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You Have Questions, We Have Answers

We’ve done this a lot—over 15,000 inspections and counting. Here are some of the most common questions we get from clients.

How long will the inspection take?

It depends. A high rise condo may be completed under an hour while a McMansion may take 4 to 5. As a rule of thumb, a standard 2 to 3 bedroom condo takes about 1.5 to 2 hrs and a 3 or 4 bedroom single family detached home around 3 hrs.

Do I have to attend?

No, you don't have to but at a minimum its a good idea to be there at the end if that's all you can afford. Being onsite provides first hand exposure to what we see which can be difficult to translate solely through the report. We can take several videos for those unable to be on site.

For condos, do you look at the roof … mechanicals … garage … exterior?

High Rise Condos: High rise buildings are incredibly complex structures both inside and out. They staff engineers and professionals at all levels to keep them operating safely. The vast majority of these larger components are outside the scope of our inspection and, more often than not, usually not accessible to us.

Low Rise Condos: Since these size buildings are much more accessible we will survey the exterior and roof (again, if accessible) to help you understand their overall condition and what will be needed to bring them up to speed. Since low rise condo owners own a much larger percentage of the building and common elements, not inspecting these areas is a disservice to clients.

Can I shadow you while you complete the inspection?

Sure, but first and foremost we have a serious job to do and it requires serious attention. While we fully understand that you're excited to learn from us and 'see what we see', there isn't enough time in the day to teach you everything we'd love to during an inspection. We've always encouraged our clients to stick around but also to give us space to do what we've been hired to do. There's a lot of physical motion during an inspection – back and forth, up, down and around – and quarters often get tight.

Should I be concerned about my children during the inspection?

When possible, it's best to leave young children out of the physical inspection to minimize distractions as well as inherent safety risks. We understand this isn't always possible but encourage it when feasible.

How long until I receive my report?

In short, we strive for 48 hours OR LESS to keep things fresh in our minds and the transaction moving forward. Illinois law allows for inspection reports to be delivered 2 business days after the completion of the inspection. If your inspection took place from 12–2p on a Monday, we are required to deliver the report by the end of day Wednesday which is the 2nd business day AFTER the inspection. Note: holidays and weekends ARE NOT included.

Given the amount of information and level of detail in our reports, they take longer to produce. We always try to have them in your hands within 48 hrs but during periods of high demand, we may prepare you that an extension may be necessary to protect you and your interests. Always, always, contact your attorney to understand and ensure you are legally protected regarding an attorney/inspection extension.

Do you use thermal imaging or infrared during the inspection?

Yes, we carry infrared cameras and use them religiously and are also properly trained to do so. Ross received his certification through Snell Infrared, the nation's leading thermal imaging education company and spent a couple years learning from one of the midwest's best technicians. Infrared imaging is an absolutely remarkable technology but has limitations just like any other. We can't see through walls or tell you if there's paranormal activity, sorry. Physics be damned.

Do you do energy audits?

Over the past several years, we've learned a thing or two about how homes perform with respect to energy and their mechanical systems. Ironically, the term 'energy audit' is really a poor one because 99% of people calling are really complaining about comfort issues and they just want them to stop. Since we look at the property from a different perspective and have ZERO interest in selling you any ancillary energy service or products, we are poised to help you FIX your issues rather than mask them.

Energy surveys, as we like to call them, will help point out your home's weaknesses and how to address them. Sometimes, the solution is simple. Often times there's a handful of ways to improve performance and differ based on budget, how long you'll remain in the home, etc. Call us to discuss your needs and we can typically provide a quote over the phone.

What is radon and do you test for it?

Yes. CBI offers radon testing in-house through our wholly owned company Chicago Radon Testing, Inc..

If you value indoor air quality and your health, you should test for this odorless, colorless and radioactive gas. Radon is a silent killer and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. 21,000 deaths a year are attributed to radon-induced lung cancer – that's more than accidental drowning and carbon monoxide poisonings combined.

Elevated radon levels have been found in every county of every state in the United States. Radon can enter any building regardless of age, structure, foundation, or style. New homes, old homes, homes on slabs and crawlspaces can all have elevated radon levels. There is no way to know unless you test. In fact, it is recommended in Illinois that all residential dwellings below the third floor test for radon.

Illinois has proactive radon laws in place to protect public health and consumers in residential real estate transactions. One such law, the Residential New Construction Act requires all new single-family and duplex homes be built with a radon-ready 'passive' venting system. New Construction home buyers should proactively test for radon before purchasing and moving in to the home. If elevated levels are found, only a licensed radon contractor is permitted to activate the builder's passive system, if at all possible. Confirmation that your builder has enacted such methods should be given to you in writing and demonstrated on site, complete with warranty information.

Typical test fees start at $295. Some properties may require a second or third detector to comply with Illinois radon laws that require testing in a livable space over each foundation. Remediating elevated radon levels with an active radon mitigation system typically ranges from $1200 for standard installations up to $2500 for complex installations such as homes with complex foundations or crawlspaces.

Chicago Building Inspections, Inc. only retains or recommends the highest quality radon contractors with extensive industry experience and sufficiently insured.

For more information on Illinois radon laws or general radon information, please visit

Do you do commercial inspections?

Yes, we perform dozens of commercial inspections every year and can tailor it to your specific needs. Some need the ASTM 2018-15 standard, most don't. Give us a call.

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