frequently asked questions


What is the difference between Home inspector and Structural engineers?

Our home inspector will do a visual inspection by looking at the home's various systems, including interior and exterior components. If they find something of note, they will usually advise you to consult our specialist to look at the issue in depth.

Our in-house structural engineer will know what to look for. In addition, he will have more knowledge and training on the problem than a home inspector would.  Whether buying or selling, it’s crucial to hire your own structural engineering experts. We can help you with your structural concerns. Call us for more details

What should I expect from an inspection by Omega Structural Inc?

We will cover all visible areas of the foundation are examined for signs of stress or deterioration. Basement and crawl space for any evidence of moisture. The framing for signs of insect activity, rot and weakness. Elements of the roof, such as flashing, surfacing and gutters are checked to ensure the best performance and no leaks.


How do I know if I need a structural inspection?

It is very important to order a structural inspection of a home before buying or selling it. If you are adding on or doing significant renovation work to a home that could have an impact on the stability of the structure, be sure to call us to assist you with our engineering professional services.


When should I be worried about foundation cracks?

A vertical crack is just as bad as a horizontal crack. While cracks that are wider at the top generally indicate a dropping foundation and heaving center, cracks wider at the bottom usually mean a heaving foundation and dropping center. Either situation requires the attention and evaluation of a structural engineer.

What structural issues should I be concerned about when remodeling?

You certainly don't want to risk the wrath of your area's building authority. More importantly, badly done structural changes can result in roof and foundation damage, uneven floors, wall cracks, door problems, and in the worst cases, collapses.

Prior to any significant retrofitting or remodeling project, it’s important to consult a structural engineer. They can make recommendations, conduct a review and keep your newly redesigned structure from falling down around you.


What are some of the signs that I might need an inspection by Omega Structural Inc?

Signs of settlement. A cracked foundation or walls, sagging ceilings. You might also notice leaning walls outside, a bulge or curve in a concrete wall or weakness and chipping in your concrete foundation. Issues with balconies and guardrails. Other problems can include poor drainage, leaks at the foundation level, moisture in your basement or crawl space and cracks in ceramic or vinyl tile on your floors.

Many of these troubles indicate a problem with the foundation. It’s best to fix smaller issues today before they become big headaches tomorrow.


What is a soft-story building?

A soft-story building is a structure which has a weaker first floor and is unable to carry the weight of the stories above during an earthquake. The first floor generally would have large openings in the perimeter walls such as garages, tuck under parking or even large windows.


What are the retrofitting Laws In L.A?

In 2015, The City of Los Angeles recently passed Ordinance 183893, which requires the retrofit of pre-1978 wood-frame soft-story buildings and non-ductile concrete buildings. The goal of the mandatory retrofit programs, under the ordinance, is to reduce these structural deficiencies and improve the performance of these buildings during earthquakes.


What is the Mandatory Retrofit Program?

The goal of the mandatory retrofit program, under Ordinance 183893 and Ordinance 184081, is to reduce structural deficiencies by the most economical and feasible method. Without proper strengthening, these vulnerable buildings may be subjected to structural failure during and/or after an earthquake.


What is the cost of a Soft Story Retrofit?

While there is not a standard cost for retrofit work on a soft story building. There are many factors (the size of the property, those built on hillsides and those with basement or rooms over garages will typically cost more to retrofit) that affect the cost of your project. With our experienced engineers, we will help you save on your retrofit project. Call us today for a free evaluation of your building.


Is my Building affected?

LADBS (Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety) has determined that your building meets all the criteria of a soft story building. Using the Department of Building and Safety website, you can easily check to see if your building is on that list or if you received a notice from the city, you need to hire an engineer to determine what retrofit work is needed (if any).


Can I charge my tenants for the Retrofit Work?

Yes, you can. Owners may increase the rent to recover a portion of the cost of the retrofit. The amount you can recover may vary by the city your building is located.


Are decks included in an inspection?

Your answer is “YES”. Bill No. 721 for Inspection of Exterior Elevated Elements.

All multi-family residential buildings with three or more dwelling units in California that have “exterior elevated elements” that rely in whole or in substantial part on wood structural support must comply with this law. It is important to note that local building departments may implement more stringent inspection requirements. SB 721 sets minimum inspection and repair requirements, so you should check with your local building department for the requirements in your area.

Decks, porches and other attached structures, such as garages can also be examined for stability as part of the general inspection.


Do I need a permit to complete necessary repairs?

It depends on the scope of work but most projects we complete will require us to comply with the requirements of the local building department, including applying for all required permits.


How do I know you are qualified?

Each state requires structural engineers to be licensed in order to provide services. Make sure the professional you hire has the appropriate specialization.

After receiving the license, structural engineers are assigned a special identification number. This number will appear on all approved plans and prepared reports. Beware of any structural engineer who will not or cannot provide his or her license number.


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