san antonio - austin texas construction management
    688 Pecan Street
Canyon Lake, TX 78133
832.524.0715 V
 
san antonio - austin texas construction management
san antonio - austin construction management / inspections


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

RESIDENTIAL INSPECTIONS

  1. What can I expect from DEI's residential inspection of my prospective home? In the State of Texas, the scope of residential inspections is set by the Texas Real Estate Commission, which has promulgated a comprehensive guideline for such inspections. The specific requirements can be seen at their website, www.trec.state.tx.us. In addition to those basic services, DEI can include such features as swimming pools, lawn sprinkler systems, water wells, and septic systems in its report as optional cost items.
  2. Can DEI perform a structural–only inspection? Yes. Because DEI has a resident professional engineer on staff, an inspection limited only to foundation or to foundation and superstructure can be performed. This might be useful to an existing homeowner who has concerns about foundation settlement, for example, and would like a recommendation that is independent of special interests (such as a foundation repair company) or that might provide a second opinion on comments by other inspectors.
  3. What will an inspection cost me? A number of factors are involved in the calculation of inspection fees, but the principal ones are: 1) size of the home; 2) age of the home; 3) foundation type; and 4) special features to be included in the report. Travel distance for DEI can also be a factor when the residence is over 30 miles from our office.
  4. How long will the inspection take? May I be present for it? DEI regularly takes three hours or more for the typical inspection, and believes that speeding the process up would be detrimental both to our client and to our reputation. If another inspector quotes a much briefer inspection, you should ask what he is missing that DEI would likely pick up. DEI welcomes its buyer–client for all or any part of the inspection. However, since many buyers are too busy or are just not interested enough to endure the whole inspection it has been our experience that arriving in the last hour or so is the best compromise. This gives the inspector time to go over any significant issues with the buyer while both are at the property to talk about it.
  5. Can I get the report immediately after the inspection? No, although we will provide a verbal summary of our findings while still at the site. DEI´s experience has been that inspectors need a chance to review their memory against their field notes before issuing the written report. This helps clear up typographical errors that might be confusing or misleading as well. In most cases, the buyer will receive the written report within two business days after the inspection.
  6. Why should I pick DEI over another inspection firm? Although credentials are not an absolute guarantee of performance, they can provide insight into the likelihood of an inspector knowing what he is looking for. And DEI´s credentials far exceed those of most inspectors, in terms of design experience, construction experience and professional training, licensing and certification. The worst criterion for selection is the fee amount--the most expensive inspector will be only a very small percentage of your home price.
  7. What should I expect of my prospective home in terms of quality and performance? DEI has never inspected the perfect home and certainly never will. Moreover, the TREC guidelines for inspections mandate the reporting of certain defects, even if those defects might have minimal effect on a particular homebuyer or if they are defects only by virtue of a code change since the home was built. DEI can usually provide some informal guidance to the buyer on its findings, but will never make a purchase/no purchase recommendation. Though buyers now know more than ever before about their new home, they still have to make that final, subjective decision.
  8. How can I get the most out of your inspection? If the home is occupied, try to have the seller make the home as accessible as possible. For example, heavily furnished or cluttered homes can prevent access to many elements that should be inspected, and DEI will not move this material to gain access. If the home is vacant, it is important that all utilities be turned on in order to test HVAC equipment, appliances, and electrical devices.

CUSTOM HOME BUYER SUPPORT

  1. How much is it likely to cost me to retain DEI in a support role for my new home? Although the fee amounts related to Custom Home Buyer Support can vary greatly, depending on just how much assistance the buyer wants or needs, the total is never a significant percentage of the project cost. Fees might be as little as $1200 for phased inspections only or $2–3000 or more for comprehensive design management and construction management services. In many instances, our fees are more than offset by our experience in negotiating design and construction services or by the reduction in claims or disputes over the course of the project.
  2. A good friend of mine wants to build (or design) my home. Why should I choose DEI over my friend? Building a custom home is a complex, expensive undertaking, and is prone to disputes and misunderstandings, even in the best of circumstances. Because of this, DEI believes that friendships are better left untested by the process. However, retaining DEI where such relationships exist can often help them work since we can provide balance and mediation to both sides.
  3. Will DEI perform a phased inspection on my home without providing all the other design management and construction management services you offer? Of course, and for many conventional homes this may be all you need. For truly custom homes, however, we believe that getting DEI involved in your program very early on offers the best chance for a successful outcome since it is the completeness or incompleteness of the documentation phase where much of the success of the project lies.

COMMERCIAL INSPECTIONS

  1. Don´t you have a "packaged" commercial inspection with standard rates? No, because there is no standard commercial building and because each buyer has his own special needs for information in the purchase. For example, a buyer of a commercial laundry who intends to continue that business might want a comprehensive analysis of both building and mechanical/electrical systems. On the other hand, a buyer who intends to gut the building and build out a retail shop would likely care very little about the mechanical/electrical systems. And a buyer who intends to demolish the building and start over would have little concern at all about the building, but might be concerned about the availability of utilities, planning and zoning limitations, etc. DEI always tailors its inspection to those needs.
  2. What information can DEI provide on a commercial property? DEI has extensive experience in due diligence, civil and structural design, commercial construction management, and construction estimating. When a property and client require it, we will team up with other consultants in architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering, environmental engineering and even process engineering. For very complex and large buildings, we might even retain civil or structural engineers with special expertise in such buildings, but will always maintain overall control and management of the inspection process and assembly of the final, written report.

HOMES WITH A SOUL

  1. What is DEI´s philosophy with regard to home–building? DEI believes that many buyers, particularly empty–nesters and retirees, tend to over–build their dream home. Because they have the money and consider a large home a reflection on their success and values, they often include rooms (living rooms are the best example) that will rarely be used and add little to the function of the home. DEI contends that some of the money that would have been used to include these marginal spaces could be better used to design a home that has character and style and that "speaks to the owner´s soul". We´re talking about unique finish details that especially appeal to the buyer, and not just some more crown molding. And we´re talking about quality products that not only last, but get better with age. And we´re talking about the subtle aspects of quality that are felt more than they are seen. This style is not for everyone, but for those who strive for quality, rather than quantity, in everything they do.
  2. Since DEI neither designs nor builds, why do I need them to help me build a custom home? For most buyers, the design and construction of a custom home is a once–in–a–lifetime event, and unless the buyer has been in the construction industry for much of his/her career, the complexity and time involved will come as a bit of a shock. And while most designers and builders are competent and well intentioned, they each have their own agendas and neither will likely guide the project from initial site selection right through punchlist completion. DEI provides the buyer with his own personal building consultant, providing insights and leverage to see that the buyer´s objectives are met in every respect. Whether you´re moving from Houston or New Hampshire, that second, highly qualified, opinion can be invaluable.
  3. How does DEI charge for its custom home management services? In almost every case we charge an hourly fee since the extent of our services can rarely be predicted in detail in advance. For example, some buyers may ask us to look at a number of possible building sites and comment on their suitability. Others may find the "perfect" site and ask only for a review of that one site. Still others may already have their property and need no support at all in that respect. DEI can provide an estimate of fees, if the client requests, based on assumed support levels for each element of the project.