What I'm Seeing Now


Pre-Drywall Inspections Are Taking Longer Due To Infantile Work

If there is a recent trend in the construction industry, for home inspectors anyway, it is that pre-drywall inspections are taking longer due to infantile work.

Yes the builders are creating homes according to good specifications.


Yes the supervisor in on site every day.
Yes the county or other jurisdictional authority is "looking out" for work to code.

Obviously that oversight is going only so far.

It is more and more obvious that objective eyes, like a home inspector would offer, are necessary to try to help consumers to purchase worthy products.  Unfortunately, very few homes are actually so objectively inspected.

Yes, that is a strong statement.  Twice this week I have had clients call saying they were told at the last second that if they wanted a pre-drywall inspection it had to be done quickly, that the builder "forgot" to call.  I have an inspection this morning at 7am because of a call made last night to the buyer.

Builders want home inspectors to have more and more criteria in terms of insurances, certifications, etc., even coming up with new criteria combinations at the last moment.

Why is that?  We know why.

Insulation is a huge, huge deal.  It is permanent.

When I see house after house where insulation is merely jammed into locations, with vapor retarders that will be unable to provide its purpose - large gaps and holes are left here and there - sections are not properly situated around receptacles and switch boxes - long bats are not stapled but forced between studs so that edges are crushed to a couple of inches of depth - and ALL OVER the house - it is a shame.  These are houses that will not be comfortable, ever.

This is pathetic.

The following are photos from one pre-drywall inspection.  They are only a couple from a MULTIPLICITY taken of infantile construction left ready for drywall.  But they are representative.

Shower pans and tubs are plastic now.  They need to be secured to the studs surrounding them.  Manufacturers provide brass clips and screws for such a purpose.  Why brass?  Because it does not rust.

The brass screws are almost always taken for personal use by the installing professional,  and drywall nails are used instead.  Why drywall nails?  Because they are quick, cheap and in the bag.

When drywall nails are used with brass clips they will rust.  When drywall nails are used against the plastic they will rust.  When drywall nails are used instead of clips they will fail. 

This is pathetic.

When French doors are installed without a single screw through the framing into the studs, and not a single shim to square and plumb it, but are attached from the outside with a zillion brads shot through the brick molding, French doors are not installed.

When there is no caulking or other sealant under the door's threshold, to prevent air and moisture from getting in, French doors are not installed.

This is pathetic.

Master bath tubs that fit in the corner are large and will be very heavy when full of water or people.

Since they are plastic they need proper support all around their rim and the base must sit into a firming mold, like a mortar bed.  If they are not they will shift and crack.  This tub rocks side to side.  Remember, this is the PRE-DRYWALL INSPECTION.  This was to be covered up!

When framing leaves four gaps around the edge of the rim, and the tub is set such that it does not touch the rim, it is not supported.  If the base is not set into that firming bed of mortar the tub will move as it expands and changes shape with the introduction of hot, heavy water.

If the exterior walls around the tub are not insulated all the way to the floor, the dead air inside the framed space will get cold enough to freeze the pipes.  I have seen it happen.

This is pathetic.

My recommendation:  a home inspection is the best protection for consumers, provided that things like the above (which honestly represent only a part of the problems found on one house) are actually taken care of by the builder prior to drywall installation.  When people ask how they can make sure these repairs are made I say they should demand photos.  The photos in this blog were taken prior to the drywall installation and all this would have all been covered up in a couple of days.  Drywall covers a multitude of sins.  Repentance needs to happen BEFORE the cover up!  Pre-drywall inspections need to be done and repairs need to be made.


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 25 commentsJay Markanich • March 06 2014 01:23AM
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