If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that you are one of those people that are in need of 40-year recertification. In a way, you are in luck because the internet is full of information about what a 40-year rectification is and how to go about getting this needed inspection. Click here if you want to know what 40-year recertification is. I will assume that you have already done that homework and you are past the initial shock phase and on to how you will go about getting your building certified without breaking the bank.
This blog will not get into the details of how to hire a professional to perform your 40-year inspection. There is another blog that deals with this specific issue. You can Click here to see this blog. This blog deals more with avoiding spending more money than you have to when there are repairs that need to be performed on your building in order to pass the inspection.
Related: How much does a 40 Year Recertification cost?
For starters, you must know that the 40-year recertification is not a tool to bring your building up to the current code. It is, however, a tool to repair items that are more of a safety hazard that pertain mainly to electrical and structural issues. If buildings were required to be brought up to current code, then practically all of the 40-year-old buildings would require millions upon millions of dollars of work done. One small example of a common misconception is the apparent requirement to replace a roof that is leaking. If a roof is leaking but is in acceptable structural condition, your roof does not have to be upgraded to a roof that is up to current code. Another common example is if your railings do not meet all of the current code requirements, but are currently in acceptable structural condition and were allowable at the time the building was originally built, you do not necessarily have to incur in the huge expense and change all of your railings. There are many more cases of issues that are not necessarily a requirement to be repaired and/or upgraded in order for your structure to be certified.
In reality, your Building Departments that impose this 40-year inspection requirement do not expect that your building is completely brought up to current code. So why would you want to self-impose spending more money than you would want to? The key is to make sure that the professional that you hire does not perform the inspection and produce an all-encompassing “wish list” of items that they want to get done. There are many reasons that an engineer or architect would want a large list to be produced. Some of these reasons include the following:
1- Your professional is being conservative in their assessments. At times, professionals tend to err on the safe side and tend to require more than what is needed. There is actually nothing wrong with this except that if you are an owner that is strapped for money, then you may want to leave some repairs for after the building is certified.
2- Your professional is ignorant of the requirements of the 40-year inspection and/or has little experience in dealing with the detailed inspection requirements.
3- Your professional is purposely trying to obtain more work. The reasons vary greatly on the reasons for this. It is beyond the scope of this blog to go into the details on this.
In order to avoid being required to perform repairs that can potentially be outside the scope of the 40-year recertification, you should thoroughly investigate your professionals before they are hired. Some steps that you can use are as follow:
- Ask your professional how many inspections have they done in the past to gauge their experience.
- Ask your professional for references on the last 5 inspections that they have performed. Note that I did not state 5 inspections that they have done in the last year. Get references from those inspections that they have done within the past week or very recently.
- Ask them in a direct fashion if they will ever require an issue to be repaired that is not necessarily a requirement in order to pass the 40-year recertification.
Related: Guide on How to Hire An Engineer to do your 40-year Recertification
In conclusion, it is easy to get caught in a situation where you will be asked by your professional to perform repairs that you will not necessarily need in order to pass. The reasons are varied and most of the time has very little to do with your professional being incompetent or wanting to take advantage of you. After all, it is our job to guard public safety. The best you can do is do your homework and find a company that has good references and tracks records. It is also a good idea to go to Florida’s DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulations) website and search for any complaints against the professional’s license.
About The Author
Greg Batista, PE
Mr. Batista is the most recognized, authoritative, and award-winning engineer and contractor in Florida. Over his 30 year distinguished career, he has been both Engineer of Record and Contractor on thousands of jobs.
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