Plumbing clean outs are important. What happens when an installation has the plumbing clean out hidden from future eyes?
Pre-drywall inspections are very, very important, in my opinion.
This is the only time I can see the house in a skeletal state.
- I can see if bearing walls are actually lined up on top of beams or foundation walls that are supposed to support them.
- It is easier to see if HVAC ducts (virtually glorified Slinkies with insulation and plastic wrap) are crimped around rafters and such to the point of collapse, making them unable to blow air.
- Electrical cables and plumbing tubes need protection from possible future nails and screws and need to be protected with a fairly strong metal plate. Are they all done?
- Is insulation stapled? Does it completely the fill cavities it is supposed to?
- Are drywall screws used to hold down toilet flanges, hold up rubber shower wrap, secure bath tubs - i.e., are they used for everything but drywall?
- Are basement bathrooms actually connected to drain lines? (Twice I have seen where they were not...)
- There are a zillion other things I look for too.
Well, what about plumbing clean outs?
That is the little round cap that appears on every main plumbing drain line, and, recently, also in the front yard.
These allow the plumber to be able to snake out a drain line that gets clogged.
To unclog a drain he will usually start in the yard and send a mechanical "snake" down the line to try to dislodge the clog.
If that doesn't work, he will pick on the one (or two or three) indoors.
If that doesn't work he will go down the toilets.
Sooner or later he will find and dislodge that clog.
Don't think this never happens. Just two days ago my neighbor's plumbing clogged. I told them what to do and the plumber did find and dislodge a clog. I also suggested that they stand right beside the plumber when he unscrews that cap so they could "get the full benefit of the experience."
What if the only clean out inside the house will be hidden by drywall?
This one is under the basement staircase. IT IS THE ONLY ONE INSIDE THE HOUSE!
A plumber would never see it once the drywall is installed.
And I can see from the framing that no small doorway is provided to be able to see that clean out and get him inside that cavity should he need to snake the line out. Access must be provided, and it should be obvious so people will know to look there. It's also a space that can be used for storage, so why not have access?
HERE'S MY BEEF. THE DRYWALL IS SCHEDULED TO BE INSTALLED INSIDE THIS HOUSE THE NEXT DAY. DO YOU SEE THAT PRONG STICKING OUT? THAT IS A PLUG. IN THIS COUNTY THE BUILDER IS REQUIRED TO PLUG THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM AT ITS LOWEST POINT AND COMPLETELY FILL THE ENTIRE DRAIN SYSTEM WITH WATER FOR 48 HOURS. THEN, AFTER THOSE 48 HOURS ARE UP, THE COUNTY COMES TO MAKE SURE THERE IS NO LEAKING. THIS IS THE LAST STEP BEFORE THE COUNTY SIGNS OFF ON THE "ROUGH" PLUMBING. THE COUNTY HAS ALREADY SEEN THIS SYSTEM, AND APPROVED IT!
I BET THEY NEVER EVEN NOTICED WHERE THIS CLEAN OUT IS.
So much for that!
My recommendation: the builder wants buyers to think that because a supervisor is on site every day, and the county performs its various "inspections," that a buyer DOES NOT NEED a home inspection. BUYERS ABSOLUTELY NEED NEW CONSTRUCTION INSPECTIONS! DON'T LET THEM CONVINCE YOU OTHERWISE!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560