Home and Building Inspections  

Site Inspection

A inspection of the structure is only one component of the standard home or building inspection we perform and provide. Our residential inspection services are performed in strict accordance with the N.J.A.C 13:40-15 (New Jersey Administrative Code).

When making a large purchase, your first priority should be a thorough inspection. We view the property and structure, whether a house or commercial building as a system, with the components and systems interacting, interfacing, and effecting each other. The inspection and report covers all visible and readily accessible structural, mechanical, and other building systems and components. An in-depth inspection of the average single family home takes 2.5 to 4 hours, larger houses take longer.  Commercial properties vary in time. We don’t rush off to the next inspection, it takes what it takes. Hundreds of points are checked at every inspection. Accept nothing less.

Sophisticated state-of-the-art instrumentation and testing equipment where applicable is available for use. Our wealth of experience provides you with one of the best field inspections possible. Insist on nothing less.

We encourage you to accompany the inspector to get a first hand view and explanation of existing conditions. Building system and component operation and maintenance is explained. This will increase a buyer’s comfort level and eliminates the sole dependence on the written report. Questions are answered during this time (and throughout the buying transaction). Our service does not end with the delivery of the report. We are available for free consultation after you take occupancy of the home or building.

 

Report

Available on your private page on our website with your ID and password following your inspection, or via e-mail.

The written report is 22-35 pages with an executive summary, styled in layman’s terms and provides you with a depth of information and explanation for an understanding of the condition of the house.

The report is easy to follow and categorized into individual sections and indicates:

• Items and systems inspected

• Description of systems and components

• Items and systems not inspected and why

Material defect – A condition, or functional aspect, of a structural component or system that is readily ascertainable during a home inspection that substantially affects the value, habitability, or safety of the dwelling, and can include:

• items or systems not performing their intended function
• Items or systems which are significantly deficient

• Major cost items for repair or replacement
• Other defects and deficiencies

• Potentially damaging conditions

• Items or systems in need of repair

• Required and deferred maintenance

• Need for small repairs

• Suggestions for improvements

• Suggestions for modernization of obsolete areas or systems

Significance of findings

• Recommendations for repair or replacement as needed

• Recommendations to obtain cost estimates as needed

• Need to obtain further inspections, if and as necessary

• Need for destructive testing, if and as necessary

An ACE report is like a custom homeowner’s manual, an invaluable source of information to refer to for years to come. Just ask our past clients, who are our present and our future clients.

      

Wood Destroying Insects (WDI)  a.k.a. Termite Inspection

Inspection
Conducted by a NJ licensed pest Control Applicator- This interior and exterior inspection covers subterranean termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, powder post beetles and other applicable pests based on the age of the structure. Stand-alone WDI inspections/inspectors commonly exclude or omit the attic portion of the inspection. We go up into the attic during the home and building inspection and check for presence of WDI. Structural damage is checked for during our inspection, as can be significant. Commonly damage was not repaired even if the house was chemically treated for pests.

Report
A two page NPMA-33 (National Pest Management Association) report is provided that includes recommendations as needed for chemical treatment(s), damage evaluation and repair and further and destructive testing.  We provide photographs of damage and areas of activity.

 

Radon Gas Screening

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, invisible, naturally occurring soil gas that comes from the breakdown of radioactive uranium in the soil and rocks beneath our houses.

Inspection
Conducted by a NJ licensed Radon Measurement Technician
The EPA and the US Surgeon General recommend that homes below the third floor be tested for radon. Radon can occur in new as well as old homes, drafty and tight homes, homes with basements or built on slabs.

A screening device is left in the home for 2-6 days. We use state of the art devices.

We use EPA and NJ DEP state approved testing laboratories for canister device and other type testing.

We use tamper deterrent techniques and equipment as recommended by the NJDEP.

All parties are informed of the protocol and the property owner is asked to sign a testing and non-interference agreement

We pick up our own screening devices as required by state regulations. Unfortunately for unsuspecting home buyers, a common and unscrupulous industry practice is to ask the homeowner or sales agent to return the screening device to the lab, or for the inspector to knowingly agree to let the sales agent to return the screening device when they offer. These unethical and illegal practices do not serve the interest of the home buyer.

