever the case may be. And always conclude your report by saying any existing cracks or issues should be monitored. You are not performing a Geotech evaluation. I would also ask some questions about the history, and of course talk to a realtor about the FL disclosure laws, in my couple of real estate transactions it seems to be spelled out with wording about mold, asbestos, and maybe sinkholes.
Andrew Kester, P.E.
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
1510 E. Colonial Ave., Suite 301
Orlando, FL 32803
M 407-921-1617
F 321-249-0349