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How do you identify whether a schema has changed *without* calling SF_Replicate?

I'm looking to build some notification logic into a SSIS package, and want to be able to do a quick schema check before triggering any refresh / replicate logic, so that I can be monitoring the jobs before the replicate/refresh fires. As the migration becomes more stable I'll then phase that monitoring out.

However, I must be missing something obvious as the only way I can see to flag up a change is to fire SF_Replicate, which I don't want in this instance (I will usually).

Is there any other way of identifying this other than logging in to the org itself?

Context: I'm doing some exploratory work for a future migration. We have DBAmp working successfully in other orgs. I can use refresh / replicate as needed in the SSIS package and it works with the objects I'm interested in.
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