Report
The report is available online generally within one to two days of test retrieval.

 

Ancillary Services

Inspections are or can be tailored to meet the needs of our customers; we can inspect a single system such as a roof, or do a full building condition assessment. Depending on the size and complexity of the building, we can employ a team of qualified experts in the appropriate fields such as;

  • Underground Tank Search/Underground Oil Tank Testing- see detail below
  • Level II chimney- see detail below
  • Sewer line scoping- Fiber optic camera inspection of sewer line/soil pipe from building to city main connection with video and written report
  • Phase I and Phase II Environmental Inspections (Commercial inspections)
  • Specialized roofing- Slate, tile, wood shake and shingle

Underground Tank Search/ Underground Oil Tank testing

We recommend this service whether your house is older, or newer.  All buyers need to be assured there is no tank buried on the property.. Representations by the seller on their disclosure that they “have no knowledge of the presence of an underground tank” is not enough to protect you from this potentially costly environmental pitfall.

Inspections are performed by experienced, highly trained and N.J.D.E.P certified using state of the art equipment.  Whether you need an underground tank  (UST) search, underground tank testing, soil sampling for existing or filled tanks or other subsurface evaluation, tank corrosion testing, above ground tank (AST) Inspections, we can provide the service.  The written report is available within 24 hours.

 

Level II Chimney Inspections

We recommend this service whether your house is older, or newer.  All buyers need to be assured that their chimney is safe.  This service is arranged by ACE with our recommended inspectors.

This is conducted according to (National Fire Protection Association) NFPA 211 Inspection standards- for verification of the suitability of the chimney for new or changed conditions of service is needed, or when a Level 1 inspection is not sufficient to determine the serviceability of the chimney.   This inspection is needed to ascertain internal condition/integrity, determine/confirm proper system design to ensure safe operating conditions. 

NFPA and CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends this inspection upon sale or transfer of a property, with any system change as: Addition or removal of one or more connected appliances, or upon replacement of an appliance with one or more dissimilar type, input rating or efficiency; prior to relining of a flue or replacement of flue lining;  or if the chimney has been damaged in the past.

Chimneys and fireplaces are inspected in great detail, the heating and fireplace flues are inspected with a fiber optic camera, where photos are taken of inaccessible areas and the condition documented.

Inspections are performed by experienced, highly trained and certified personnel. 

 

Sewer Line inspections-

Find out if your old sewer line is cracked, sagging, separated, has tree root incursions, blockage, or is flooded.  Any of these conditions can represent a costly repair.  A fiber optic camera inspection of the sewer line/soil pipe from building to city main connection with video and written report is provided and highly recommended with older properties.

Lead Paint Inspections-

Should you have a Lead Paint Inspection? If the home you are about to purchase was built prior to 1978 then the building could contain lead based paint at the exterior and interior.  Since lead affects both pregnant women and children under 6 you might ask yourself the question that if there is lead, where is it and what do I do about it?  This inspection provides the answers to these questions.  This inspection is especially important if you plan on doing remodeling on the older house.

Inspections are performed by a certified New Jersey Lead Paint/Risk Assessor using state of the art XRF technology. All rooms plus the exterior of the building are inspected.  A conference is held with the buyers at the completion of the inspection to discuss results. A written report is available within 24 hours.

 

Seller’s Pre-listing / pre-sale Inspections

This inspection is designed for the seller to proactively find out what the issues may be with their home before the buyer’s home inspection finds them.  This give the seller the time to comfortably address the issues before the listing, to prevent any surprises.  This inspection can be done with or without the “disclosable” report.  The homeowner follows the inspector taking notes about the findings.  We discuss the options for  each identified issue.  We provide advice on what will be absolutely required before the listing. This inspection can be done in conjunction with a tank search, tank integrity test, radon screening and/or WDI inspection.  Come to one of our Westfield Adult School classes regarding these inspections.

http://www.westfieldadultschool.com/

Commercial Inspections

Commercial inspections are tailored to meet the needs of our customers; we can inspect a single system such as a roof, or do a full building condition assessment. Depending on the size and complexity of the building, we may employ a team of qualified experts in the appropriate fields such as roofing, HVACR, electrical, underground tank search, Phase I and Phase II Environmental Inspections, sewer line scoping, Level II chimney and so forth.

Our team of inspectors include licensed home inspectors who are also certified members of ASHI, NJ building code certified inspectors, state licensed building and inspection contractors.  ACE acts as team coordinator and is the sole informational source point.  Commercial Inspections are based on and meet the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), modified for specific Client’s requirements and for commercial use.

The types of commercial inspections we can provide include:
Pre-purchase Inspection (Due Diligence)
This is a complete building inspection performed to the level of detail required by the purchaser to aid in making an informed purchase decision.  A pre-purchase inspection includes the performance, age and condition of the roof; the mechanical systems including heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems, the building structure including the foundation, floor, wall and roof framing; and the building envelope including roof, doors & windows, and exterior finishes.  The inspection gives you the important information about the building and potentially costly repairs before you take possession of the property.  The inspection helps aid you in budgeting for major capital expenditures by providing the age, and typical remaining life for major building components.

Consultations
This is an inspection of one or more specific systems or components, providing a professional opinion of condition.  These can be performed to provide you with information pre-purchase, building leasing, insurance, or maintenance. We can help to evaluate contractor’s bids for construction, component or system repairs or replacement. This inspection can provide documentation of building conditions prior to leasing.

Pre-Sale Inspection | For Sellers
This is a complete building inspection, performed to the level of detail required for a seller, prior to listing a property. Pre-sale inspections can aid in determining what systems or components need repairs, alteration or replacement prior to selling, and help gain an understanding of issues that may come up during a buyer’s bidding and building inspection process. This is also useful as marketing tool and can help to price the property properly.

Maintenance Inspection | For Property Owners or Lessee
Periodic inspections of the building and contained building systems and equipment for those who do not have a full-time maintenance or engineering staff, or for those who require outside expertise for building system evaluations. These inspections are valuable in identifying conditions for early detection to prevent potentially serious or costly repairs.  These inspections can help to aid in budgeting for major capital expenditures by providing the age, condition and typical remaining life for major building systems or components.

Expert Services

Including: Inspections, Litigation Support & Testimony

ACE Home Inspection, Inc. is a full service, consulting firm with special expertise and active practice in the areas of building and home inspections; Construction evaluations, including Repairs, Remodeling, building Rehabilitation and New Construction, Code review and violations; Wood destroying Insect inspections; Radon inspections, Forensic inspection.

Robert A. Fico is the company’s founder and principal inspector. We perform objective, impartial, unbiased evaluations for our Clients. Our clients include Home inspectors, Recent Home Buyers, Home Sellers, New Home Builders, New Home Buyers, Home Improvement Contractors, and Homeowners.

Licenses and Certifications

  • New Jersey Licensed Home Inspector # 24GI00011600
  • New Jersey Dept. of Community Affairs- Uniform Construction Code (UCC)- License #009785
    Construction Official
    Sub Code Official-Building
    Building Inspector- HHS
    Mechanical Inspector- 1 & 2 Family
  • Master HVACR Contractors License 19HC00666900
  • Certified Pesticide Applicator NJ License #25453- 7B Wood Destroying insects
  • Certified Pesticide Applicator NJ License #25453-#7A General Household Pests
  • EPA/AHERA Asbestos Building Inspector Certification
  • NJ/EPA Lead Paint/Risk Assessor
  • Court certified as a Construction Expert and Home Inspection Expert in Union, Bergen and Passaic Counties.

 

Affiliations and Professional Societies

Certified Inspector- American Society of Home Inspectors- ASHI® #091134 since 1991
Certified Inspector- Garden State ASHI®- 1991 to presentashi
Director- ASHI International Board of Directors- 2003-2004
President of the Garden State Chapter of ASHI® (1997-1998)cropped-GS-ASHI-Banner
Spokesman- Garden State ASHI® NJ (1997-2001)
Member- ICC- International Code Council #5275735
Member- Foundation of Real Estate Appraisers (FREA) #14823
Past Commercial Real Estate Inspector (CREI) Class A designation. Member #0014823
Past Member International Assoc. of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI)
Past Member of the National Fire Protection Agency- #000169075
Member- New Jersey Business and Industry Association NJBIA logo
Member US Chamber of Commerce
Founder, Editor and Publisher of Garden State ASHI® News- Monthly Newsletter for Home Inspectors for ten years- 1994 through 2003- 83 issues published

 

Here is a sampling of current and past litigation support cases, expert inspections, reports, testimony and services.

Home Inspector negligence allegations and disputes, for all aspects of home / building inspections including:

Unidentified material defects, foundation failure, basement water intrusion, floor and other framing defects
Undisclosed material defects/report deficiencies
Unlicensed inspections
Home Inspector regulatory issues
Standards of Care failures

 

Common problems, issues and conditions regarding Home Inspections- most are from missed conditions at the time of inspection, insufficient reporting, including errors and omissions

Foundation failure/unreported foundation defects
Floor and other framing failure/unreported defects with structure

Termite activity
Termite damage- extensive
Basement /crawlspace water penetration
Leaking/failing roofs
Leaking/failed boilers
Furnace failures
Insufficient heating and cooling
Sub slab ducts- water/hazardous materials/termite activity
Fire damage
Siding defects
Window defects
Chimney hazardous and defects
Brick, wood, Engineered siding installation defects
Defective /unsafe deck installation
Pet Damage- Cat urine, other damage to house- floors, sub floors, walls, ductwork, electrical, kitchen.
Pet Collecting- Inspection /documentation -house had over 80 cats and 20 dogs

 

Home Improvement Contractors- Common problems, issues and conditions:

Remodel/Rehabilitation negligence and performance allegations and disputes / – commonly between contractor and homeowner/homebuyers
Unlicensed contractors
Home Improvement Contractor regulatory issues
Standards of Care failures

Removal and replacing/remodeling bathrooms
Removal and replacing/remodeling kitchens
new deck construction
total unit rehabilitation
Roof installations (numerous)
Roof and siding installation problems at condominium association
Firehouse conversion to day care center/building rehabilitation

 

New Home Construction disputes- typically between contractor and homeowner. These have been inspected and reports prepared- on all aspects of construction

Engaged as independent inspector for dispute agreed upon by both attorneys for home alleged numerous home construction defects and incomplete items
Wood strip floor installation
Brick siding installation. Entire right side of corner located three story urban new townhouse had brick siding leakage into interior rooms from improper construction and lack of drainage plane.
Brick siding/roof/window installations causing leakage into home, bowed walls, other issues.

Court testimony
Dispute between residential home seller/rehab contractor and home/building buyer for non-disclosure/cover up of basement water flooding. Certified as Home Inspection and Construction expert Union County Court
Disputes between contractors and homeowners regarding roofing installation/workmanship/leakage- Court certified as Construction Expert at Union, Bergen and Passaic County Courts.
Construction Board of Appeals. Hudson County- Rehabilitation of Brownstone, flooding, numerous code violations. Incomplete and shoddy work.
Stair Inspection expert report and testimony regarding trip-fall injury. Certified as construction expert in Union County Court
Depositions/testimony given regarding numerous cases regarding foundation and structural failures, roofing,

Other
Bankruptcy litigation. Numerous material defects such as roof leakage, electrical hazards from un-permitted work, plumbing and chimney defects.
Will Probate- Home Inspection, wood destroying insect inspection, radon screening, and reports for residential structure. Arbitration attorney assigned to inspect residential structure to ascertain condition, repair costs.
Sellers prior home inspector negligence- Expert Wood Destroying insect report. Inspectors failure to identify/report on extensive termite damage and resulting structural damage.
Condo Insurance Company/homeowner dispute- Review of repairs to townhouse after fire.  Regarding extent of damages to homeowners unit.
Contractor fraud case for Union County Prosecutor’ office.  Contractor defrauded elderly women.
Improper building alterations by Co-op owner. Hudson County. Inspection report and testimony at Co-op hearing regarding dispute between Co-op board and occupant/seller
Trip fall- personal Injury- Inspections and expert reports, testimony regarding tenant trip-fall injury on steps at walkways.